The Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue

Oliver Wasow, ‘Ivanka Trump, Senior Advisor to the President,’ Manipulated Photograph, 2017.

The price of mass coercion is steep. As can easily be read from the case histories of Jim Jones, his jungle-bound ‘family,’ Machiavelli, and others who have ‘drunk the Kool-Aid’ throughout history, those who bear the brunt of misusing power to subsume the integrity of others, most fatally, are the perpetrators. Many a millennial cult guru, the doomed Goebbels family and their Great Leader (along with his new bride and the Alsatian), have gone the way of Rasputin in a grim, time-honoured, medievally fatalistic round-dance of inevitability.

When the country awakens from the Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue, bewildered, shocked and confused, shaking it’s many, multi-cultural heads, the mass psychological repercussions are bound to be intense. For followers of the Trump/Bannon/Miller doctrine, as for disenchanted cult members, there will be shame and embarrassment — a certain ‘buyer’s remorse’ and the sensation of having been ‘had.’ For those who have watched the subversion of the nation by an increasingly exposed pack of gross malefactors and felons, the relief will be tantamount to feelings of deliverance — to gratitude to a kind and forgiving Providence. It will feel like Redemption, not to mention divine rescue!

I’m working to some kind of understanding of the forces operating within the camps on either side of this ideological occupation of the White House. The ever tightening noose of psychological/epistemic closure is what the occupying force most cynically deployed to effect their hostile takeover of American democratic institutions, with their false news media campaigning, data mining on civilians, and psychographic profiling, military psi-ops opinion morphing operations (Cambridge Analytica, AggregateIQ, and Kushner’s Alamo Project), but these psychological principles also work against them via their own delusions, from within. Hopefully it will be like a controlled demolition — naturally engineered by kind providence so as to fall within the parameters of its own false construct, with minimum collateral damage and a contained dust-cloud.

Something like this happened within John F. Kennedy’s White House, albeit with the best of intentions in that case, with regard to his Cabinet and chief advisors. The scenario incubated by a toxic sort of enclosed ‘group-think’ escalated in a way that was very nearly catastrophic for the entire world. The infamous and ill-advised Bay of Pigs Invasion was orchestrated after multiple closed session meetings in which Kennedy put forth his quixotic notion that, should the Americans invade the bay with a highly visible, fully armed naval show of force, the peasants and oppressed citizenry in all the cities and towns, the countryside, the hills and the fields would take heart and pour out in support of the American ‘liberation’ to throw off Castro and their Soviet ‘oppressors’ from within.

This of course was an entirely false and uninformed assumption and, in the event, nothing of the sort ever happened. But the charisma and conviction of the ‘Great Man’ had captivated every member of his team. Plus, they experienced a sort of hypnotic collective thrall to his sheer power in an all-male, dominant-ranking situation, and no-one dared stand out from the pack.

Something of this order occurs when troupes of otherwise mostly sane cops suddenly turn feral and pile on a man who’s already been subdued and is face-down on the ground, often kicking and pounding their victim collectively with batons, sometimes fatally. Past a certain point of collusion and pack activity, they literally, psychologically can’t pull out. The infamous Stanford Experiment documented this dynamic in an enclosed or cloistered environment, when absolute power over others is placed in the hands of an elite, privileged few. The Nazis counted on this, as do Bannon and Miller. Trump fronted these proven psi-ops-type terror tactics to radicalize morally, intellectually, emotionally and ethically vulnerable followers at the jingoistic campaign events he so enjoyed, so morphing public behavioural norms as to spur his followers on to actual violence. Goebbels certainly did, and was ultimately subject to the dynamic himself in a particularly nightmarish, personally disastrous, cultish manner.

Goebbels was compromised by his own methods to the extent that he killed his five young daughters, his Hitler-adoring wife and, finally, himself in an ignominious, buried bunker. Rather than let them all live, subject himself to trial and arrest, admit the whole Nazi gambit was morally and tactically flawed, and that Hitler was wrong, he’d rather commit familicide. He found this route preferable even to the option of hightailing it with the family to Argentina or Brazil, where he and they could have joined Mengele and other less enthralled minions with functioning survival instincts. He was so invested in his own self-generated cant by that point— so subsumed — that he literally couldn’t pull out, not even to save his children. He and his doomed family were the ultimate victims of his own contemptibly terroristic propaganda/mind-control tactics.



I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.

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Yvonne Owens, PhD

I'm a writer/researcher/arts educator on Vancouver Island and all round global citizen who loves humans even though we're such a phenomenal pain-in-the-ass.