We live in strange and interesting times. There are now not just three different groups of people in this country but three different realities. That’s scary in and of itself, but what’s even scarier is that most people in power have no idea this is happening or how to react to it.
What are the three tribes? First, we have an old friend — the establishment. Its members have been around the longest; their worldview is cemented by the best propaganda the world has ever seen. They’ve convinced the world that the country that does the most invasions seeks peace, the country that ethnically cleansed a continent seeks equality and the country that enslaved a people stands for freedom. And everyone believed it.
These days, driven by greed, they are busy convincing people that we can afford war but not health care — and that, somehow, the carnage of war keeps us safer than high-quality medicine. That if the rich have all o f the money, the poor will be better off because some small amount will one day trickle onto them.
Then there is the ascendant tribalist right-wing — Trump World, MAGA Land, where no facts need apply. President Donald Trump can go 0-and-46 in court and his followers think he nailed it. Their worldview is cemented by a neurotic insecurity buttressed by the most brazen propaganda. Their alternative facts are wielded as blunt instruments — and that, too, works. So, now we have the largest cult the world has ever seen: 74 million people in an alternate universe where facts are the enemies of the people. This is enormously dangerous.
If you grew up following mainstream media, you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, what about the moderate wing of the Republican Party?” What moderate wing? Ninety-three percent of Republicans voted for Trump. Right now, only 3 percent of Trump voters think Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE won the election.
There’s something very important that the other tribes have to understand about MAGA Land: It genuinely believes the election was stolen, and every other insane thing Trump says. Now, imagine that Trump actually managed to steal this election, even though you know that Biden won. Imagine that he somehow remained in office on Jan. 20. What would you do? How mad would you be? Well, that’s how mad his supporters are now because, in their reality, that is what happened to Trump — and to them.
The third group is the progressives, my group, and the one that is most interested in the betterment of the average person but that also has the most rational worldview. This camp doesn’t do absurd lies like MAGA Land’s “It can’t be illegal if President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE does it” — or, in the case of the establishment, “It can’t be outside of the law if the person doing the extrajudicial killings is President Obama.” If you’re an NPR-listening, New York Times-reading liberal, you’re probably outraged by that statement. But just look up “extrajudicial killings” under the military’s drone program during the Obama years and get educated on the real facts.
It’s easy to make fun of someone else’s alternate reality before you realize you live in one. Of course, you can say that I have my own biases and, hence, my own reality, and there is some truth to that. The hardest thing in the world is to escape your own perspective. Progressives might get some things wrong around the edges, but I am positive we are open to actual facts. And since we are on the outside, we have no interest in protecting the existing power structure. We don’t need to obfuscate to cover up the awkward realities of the brutality that is needed to maintain the status quo.
One thing indisputable is that we officially live in three different worlds, and we can’t even agree on facts. We all think the other sides are lying or deluding themselves; we have three alternate realities existing at the same time in the same place. So, how do we communicate, when we’re not even speaking the same language anymore? We progressives think we’re speaking the language of logic, and we think the right-wing tribe doesn’t understand one word of that language — in fact, it doesn’t even think our language should exist. To them, logic is for suckers and losers; winners go for raw power, no matter what the facts are.
We also think the establishment’s members are the biggest hypocrites of all. In their infinite elitism, they consider their worldview to be the “legitimate” one and the others to be “radicals” and fringe. “We are centrists,” they say, “and everyone who disagrees with us is, by definition, not in the center.” How grotesquely arrogant and patronizing.
Of course, the most infuriating part is that they are wrong — factually, empirically wrong. Dozens of polls show that, on almost every issue, the country is nearly two-thirds progressive.
Again, even if you hate the messenger, and even if the messenger is wrong about the particulars, the one thing we can all agree on is that we can’t agree on a damned thing. (Welcome to the parallel-universe portion of our program!) There are now three Americas with three distinct realities. We don’t just disagree on the issues, we disagree about what planet we live on. So, how does this end? Not well.
Cenk Uygur is the CEO, founder and host of “The Young Turks" and cofounder of Justice Democrats. Follow him on Twitter @CenkUygur.