Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  Most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.

Occasionally I break from the normal formatting and do a “sense check.”  Auditing one’s own work is problematic but I try to be objective.  Entries #300 and #301 are the most recent “sense checks.”  Your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments, please.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Jordan having coffee with Walt, a friend from college days.  Conversation begins entry #302.

(Last comment, previous entry.  Jordan:  “Walt, have you ever studied how people think after they’ve been brainwashed?”)

Walt:  “Are you implying that I’ve been brainwashed?”

BrainwashedJordan:  “Just asking a question if you knew the logic stream of people who have been brainwashed.”

Walt:  “Who else is in the office? Gelly still here?”

Jordan:  “No, she’s got a meeting in another building and will be out for at least an hour.  Why do you ask?”

Walt:  “Because I’ve never told anyone…well other than the psychiatrist.  Sure Gelly’s not here?  And you’re not taping this conversation, right?”

Jordan:  “She’s not here.  I saw here leave.  And, no, the conversation is not being taped.  What’s the big deal?”

Baldheaded ManWalt:  “OK, you’re right.  I was brainwashed by Trump.  It’s embarrassing to talk about it.”

Jordan:  “I can understand that.  How’d you figure it out?”

Walt:  “I don’t remember exactly.  It’s not like I woke up one morning and said, ‘Gee, I’ve been brainwashed.’”

Jordan:  “Well, what did happen?”

Walt:  “The realization was gradual at first, almost like baby steps.  I do remember being taken aback in late summer 2018 when Trump started to yank security clearances from former high-ranking people who’d been in the FBI, CIA and NSA.”

Trump KingJordan:  “What about Trump yanking the security clearances made you take pause?”

Walt:  “I remember seeing an interview with John Brennan…might have been Clapper but I think it was Brennan.  Anyway, the guy said a security clearance was not for the benefit of the individual but for the benefit of the country.  I’d never really thought of it that way.  And here goes Trump acting like a king and taking away security clearances from people who know more about threats to national security than he does.”

Jordan:  “And…”

Walt:  “…and I kept asking myself ‘Why take away the clearances?’  Then I began to think it was his fragile ego was hurt when some of these guys raised questions about the Trump Administration’s policies. It began to bother me that Trump’s actions to satisfy his ego could really hurt the country.”

Jordan:  “After that revelation, did you change your mind about a conspiracy among the US national security agencies to get rid of Trump?”

Ping PongWalt:  “Not all at once.  I bounced back and forth.  It was as if I was playing ping-pong by myself.  One day a conspiracy theory; the next day no conspiracy.”

Jordan:  “But each day you were less and less supportive?”

Walt:  “Gradually I became convinced there was no conspiracy.  One day I said to myself, ’Self, Trump is the problem, not the FBI or CIA.”

Jordan:  “Then what”

Walt:  “When I started to put claims of a conspiracy theory into a different context, then a lot of other claims Trump was making started to fall apart.”

Jordan:  “How long did it take you to change your mind?”

Humpty DumptyWalt:  “Once I got though the conspiracy analysis, then like the baby who now knows how to walk, the pace picked up considerably.  And finally, Trump became more like Humpty Dumpty.”

Jordan:  “Did you talk to anyone about your change of support for Trump?”

Walt:  “How could I?  For three plus years…during the campaign and then when he was in the White House…I’d tweeted about why Trump was so, so right.  To admit I’d changed my mind would have been embarrassing to say the least.  In fact, I still can’t talk about it.  You’re the first one who knows.”

Jordan:  “Well, I’m glad we’re talking about it.  But go back to the time you really started to change.  How’d the psychiatrist get involved?”

mirror-clipart_jpgWalt:  “As I looked in the mirror, I just couldn’t believe what I’d been doing.  I needed to find out why.  What had made me act that way?”

Jordan:  “So you found a psychiatrist?”

Walt:  “I first did some research.  In fact one of the experts on behavior modification was a professor who I think you took a class from at MIT.  Ed somebody.”

Jordan:  “Ed’s class was a seminal event for me.  Very insightful and frankly, changed my life.”

PsychaitristWalt:  “Well, I poured through a couple of his books.  Then I decided to see a psychiatrist.”

Jordan:  “Good for you.  How’d you find the right one?”

Walt:  “Looked through their stated specialties and a lot about what they had studied and where they studied.  Narrowed in down to a couple and then chose the one who was more familiar with Ed’s work…and who knew him professionally.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Walk me through how you guys worked together.”

Walt:  “First couple of sessions were really me laying out: (i) what attracted me to Trump, sources of information I used, what actions I took, etc.; (ii) how I felt when Trump took certain actions or made certain statements.  Did I always support him?  Did I have any doubts?  The sessions were background information.”

Jordan:  “Then what?”

Walt:  “Next few sessions were trying to understand how I thought I had changed.  Content was much like you and I have talked about but a lot more detail.”

Jordan:  “After you laid out all the history, what was next?”

Walt:  “The next sessions were fascinating, frustrating and embarrassing.  Some of the time we talked about how people become brainwashed.”

Case StudyJordan:  “You became your own case study.”

Walt:  “I was a case study in a course I didn’t want to take.  Anyway I really had no idea I was being brainwashed.  For a long time, all Trump’s ideas seemed to make sense.  Trump seemed so right…and everyone who didn’t support him seemed so wrong.  The world was black and white.”

Jordan:  “But somehow you managed to break out of the brainwashing.  How did that happen?”

Wall BrickWalt:  “Look, I’m no brainwashing expert but as was explained to me, there are ‘holes’ in most brainwashing caps.  If reaction to an event or an idea goes through one of those holes, it accesses the pre-brainwashed mind.  Think of it as a being on either side of a wall or maybe as separate partitions on a computer hard drive.”

Jordan:  “For you the idea of Trump using security clearances for political reasons slipped through one of those holes.”

Walt:  “Yep, and at least part of me was accessing a different partition of my hard drive.  Part of me was back to my pre-brainwashed days.”

Coffee cup StarbucksJordan:  “This discussion is absolutely fascinating…but I need a break bad.”

Walt:  “Me, too, and I could use another cup of coffee.  Now that I’ve confessed, I can quit claiming Starbucks is part of a liberal conspiracy and is just a coffee shop.  Even more embarrassing for me, I like their coffee.”