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US Politics, complex PTSD, Gaslit Nation 

This will be a thread that interweaves US politics with my personal experience. But I want to start by posting a link to the latest episode of Gaslit Nation, Impeach Normalization. I listened to it as soon as it was released, though in chunks this time, since I couldn't get through it in one sitting.

gaslitnation.libsyn.com/impeac

US Politics, complex PTSD, Gaslit Nation 

They also always post the version with ads for public download on their patreon page.

patreon.com/posts/impeach-2537

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US Politics, complex PTSD, Gaslit Nation 

It's rarely an easy podcast to listen to and this episode is harder than many.

If you live in the US and are able to listen to it at all (and I understand perfectly if you simply can't) and you do *not* experience a rollercoaster of tears, rage, sadness, and any of a host of other emotions...

You probably need to go take a long, hard look in the mirror.

My comments will likely mean nothing to you.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, Gaslit Nation 

I'm not going to step through any of the specific points they make or really discuss the most current events at all. Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa do that perfectly well and do so with more experience, a greater depth of expert knowledge, and more insight than anything I could offer.

Instead, I'm going to discuss what these past few years have been like for me, it's the only perspective with which I can claim any real expertise.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, Gaslit Nation 

Do listen to them. They are experts in autocracy and kleptocracy and have been trying to inform and warn people along with others like Malcolm Nance, since 2015.

There's nothing shocking or surprising happening in the United States. It's not random. The chaos is deliberate. This is all the standard autocrat's playbook.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

I'm going to go back to 2016. I keep hearing people say that Trump's election was a complete surprise amd "nobody" expected it, which is really another form of gaslighting by the people who couldn't face reality.

In truth, all sorts of experts on autocracy, intelligence experts, and even god-damned Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, were desperately trying to warn the nation.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

Oh, it occurs to me that some people might not be familiar with the concept of gaslighting. You're fortunate, I guess. I lived it long before I ever knew the word. This is a good article. Apply it to Trump and his international crime syndicate and you'll immediately see the alignment. It's easy to find multiple concrete examples for every single one of the 11 signs listed -- this past week.

psychologytoday.com/us/blog/he

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

So back to the complete non-surprise of 2016. I *hoped* the grip of white supremacy, misogyny and hate that has been used by the GOP over the course of my entire life had weakened enough we might escape the worst, but I didn't truly believe it.

I was still completely unprepared for the personal impact it had on me.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

I had been associated with white Christianity in the US over the course of my whole life. I recognized the importance of some sort of childhood faith grounding in socialization (absent any knowledge of the current research in that regard), so found myself in the weird position of attending an SBC suburban church despite my complex history with Baptists.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

As I've explored elsewhere, I wasn't really raised Christian or anything else. My childhood spiritual exposure and experience is really hard to describe and is deeply intertwined with my mother's condition at any moment and her struggles with substance abuse and mental illness. Nevertheless, I had extensive exposure to many Christian traditions and non-Christian religions.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

Over the course of the decades we attended that SBC church, I tried multiple times to see if we could go elsewhere. When my youngest was in 1st grade or so, she and I visited many different churches to get two impressions. Somebody in the family always felt extremely strongly about staying.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

And I get that. The people will be very caring, very warm, sacrifice for you, and embrace you ... as long as they perceive you as part of their in-group.

In-group/out-group bias is exceptionally strong in that environment. I watched people thrown out, saw instructions (which my family always ignored) to have nothing to do with them as the topic of entire sermons.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

Remember, the way in-group/out-group biases work, those in the out-group are made less than fully human. It works in our brains so we view them as not us, not human, and from there all sorts of atrocities can be rationalized, dismissed, or ignored.

I've never truly been in anyone's "in-group" (well, at least not until I discovered I was autistic), so I've always seen the dynamic.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

I'm also a white Southern man and have lived among others who assume I am like them, or at least enough so that I hear what they think, for the past five decades. I have no illusions about the hate that permeates our Southern culture. People confusion politeness, charm, and humor with an absence of malice sometimes, I think. No true Southerner would make that mistake.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

Stab you to the quick and eviscerate you? Sure. But there's no need to be rude or uncivil while doing it.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

The politeness and charm are real in some sense. But they are also a veneer for deeply entrenched white supremacy and patriarchy.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

So back to 2016. I had just realized I was autistic, been assessed, and dx'ed over the first half of the year.

I had found my primary therapist in September and was beginning to figure out what it meant that I was autistic. That involved reframing 5 decades of life, perceiving it through a clearer lens.

It's an ongoing process that had barely begun then.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

I had found the subject matter experts on autocracy. It's what I do. Plus they were all over the place being dismissed by people with no expertise whatsoever.

Even without them, I immediately recognized Trump's gaslighting and raw appeal to both white supremacy and patriarchy.

And I immediately saw how that could definitely succeed.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism 

I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the core values of white evangelicalism remained the ones that spawned that branch of US Christianity in the first place, and the most central one is racism.

There's a reason Sunday morning remains the most deeply segregated experience in this country.

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US Politics, complex PTSD, autism, abortion 

I'm old enough to have to personally watched white evangelicals latch onto abortion as an in-group marker to replace open racism as the latter became culturally less tenable in the 70s.

Yes, yes, I know there are people raised in it who "feel" it's a sincere and deeply held conviction overriding and excusing even child torture. In-group markers work that way in our brains.

It was a cynical but effective stand-in for open racism.

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