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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brainwash. Rinse. Repeat.


As a person who is quite contemplative and thoughtful, and who has suffered repercussions for it many times, I have found myself questioning if there is truth to our own proverb "Ignorance is bliss." I have had an opportunity to have that smack me in the face repeatedly over the last couple of months as I became more familiar with and involved in social media. Like many, I have always been puzzled by the people who are passionately bound to ideas that are so obviously untrue. The majority of people who are paying attention can see the propaganda ploys that the uneducated are trapped by. I wonder if they are repeating these untruths because they sincerely believe them or because they desperately want to believe them?

Today the Tea Party is telling its followers, who then repeat, ideas that are absolutely ludicrous. They are all over social media telling others that Liberals are racist. It's kind of incredible, really. They will not be swayed by facts, though. They, quite obviously, don't need those. When you confront them with and ask them to consider America's history on race, they won't hear you. That is the beauty of ignorance. A person with no curiosity can absolutely be convinced of anything. And I cannot imagine a better group of people to unite and form a backward political party around.

As a part of my research for personal understanding into how their manipulation works, I went looking for Tea Party blogs. Yes, they are just what you would imagine: full of words that are either woefully misspelled or don't exist in the English language, hate speech at its most vile, condemnation for everything the President does or says, condemnation of anything in society that is deemed remotely liberal, condemnation of entire groups of people, praise for Jesus Christ (yes, that is funny) and an absolute lack of morality while praising that very same good Lord's name.

This is all part of a finely tuned narrative and its means of delivery. The very dimmest of the followers who are only looking for hate and unity are able to go to the internet and promote misinformation all day long. If you are not a curious person and someone tells you that your party has always been the one that has promoted and encouraged equality, you happily accept that as truth and think, "Damn straight!" You will not ask yourself why you and the rest of the party faithful have been posting the most racist things imaginable about our President, or black communities, or immigrants, or Muslims (I know that Muslims are part of a religious group, and I sincerely apologize for generalizing for space, please accept my acknowledgement as a means to make a point about people who don't know the difference anyway). Likewise, these same followers will gladly discuss and demand that Liberals hate Jews. They do not ask themselves, "Wait, don't I hate Jews? Wasn't that part of my conditioning in the beginning that led me to loving this party? We are supposed to hate Jews, right?" Nope. They just wash their brains, rinse, repeat.

The Tea Party's new found love for Jews is startling, to be sure. The Tea Party, after all, calls Ron Paul its "father." And he is a noted anti-Semite. But the rhetoric started changing around the same time the party realized it was going to have to reach out to voters beyond their usual demographic (White. Christian. Male). I can't imagine how confusing it must have been for the party faithful to have to just change their opinions on a dime. But it was done, masterfully.

Research on blogs will take you back in time where, seemingly out of nowhere, those commenting with any anti-Semitic speech were quickly ostracized by those in their party. Poor. Stupid. Hateful. Bastards. God! How confusing for them! As recently as 2010, the RNC had all kinds of hate speech on its Facebook wall saying that Israel was responsible for 9/11 and that we needed to rise up against the Zionist Jews who were controlling our country. But they don’t question it. “So? I love Jews now. And Obama and the liberals hate them? Okay. I will need more talking points though, because my old ones are obviously outdated.”

Of course, this change in direction had even more to do with the party's expanded belief (of Republicans at large, as well) to have more war. Always. They took up the cause of Israel because they could see a brand new war on the horizon. A war full of glorious defense contracts and rallies of patriotism to garner even more misled followers. But, again, only their leadership could actually see what was going on.

I have been absolutely confounded with this world of opposites I have found online. Although I can understand tools of propaganda and marvel at their brilliant use here in America, it still leaves me dumbfounded. And it leaves me with questions I haven't found answers to. I don't know how America can progress with these people having the voice that they do in society. Because the left is more educated and more thoughtful, they don't engage in arguments with these Tea Partiers. They feel it is beneath them. But, at present, the louder voice ends up as the only one really being heard.

The party has been so adept at spinning non-facts that they have managed to get the media to focus on them in a way that makes them look larger than they are. Initially they used the idea of "Liberal Media" as a means of intimidation. When any media outlet would report anything negative about anyone on the right, they were publicly dismissed and denounced for bias. Now many of those media outlets go out of their way to tell their stories with a more centered tone, regardless of whether or not the story warrants it. When the right consistently stymie all attempts at legislation, the media should be reporting on that without fear of retribution. When Americans who get their news at 6:30 for a half hour with their dinner aren't given the whole story, you validate the contention that you are illegitimate. But not for the reasons the jackasses on the right say you are. The not-so Liberal media should define causation when laws don't get passed and nominees don't get confirmed. Americans deserve to know why a sex-trafficking bill is being hindered by the right. They should be allowed their outrage when understanding the stance the right is taking on this important issue because they want to limit abortion rights to those victims. If we have a freedom of the press, and the objective of that press is to inform Americans, they are doing everyone a disservice. But they don't for fear of being called Liberal. The right has actually manipulated the media into helping their cause.

Because of the fear in the media to report stories properly and because the left is too passive to fight back, the Tea Party has been able to work their propaganda ploy with amazing precision. If the objectives and tactics on the left don't change, it will only continue to get worse. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who consider themselves Republicans who are not getting the whole picture and don't pay close enough attention that would be mortified to see how their party has been hijacked. I happen to know some of those Republicans who walk in to voting booths, check the Rs and go home.

What did the passive intellectuals see and ignore in the 20s and 30s that allowed the Nazi party to become what it was? And how did they feel about themselves by the mid-40s? I'm sure it seems outlandish to some, to liken the Tea Party and the Nazi party, but those who know the history will easily draw the same connections that I have. As long as we continue to ignore them and allow them to have this voice, we give them the power to build it for as long as they need, and to whichever ends they seek.

While the propagandists on the right are monopolizing every facet of American media to manipulate the stories and their spin, the left are sitting there taking the high road so as to not lower themselves to the level of the right. Because we have actual facts, the kind that can be supported with documentation that actually exists and not just memes created to excite those who can't be bothered to read, we could go a long way in this fight toward bringing some sense and normalcy back to these debates. But as long as we allow them to prater on as if no one is listening, we allow them to prater on where many others actually are listening. We are, by virtue of our history and moral platform, on the high road. But trying to prove it to people who aren't paying attention anyway is getting us nowhere.

As much as their leadership likes to take advantage of their ignorance, we would do well
to consider doing the same. Apparently, they don't mind.



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