Don’t forget: Rage, Mistrust, Division, Threats, Vi0lence
All driven by Prejudice, Gullibility and Fear.
Unfortunately, we have scores of political candidates these days — newcomers and veteran pols alike — running for offices on seemingly every level of government, whose motives — to put it bluntly — are dangerous, and sometimes, deadly.
Through lies they know are lies, misdirection and made-up scenarios, they create dangerous divisions in their communities, dividing the populace by race, ethnicity, religious beliefs and cultural practices into warring camps that distrust one another, sometimes, to the point of outright hatred and rage that — more and more lately, lead to unnecessary violence.
It is a disgusting bag of tricks that, unfortunately, works to the tricksters’ benefit, helping them to build popularity, trust and a loyal following that pays off at the ballot box and in these charlatans’ bank accounts.
By preying on the fears and insecurity of their fellow citizens, they create dangerous divisions. They offer almost nothing useful to their fellow citizens that might lead to healing or unifying their communities.
Instead, they are self-centered, power-hungry, perhaps even confused themselves. But make no mistake, their main motive is gaining power they can use for their own personal benefit or for some misguided movement by some other leader they admire, look up to, or fear, whose ideology or selfish beliefs can only harm our democracy, our nation and its people.
They are too often acolytes of a narrow, tightly controlled America that resembles a younger version of our nation, before it made solid gains toward acknowledging and sharing power with other members of the robust melting pot that makes up this country, and can take advantage of different insights, knowledge, hard work and eagerness to help make this a place where all have the opportunity to succeed.
Never mind that keeping privilege and power in the hands of the few, often those who were the beneficiaries of the days of indentured servitude, back-room decision-making by the wealthy and powerful is a prescription for failure and disaster.
These politicians, their backers and hangers-on are not really interested in what’s good for this country as a whole, only in what’s advantageous to them now, and their off-spring into the future.
They are bent on seeking power through nearly any means. Many of them help spread outrageous, even crazed conspiracy theories aimed at respected leaders with whom they disagree. One common attack is the outlandish “rumors ” that accuse several well-connected, highly thought-of political and business leaders of belonging to a group of ravenous pedophiles, who prey on young children — and worse.
Of course, the accusers never offer any real evidence to back up these bogus claims.
Many of these people also scare their followers into believing they are in danger of being deprived of their “birthrights” and family legacies. They tell them they will be overtaken or erased by members of other racial, ethnic, religious, and/or social groups, who will stoop to any means to grab power and use it against hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, kindhearted Americans, who — either they or their ancestors — have worked hard for everything they’ve attained.
They use “Trumped”-up theories and vile conspiracies to frighten folks to their side, to divide the nation and conquer it. They have no shame. Truth and morality be damned. They want power — at almost any cost– to insure that they can keep on enjoying greater and greater privileges while they call the shots.
Many of them, themselves, are driven by fear. Fear that they will lose their power, their wealth, their influence and control. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough trust in their fellow citizens to believe that, if the table is ever turned and they find themselves in the minority, those then in a stronger position will not act the same way they did. So much of their fear is — ironically — fueled by the belief that others will act as they did when they had the upper hand. Unfortunately, however, they don’t see that, or — at least — pretend they don’t.
They are afraid to trust in the notion that those who were once locked out will be more open, inviting and willing to share than they have been.
Some of these people — perhaps many of them — may not realize what’s really going on. They have been so frightened by those who call themselves responsible leaders, that they actually may believe a lot of the ridiculous crap being spewed on the internet, through chat lines, “news” and talk shows.
Maybe they really believe — for example — wild speculation being pushed by many in conservative circles what is being called “replacement theory.” The notion that liberals are actually pushing for more illegal immigration at the southern border to allow more people of color into the country to hasten the time when members of minority groups will out number whites in this country, putting them in the minority. And once the “minority collective” effectively becomes the majority, the old guard will be rendered virtually powerless.
If there is such a movement underway, I haven’t seen any evidence to support it. Yet, plenty of politicians and conservative talk-radio and TV-hosts are pushing it. And it sure seems to be moving the opinion needle among its target audience.
The fear and malice produced by these calculated efforts are being witnessed across the country. The divisions, mistrust, anger, frustration and fear are apparent. They show up in racially motivated mass shootings, and other attacks, and even deranged, sometimes self-hating attacks on school children, houses of worship, shopping malls, outdoor festivals, peaceful protest marches and demonstrations.
The conspiracy theories, unfortunately are working. The American social fabric is unraveling at an alarming rate. Many members of different ethnic groups, who themselves, or whose relatives once fought side-by-side against a common enemy, are now turning their assault rifles on one another. And, sadly, the politicians, the wanna-be kings and king makers appear to be succeeding.
The wedges they are driving between us are working. We are, perhaps, more divided now, politically and philosophically, than we’ve been in generations. And to be blunt, the end doesn’t appear to be in sight. Rather than seeking common ground, we are rushing to our own foxholes.
How will it all end? It is difficult to say, especially since we have just witnessed something that would’ve been considered impossible just a few years ago. By that I mean the storming of our nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021 by an angry mob — many of them armed — who sought to stop the counting of electoral votes and the certification of the presidential election.
And this was no flash mob or spontaneous uprising. It was well-planned, well-financed; a brazen attack on our Democracy. It was backed and promoted by powerful people, including the then-sitting president of The United States of America. And sadly, it nearly succeeded. Lives were lost. Our nation was embarrassed before the world. But the transition of power — after a considerable delay — was, thankfully, accomplished.
What is still troubling, however, is that the former president on whose behalf the insurrection was carried out, is still arguing that the election results he desperately wanted overturned were fraudulent. He is not yet ready to face the reality that he lost the election fair and square, and now, needs to move on.
And many of his followers, enforcers and faithful soldiers — even those who know the election was not stolen — have shown little inclination they are ready to move on, either.
May God Help Us …