Politics: The Sting of Sedition
I am one who believes that, if you tell a lie long enough, some people will eventually begin to believe it. History provides many startling examples of this. The impacts of propaganda have caused all measure of shocking reactions. From assassinations and street violence to all out war. We need to look no further than the history of America to find stark glimpses of this broad landscape of social tragedy. Tragedy and violence springs from nothing more than misinformation and lies.
Two years ago I began to hear unsettling and even startling comments in the media about a man who would eventually be our President. The vile and dangerous assault has not only continued, but now it has spread to attacks on Democratic legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The nation is beginning to witness actual acts of violence, resulting from those who are being carefully and ideologically manipulated. People who are being lied too, mislead and manipulated by politicians and media pundits for the sole purpose of political advantage. Should this continue, before long, there is no doubt that many of us may also feel the threat or be personally faced with acts of violence.
We know that there have been fiery debates over many issues in our country throughout our proud history. Slavery, Women’s Rights, Civil Rights are only a few examples. What is different today is that the vehicles of expression available to those who seek to promulgate their political misinformation and their lies have expanded to a much broader audience. The audience has been proven to be ideologically vulnerable. Many members of this audience are comprised of a few who have now verified our worst suspicions. This suspicion is that a weak and twisted few are actually out there, awakened by the dog whistle rhetoric of a lost and confused Republican Party as well as overt hateful and treasonous comments of those who make up and lead this nation’s Right-Wing Lunatic Fringe.
The nation has reached the boiling point. Americans are assaulting each other, undertaking acts of vandalism and making threats of physical violence. Why? They are afraid in some cases and also angry. The roots of anger are based in emotional seduction, drawn into a vile and mean-spirited philosophical orgy with the Republican Party and the right-wing media.
From the moment that Senator Barack Obama made his appearance on the national political stage as a serious candidate for President, the dangerous vitriol became a primary tool of his opposition. There were accusations that he was not born in the United States along with the suggestion that he was not a Christian, but a Muslim. Charges continue that he is a radical, a socialist or communist, even the outrageous charge that he is a racist. Accusations exist that he had a nefarious association with domestic terrorists. Others believe that President Obama is bent on weakening our military. There exists an undercurrent of profanity, a bizarre charge that President Obama is intent on somehow destroying the United States of America. It is true. There are those who have been told and who believe that the President of this nation is actually an enemy of the Republic. In view of this, a question begs to be answered: who is responsible for this?
The mass media in the U.S. has a very broad reach. The added impact of the internet as an alternative information source has furthered their expansive reach. There is a television or a computer, or both, in most every home in the nation. More importantly, there are many good people in America who actually believe everything they hear on the news, what they read on the internet or in the newspaper. There are those who do not analyze what they hear or read, who accept information from various media sources as if it were coming from the burning bush. Understanding this, and fully appreciating the ideological vulnerability of many Americans; politicians and their media backers have begun to frighten and manipulate their audiences to levels of negative emotion that are proving very dangerous. This is a communications conspiracy, a new propaganda campaign that has been employed to yield some measure of political advantage.
Although the associated dangers are very real, the good news is that these tactics are simply instruments of desperation. What the right does not understand, what the GOP and their fringe elements fail to appreciate and acknowledge, is that the “White-topean” America that they so longingly dream of is “Gone Baby Gone”. It would seem that a coordinated and targeted right-wing political and media partnership is effective, but is only reaching a dwindling aging, xenophobic and homophobic demographic.
The truth of the matter is, a diverse majority of Americans put our President in the White House. He was the candidate that they trusted and who they continue to believe in. The GOP had done such a dismal job of governing throughout the prior administration that even their supporters began to abandon them. The nation as a whole made a grand social statement with their choice of this President. For a right-wing conservative, an overt or covert racist, this is undoubtedly a very scary thing. White Americans, joined with all other Americans to elect a black man President. With that, the American social legacy was swept away, ushering in the dawn of a new era of social and intellectual parity.
When you watch or read the mean-spirited rhetoric from right-wing legislators or when you see and hear those on the far right making their threats and conducting themselves like unruly children, you must remember their motivations. You must understand their pain and why they are acting out. They have lost forever the vision of the “White America” that they held so dear. They are shrinking in number as they lose the political and social support of their friends, neighbors and in many cases, even their children. As the aged protesters cluster together in their “all-white pods of vitriol,” we should attempt to feel some sorrow and compassion for them. They are blinded by their hate for they lost sight of what was happening in their nation. More than that, they never understood that America was created to be and destined to be a world-wide bastion of welcoming liberalism.
Sometimes it takes us a while; but the nation eventually seems to get it right. Women’s Rights, Civil Rights, now Health Care and no doubt someday soon, Gay Rights and beyond. Throughout the history of America, those who have wielded the whip of sedition, have ultimately found themselves cringing on the receiving end of that that very same stinging lash.
L. A. Walker