Saturday, June 24, 2017

Should Hate Be A part of Our Political Rhetoric?

Most people would describe me as laid-back or easygoing, which I guess is mostly true. I tend take most everything with a grain or two of salt. I can listen to someone, with whom I may completely disagree, and walk away friends, or at least not enemies. In some cases, I may even change my opinion based on new facts (which is why I dislike political parties and their rigid dogma. Facts just seem to get in the way). Perhaps that's a reflection of my generation---the Babyboomers. My generation had a more or less "collective" philosophy by which we tended to follow which was "I may not agree with what you have to say but I'll defend to the death your right to say it". This basically meant that you and I may disagree on something, but we'll respect each other's right to our own opinion and right to express that opinion (we had another similar saying which said "your opinion stops at the top of my nose", which, as you might guess, meant that neither of us had the right to violently stop someone from expressing their opinion). Of course, all this created an atmosphere for some pretty lively political and social discussion!

While obviously not all of our social/political debates were civil and devoid of fisticuffs, we at least tended to be open minded. College and university campuses were bastions of free expression, critical thinking and where the application rational logic were encouraged regardless of one's political leanings. Now, I don't mean to sound like everything was wine and roses. It wasn't. My generation was the generation of rebellion; of sit-ins and protests, be it for or against the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, Women's equality, LGBT Pride and equality, a cleaner environment, humane treatment of animals, better treatment for seniors, working conditions, improved housing, and so forth. For every cause, there were those who opposed it for some reason. However, I can't think of a single instance where anyone was prevented from speaking their mind or being attacked for doing so. Sadly, we can't say that today.

It's often said that each generation resents its parent's generation while romanticizing its grandparent's generation. I suppose that's true. During the Roaring Twenties, that generation rejected the values and morals of their parents while embracing the attitude of the grandparents who were in their youth during the "Gay Nineties" . The youth of the 60's and 70's tended to look back to their grandparent's youth of the 20's and 30's. Perhaps it's always been so. Today's youth, the Millennials, seem to be trying to embrace the 60's and 70's with their anti-authoritarianism, which includes rejection of organized religion, political parties, and embrace ad hoc work and social groups, devotion to causes or issues, and so forth. However, where they've failed has been their rejection of open discourse.

Today's 30ish and under crowd seem to have adopted an attitude which refuses to accept differing opinions or ideas. They have embraced the "echo chamber" mentality. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, an "echo chamber mentality" essentially means listening to one line of thought to the complete or near complete exclusion of all others. In doing so, they come to convince themselves that there is only one truth or reality. To see or hear anything which challenges that position actually seems to throw them into a form of mental overload. As a result, they tend to revert to a "flight or fight" defense. This is why some run away to seek the shelter of a "safe space", which supposedly offers them some protection from a competing truth or alternative reality. Others, however, react by attacking the message by attacking the messenger in some form. We've seen ample examples of both over the years, but especially since the election of Donald Trump as President. To compound matters, we also see some fighting via the safety of social media. Let's face it, the vast majority of folks wouldn't say the hateful or violent things they do if they were face to face with the other person. Social media provides a sense of protection and the ability to act rudely without facing any repercussions (for the most part).

To add to this violable mix is the fact that we've allowed a toxic environment to be created, primarily by the corporate owned media. The reason, as most people already know, is that what was supposed to be a preordained event---the election of Hillary Clinton----didn't happen despite the blatant promotion by the media at the behest of the Oligarchy which, as I'm sure you know, now rules over America and owns 96% of ALL media in this country. Donald Trump was pictured by the corporate owned media as a "clown" or a "distraction". He wasn't to be taken seriously (candidate Ted Cruz even referred to Trump's campaign as "circus" as did Marco Rubio). However, as the status quo candidates put forth by the Republican Party dropped out, the more frantic the Oligarchy became, which was reflected in the media's treatment of the Trump campaign. After all, Trump was not one of their pre-approved candidate. Meanwhile, despite reports of corruption, treason, health problems, abuse of power ("pay to play") stories kept leaking out despite the corporate media's efforts to ignore or downplay them, Hillary Clinton's march to her coronation as America's first female President rolled on.

By the time the election was over, a stunned and grossly embarrassed corporate media went on the offensive to try and justify the loss. At first there were claims of voter fraud, election rigging, followed by demands to do away with the Electoral College, and then assertions that, somehow, the Russians were able to manipulate the entire US election process and throw the election to Trump. Well, as it turned out, there was some merit to these claims, but the results weren't quite what they were hoping for. It seems there was voter fraud---illegal immigrants and dead people voting---but for Hillary, not Trump. In addition, there was election rigging, but again, this was done by Hillary's Campaign with the help of the DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The victim, however, wasn't Trump. It was fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders. Some of the outcomes were rigged, plus Sander's supporters were kept out of the Convention's nomination process. As a result, Ms. Wasserman was removed as Chairwoman of the DNC and replaced by Donna Brazile (but not to fear. After being fired, Ms. Wasserman went to work for the Hillary Campaign the very next day). Then, we learned that Hillary was provided with a list of questions she was to be asked at the last Presidential "debate". Want to guess who provided her with the list of questions? Yelp, Donna Brazile, the newly appointed DNC Chairwoman.

Of course, while we're still listening to claims of Russian involvement in the election, it seems that their only involvement was monitoring Hillary Clinton's use of the her unsecured server which she used at her repeated insistence. In fact, when Hillary lied under oath before Congress during the Benghazi hearings, she claimed not to have certain key emails (when in fact she did) and that all available emails had been turned over (they weren't) to the FBI. When State Department said that because she used an unsecured and private server, they didn't have any records, Russia's Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russian intelligence had monitored her emails, offered to provide the Senate with copies--free gratis. Naturally, the Senate declined and both the FBI and State Department slinked away. Since the hearings, thousands of these emails have been leaked, included many which were classified in some degree. Nevertheless, the corporate media is continuing to play the Russian card although the American People aren't buying it. I suppose that once you commit to the lie, you have to play it out, or as the saying goes "A big enough lie told often enough will eventually be accepted as the truth", which reminds me of an old Scottish saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Meanwhile, the corporate owned media still seems to begin and end every broadcast with a negative Trump story. Syndicated talk shows have their anti-Trump/Conservative segments (sometimes, entire shows). So-called "celebrities" like to spout off anti-Trump comments just to get the applause light to come on. Some are calling for disobeying any and all bills passed by Trump. Many are demanding Trump's impeachment for imagined crimes. Some, like Kathy Griffin, posing with a bloody decapitated head of Trump. A few are trying to incite protests and violence, which coupled with the "echo chamber" mentality of a large segment of the under 30 folks, almost ensures that someone is going to get killed, hurt or some property is destroyed (don't forget too that many are already disillusioned because the corporate media had all but promised them that Hillary couldn't lose while others who were Bernie supporters were shocked to see how their candidate was cheated out of a better showing and having an impact on the creating the DNC campaign planks). We can add to this mix efforts by social media platforms to control political and social content by censoring or eliminating anything with a conservative slant while organizations on the Left do whatever they can to stoke the fire.

Finally, we have some actors and even elected or appointed officials either calling for Trump's assassination or the murder of Republicans (case in point being the recent statement made by actor Johnny Depp about an actor assassinating a president, implying apparently that an actor should kill Trump). Of course, we have the recent shooting at the ballpark outside Washington in which the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson III, was gunning for any Republicans there (he also had a list in his pocket of Republicans he intended to murder). There can be no doubt that Hodgkinson was, at least partially, motivated by this toxic political environment we've allowed to develop. So asinine statements like Depp's and others will do nothing but encourage others to step up and attempt to kill Trump and/or others. Can you imagine how this behavior would have been handled had it been directed at Obama or Hillary? Frankly, it wouldn't have. The media and Hollywood would have stopped it immediately.

So, there we are. We've created a political environment where disagreement is not tolerated, especially by the one demographic which should be most open minded--- Millennials---and especially those on colleges campuses where open and rational discussion should be promoted. Instead, we've allowed a large segment of our largest population segment to live in a bubble where "safe rooms", intolerance, self inflicted guilt over race, reverse racism, and a sense of entitlement are not just allowed, but encouraged. In addition, we've permitted the corporate own media and Hollywood to egg it on. We laugh at hateful "jokes" much like many Germans laughed at Jewish jokes in prewar cabarets. We've lost our willingness to say "no" at our growing sense of self-loathing. Once, we had a society which, despite our disagreements, believed in freedom of expression and open civil debate. What happened? Where did that go? There was a time too when we were proud of being Americans regardless of our race, religion, gender, or ethnic origin. Now, we seem to be divided by these and other manufactured differences. Then again, a divided population is easier to distract and control isn't it?

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Anti-Trump Media: 91% of coverage negative, 96% of donations to Hillary

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