Saturday, January 30, 2021

Censorship on Social Media: When 'Unity' Means 'Conformity'


A few days ago I found myself rather surprised. I belong to a national non-partisan political group which focuses on finding solutions to the many problems facing us. In fact, I've been a member of the group since they began, which is about ten years ago (I belong to a number of similar groups).

Someone posted a statement which was along the lines of going along with Biden's statement that now, since he was president, we should focus on "unity". Well, in theory that sounds pretty good, except for the eight years of Obama, those on the Right as well as those in the Center were ridiculed (remember Hillary referring to Trump supporters as "deplorables"?).

Then there was the four years of vicious attacks on President Trump that went on around the clock every day of the week. Every broadcast started, and most ended with, an attack on Trump or his supporters.  The Establishment Republicans were often just as nasty as the Establishment Democrats.

I thought to myself that there was no way in hell that the Democrats would have allowed the same treatment of Obama.  The corporate media did its utmost to ignore, bury, or twist the facts when it came to Hillary, be it her alleged "pay-to-play" schemes, Benghazi, unauthorized selling of weapons or strategic resources to Muslim terrorist groups, her illegal storing of emails, lying to Congress, or the Russians, and so on.

So, I responded to the comment by saying that after enduring years of abuse, I couldn't imagine Trump or his supporters were suddenly going to hug and play nice now that Biden was President. I added that respect was a two way street and that we should expect some sort of payback.

Much to my surprise, my comment was deleted! What did I possibly say to warrant my comment being removed? It was polite. It didn't attack anyone. It wasn't vulgar (my comments never are). I couldn't imagine that it was offensive in any way. I even had  several "likes" and "hearts". So, I reached out to the site administrators. Their response was to refer me to the site's guidelines.

I looked over them and found nothing out of line, so I asked them to look at my comment and enlighten me as to my great sin. What was so offensive about saying that I didn't expect Trump's supporters were likely to kiss and make nice? Did I "offend" someone because I said respect was a two way street?  

The site administrators, after several hours, agreed to reinstate my comment but warned me to be more "sensitive" but never explained my crime. I noticed another comment, one which I hadn't responded to, in which the author stated that the site appears to be becoming more Left oriented instead of non-partisan and asked if anyone else was noticing the same thing had also been removed.  Again, polite.

Then it dawned on me. It appears that my unknown co-conspirator and myself had inadvertently challenged the newly imposed acceptable narrative. Specifically, now that Biden and the Status Quo are back in charge, order will prevail. Dissent, however innocent, would not be allowed.

Those deemed as malcontents, or worse, as "domestic terrorists" will "unify" and "comply". Resistance is futile. For our accidental faux pas, we were merely censured this time. I suppose if this was Communist China I would be off to some prison sweatshop working on overpriced sneakers by now!  

A few day later I read a online post which I found incredulous. According to the poster, Katie Couric, a television and online journalist, had stated that Trump supporters needed to be "deprogrammed" from the "Trump cult". Really? And apparently her sentiments were echoed by other Establishment Democrats. I immediately had visions of Soviet era dissidents being hauled off to mental hospitals to be "reeducated".

 Those who recanted after months or years of being drugged and often tortured, were allowed back into society (with certain restrictions...naturally). Those who didn't conform were usually left to rot in these pseudo-mental hospital prisons.

For those who never conformed to their "reeducation" or "deprogramming" were generally taken to some cold dank dark room (like an abandoned shower in a basement) or an empty field and shot in the back of the head (the favorite form of execution by the KGB and totalitarian regimes everywhere).   

I couldn't believe that someone like Katie Couric, a Television Hall of Fame honoree, would utter such a remark, so I checked out it for myself. I was surprised on two points. One, that Katie actually said it, and secondly that the comment hadn't been purged by now.  If a conservative reporter had said that about Obama and his supporters, they'd be unceremoniously booted out of the TV Hall of Fame.

Then I thought "why not?".  After all, the major social media platforms have all denied the President of the United States access to the public via their sites, so why wouldn't other sites feel justified to deny the likes of me an opportunity to express my opinion, even if it was civil? Since the election, the same social media sites have aggressively gone after other sites to force them to comply to the new narrative of what's acceptable and what isn't.

So called "fact checkers", who, in the era before "political correctness", would have been called what they are---censors---are not so much there to verify facts as to "correct" opinions; what George Orwell called in his seminal book "1984" as "right think" by the Thought police .  The only acceptable speech "1984" was "duckspeak" which was defined as the "automatic" verbal support of the party line (I'm sure ole George is up there, somewhere, shouting  "I told you so!").   

Sadly, we may be entering an era of "duckspeak" as the Oligarchs behind the ruling Corporatocracy tighten their control on society. Already, not just critics or free thinkers being forced off platforms across the board, be it actual Conservatives or the Far Right (aka "Alt Right"), but so are those in Center (which is the majority of Americans), as well as those on the Far Left.

 Yes, even the extreme Left are being bumped from platforms in an attempt to silence their criticism of the Establishment Left, aka the Democrat Party.  We are being hemmed in by the Status Quo whereby the only accepted political thought lies between the Establishment Right and the Establishment Left. All other forms of political discourse are being silenced. We will support either the Democrat or Republican parties. No one else is allowed to speak, nor will they be heard.

Libertarians, Greens, and other third parties are viewed as outsiders. Independents, the nation's largest political bloc, are all but ignored; treated as if they are partisans who haven't made up their minds yet and not as individuals who've stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and rejected both wings of the same old corporate vulture. Independents, who are mostly Centerists, are also feared by the Status Quo since they are the ones most likely to be free thinkers; to do their own research and act accordingly. That's unacceptable.

Together, they are kept off the ballots, out of the debates, and most of all poor; receiving little to no donations which is the life blood of politics, especially since the passage of Citizens United which has reduced politics to a game between corporations.  In effect, all but silencing other schools of political thought the way they're now doing to ordinary individuals. How's that for conformity...err... "unity"?

What happened on January 6th in Washington is what the Status Quo fears the most. I'm not talking about breaking windows, stealing Pelosi's podium, or "the people" being in the "People's House" waving American or pro-American flags and banners without permission. I'm talking about being outraged and not holding back, not just at individual politicians or the two political mafia-like cliques, but at the corporations propping the dry rotted edifice of Congress up.

 We have to demand---not beseech on bended knee--change. That means term limits, ending partisan gerrymandering, rank choice voting, ending Citizens United, citizen ballot initiatives, and opening up elections to Independents and third parties by creating a level political playing field. We cannot have a real democratic Republic unless we allow every political persuasion to have a voice.

We need to create independent citizen boards not beholden to moneyed interests (such as electing citizens to zoning or utility commission boards). We, the ordinary taxpayers of this country, should have the final say when it comes to tax increases, rate or fee increases, and increases in salaries of elected officials. Otherwise, they will find a way to take every last dollar we have.

Politicians have long shown they can't be trusted with our money. We know it. It's even a common joke centuries old, and yet we tolerate it. Why?  As the commercial says, "it's my money and I want it now". It's our money and we should have the final say how it's spent. Our money. Our voice.

We need to find ways to challenge the Status Quo and let them know their behavior is not acceptable. It could be showing up at their staged media events, writing letters to editors (many newspapers have stopped printing any opposing views), but we still need to do it to let them know we won't acquiesce. We won't go away.

We need to support non-partisan and third party candidates, radio shows, authors, and blogs like this one (some bloggers charge for access to their articles. I don't. I only ask that you pass my articles along to as many people as possible. My sole desire is to get as many people as possible to think for themselves).  I'm sure there are a thousand ways to fight back. Pick one...or two...or three... just get busy!

Our Founding Fathers warned us about partisanship and political parties. They believed the parties would first divide us and then, finally, separate us from political power.  Well, they were right. Right now, many of our cherished rights bequeath to us in the Bill of Rights are under aggressive attack.

While all are important, none are more important in my opinion than the First Amendment and our right to freedom of speech and expression; our right to peacefully assemble or to seek redress of our grievances (and there are many) from the government (btw, it doesn't say or imply a corporate right to redress, but to our right---the people)  along the right to believe (or not) as we choose. We're seeing a full on press to curtail the right to express our opinions by denying us a platform and by censoring us.

The government no longer listens to us because they no longer fear us. Partisan gerrymandering has all but ensures that the party holding a seat will keep that seat. Campaigns are beyond the financial reach of the vast majority of Americans, thanks to Citizens United, and without term limits, they can stay in office for indefinitely regardless of the job they're doing (or, more aptly, not doing).

America has all but lost faith in the electoral process due to rigged elections and illegal election engineering; approximately 40% routinely stay home. That's due, in part, because we have no faith in the cardboard cutouts running for office. Campaign commercials routinely lie and distort.

Candidates will lie (especially incumbents). We have to challenge their claims, but we have to do our homework first and share it with others. Alternative parties and candidates are ridiculed or excluded altogether. We have to insist on election reform. Until they agree, stop voting for incumbents.

When social media platforms censor us, we need to fight back. Delete the censor's comments. Repost. Repost and keep reposting. Individually we're weak. Together we are unstoppable.  When they delete comments (like they did mine), challenge it. Make them prove their point. Of course, keep it civil and polite. Don't want to give them any excuses. That's what they're looking for. 

Lastly, don't give up. Don't back down. Don't give in. Don't back out. This is our fight as Americans to lose.


Meghan McCain responds to Katie Couric: "I don't need to be deprogrammed"

Katie Couric accused Trump's "Cult" members after saying they needed to  "deprogram"



1 comment:

South Ender said...

Well said!
And the threat is REAL and IMMEDIATE.

Totalitarian regimes have throughout history sought to conquer the masses by creating big divisions within and then swooping in on a segment and making them compliant, hoping to set an example to everyone else.

The DemocRATS and the WEEpublicans have done just that.

The easiest message that you can send in Kentucky (and any other locale that insists on declaring a party affiliation upon registering to vote) is to CHANGE your partisan voter registration to OTHER or Independent.

BOTH corrupt parties WILL notice and then watch their pandering for votes explode.

The ILLUSION of Freedom is all we have today.
Let's get back our REAL FREEDOM.
Send that message TODAY via the Internet at your Sec. of State's website.