Republicans and Trump: How They Beat the Truth
Killing The Truth by Distortion
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire
America now has a ridiculous fun house mirror reflection. Facts and real news events called 'fake news'. While outlandish conspiracy theories are perceived as absolute fact. Donald Trump's campaign exploited this odious alternate universe period in America to become President of the United States.
Donald Trump elected President by people that knew he was lying, absurdly lying, atrociously lying. They didn't care. The truth was secondary to their animosity toward Obama, Democrats, Hillary and 'kooky liberals'.
Donald Trump didn't just happen out of the blue. He is a culmination of thirty years of manufactured outrage and indignant anger. Provoked by right-wing rhetorical programming. A generation conditioned by reactionary right-wing agitation and delirium. The constant, incessant, spittle spewing rhetoric of AM radio broadcasting right-wing resentful disinformation, hourly, daily, for several decades.
In the 1980s when Ronald Reagan allowed the fairness doctrine to lapse, right-wing think tanks and political organizations seized airtime on AM radio stations, almost all of it.
They then began the steady drumbeat of right-wing twisted truth propaganda.
In the early days of AM talk radio Democrats and and liberals were referred to as misguided bleeding hearts. In the mid-90s things escalated, during the Bill Clinton Presidency, Democrats and liberals were smeared as a cancer on the country by right-wing propagandists. Liberals all the sudden became communist agents out to destroy the conservative way of life, end Christianity and turn the country in a Stalin-esque hellhole complete with concentration camps for conservatives and Christians. The right wing propaganda industry escalated their frenzied rhetoric.
Right-wing radio hosts spit venom into their microphones, hourly, day after day, for years.
2017 and the Presidency of Donald Trump is the climax of the incessant indoctrination. The mental conditioning process wasn't difficult or complex. The requirements; a willing audience, people needing to be told who to blame. People all too willing to have complex, multi-layered issues reduced to bumper-sticker slogans by authoritarian drum major cult leaders. People that were conveniently mobilized to show up at a moment's notice, puffed up and shouting angry indignation.
The Tea-Party birthed Donald Trump in the dark corner of American ignorance.
There Is Profit In Anger And Fear
What is the elemental motivation of the right-wing fantasy spin machine?
Alex Pareen of Fusion writes:
"Because there was a lot of money in it for various hucksters and moguls and authors and politicians, the conservative movement spent decades building up an entire sector of the economy dedicated to scaring and lying to older white men. For millions of members of that demographic, this parallel media dedicated to lying to them has totally supplanted the “mainstream” media. Now they, and we, are at the mercy of the results of that project. The inmates are running the asylum, if there is a kind of asylum that takes in many mostly sane people and then gradually, over many years, drives one subset of its inmates insane, and also this asylum has the largest military in the world."
Remember, middle-aged to older white males controlled the household purse strings in the 1980s when right-wing fear radio began. Right-wing propaganda has always compared household finances to nation budget management, when in actuality they are two wholly different worlds, not even in the same galaxy.
Pareen goes on to say:
"For years, the conservative movement peddled one set of talking points to the rabble, while its elites consumed a more grounded and reality-based media. The rubes listened to talk radio, read right-wing blogs, watched Fox News. They were fed apocalyptic paranoia about threats to their liberty, racial hysteria about the generalized menace posed by various groups of brown people, the hysterical lies about the criminal misdeeds of various Democratic politicians. The people in charge, meanwhile, read The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard, and they tended to have a better grasp of political reality, as when those sources deceived their readers, it was mostly unintentionally, with comforting fantasies about the efficacy of conservative policies. From the Reagan era through the Bush administration, the system seemed to be performing as designed."
". . .they insured the system was performing as designed"
That constructed design was the upward flow of the nation's wealth and income to the wealthy. It is cemented into place by the manufactured fear and dread instilled into the zombie masses of have nothings, conditioned to vote against their own economic best interests.
Right-Wing Media Marketing
Brilliant cognitive linguist George Lakoff related in a talk at the Center for Right Wing Studies:
". . .students who become Democratic operatives tend to study political studies and statistics and demographics in college. “Students who lean Republican study marketing. “And that’s his point,” Rosenthal said. “It’s a very different way of thinking.”
Electoral politics is more marketing than politics, Trump's election proves that. Reagan touched off the conservative revolution in 1980 with brilliant marketing techniques. The Democrats didn't learn that lesson until 2008 and the election of President Obama, they then quickly forgot about marketing and returned to their tone deaf intellectualism. There's nothing wrong with intellectual appeals, except in times when people have insecure financial circumstances, they won't respond to intellectualism. Bernie Sanders understood that, Sanders spoke directly to the people's concerns, and to be perfectly honest, so did Donald Trump. The difference being Bernie Sanders was sincere, Trump wasn't.
This returns us to one of the original points.
How did an insincere clod like Donald Trump, someone most people viewed as an inveterate liar, a gaudy, profane, alleged billionaire, that has never been known as a champion of the common man, never did anything in his life that didn't directly benefit himself, get elected as the populist choice?
George Lakoff says:
"The answer came from a realization that we tend to understand the nation metaphorically in family terms: We have founding fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war. We have homeland security. The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different common forms of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative)."
In insecure times, especially financial insecurity, which working class Americans are experiencing, they tend to look to authoritarian figures for comfort. Someone that promises to fix everything. Their base emotion is fear, fear hinders decision-making thought.
Donald Trump played that emotion like a piano. He was the authoritarian father figure, going to make everything right again, Make America Great Again. His voters perceived that slogan as making themselves personally safe again.
Donald Trump manufactured a need and promised he, only he, would satisfy it.
The right-wing consumer mind bought it like kids crave Happy Meals, promises of an exhilarating, transcendent experience, but delivers an empty nutritional nightmare.
How To Combat The Lies
As an active participant of social media I all too well understand how exhausting challenging right-wing lies can be. But do it we must. Being a veteran of the internet propaganda wars I've watched right-wing untruths go from subtle twists of facts and truths a decade ago, to blatant outright bizarre conspiracy fueled fantasy in the last few years. Right-wingers have been led to believe they can make their lying fantasies real by sheer force of will, keep repeating the same untruth over and over again and it will become material truth.
The next paragraph is me risking 'othering' right wingers, I'll use 'they' a lot. It's a charge I'll risk to make a point.
It's how they were programmed. Authoritative repetition. Many simply mimic the verbiage and tone of their favorite right-wing commentator or blogger, like they don't have a mind of their own, they don't think things through. They've been told what to think and they're loyal to their conditioning.
At the bedrock foundation of their world-view is fear. it fuels their anger and indignation. We can't make them unafraid, especially over the internet. All we can do is:
Challenge their fears.
Challenge their untruths.
Challenge their bigotry.
Challenge them at every turn.
This means we ourselves have to read, a lot, be factually founded, show integrity. We have to be based in truth, we have to be unafraid of them. Unafraid of their venom, anger and fear. Many exhibit a puffed up, aggressive, off-putting tone to intimidate, don't be intimidated.
It's a learned behavior from their propaganda conditioning.
The only way to defeat fascist lies is to unflinching stare them right in the eye and tell the truth.
With Love we'll endure this period of dystopic reality.
Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media.
© 2017 Duane Townsend