Observations reflecting on Teodrose Fikre’s article on August 12, 2017, entitled “Peddling Dissension: Charlottesville, Demagoguery and Using Hate as Click Bait”
The United States continues to unravel in an orgy of polarization deliberately directed by people whose thirst for power overwhelms all other instincts and certainly any sense of decency. They are blatant in their strategy and tactics, “generate hate and divisiveness”, not from the extreme right or the extreme left but from someplace outside the linear left right spectra, from a place where only pragmatism in the quest for power counts.
They use social causes dear to progressives which they’ve in fact betrayed with programs designed to divert their quest for change into more of the same old, same old, but artfully promoted; after all, Hollywood is on their side, as is the mainstream media and to be honest, large segments of both major political parties, although the latter maintain a semblance of faux competition, for tradition’s sake.
They use the innocent as some of their most effective tools, goading them into confrontations designed as catalysts for violence where hopefully some attractive participant or participants will suffer injury, even death, especially death, which can then be vociferously exploited politically amidst rivers of crocodile tears.
The captive mainstream media will choreograph the ensuing coverage to villainize one of the groups and demand their repudiation and condemnation by those they seek to bring down, inevitably finding ensuing condemnation inadequate. Of course, there is no interest at all in understanding underlying positions and concerns, or how to heal psychological traumas that have made our society such a horrific combination of antagonistically clashing values and fears and insecurities. That might lead to the conclusion that the biggest villains of all are those expressing shock, dismay and faux concern while concurrently sending out streams of emails demanding political contributions. After all, we must throw the rascals out (no not us, the other rascals).
As a society we’ve permitted ourselves to be molded into disgusting purveyors of violence. Violence against other countries but also against our fellow citizens, whether because of religious or racial differences or political beliefs or attitudes towards honoring historical memories that are perceived by others as anachronistic (although anachronity is a hallmark of history). It’s as though we’ve become possessed by fury and evil; sparks wafted into flames and then conflagrations leading towards holocaust. All in the name of something positive and beautiful but really only in the quest for power, especially when power has been lost and addictive withdrawal setting in becomes uncontrolled.
Just what have we permitted ourselves to become?
We take those most willing to sacrifice themselves for our defense, many of the most noble among us, and make them believe that we are constantly under existential threats that require them to sacrifice their moral upbringing, becoming immune to commandments against murder and mayhem and then express shock when they come home to roost and our collective soul reflects the chaos and confusion and psychological trauma that destroyed moral grounding generates. We have become that which we’ve historically criticized in other places and other times, we’ve become Attilas and Caligulas and Hitlers and Stalins and Roman publics at gladiatorial events led by political pragmatists free of the binding constraints of ethics or morality but free to render lip service to anything useful at any given moment, regardless of how contradictory or incoherent.
Hypocrisy has become the most valued talent among those who lead us as well as among those who seek to dethrone them using virtually the same tactics in their place.
And we like sheep and lemmings dutifully follow their prods.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.