“We will either live together as brothers or die together as fools”. Of all the quotes attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King over the course of his life, that quote was the most poignant and significant relative to the future of the United States, given what is currently taking place in the country, specifically in the form of the government shutdown. In many of the earlier chapters of this blog, I alluded to the idea that the country may well be headed for civil war. In the post I published just prior to the midterm elections I suggested that the only way to more or less easily avoid that catastrophe was to sweep all incumbent Republicans running for reelection out of office. We failed to do that. Hence we are now getting a sobering understanding of how much damage to the democratic republic a renegade president along with his Republican allies can do in two years. By the end of Trump’s term of office, there may be nothing left of what we now call the United States of America.
In my last post (chapter 65) I equated the trend toward the breakdown of democracy and the rule of law to a pattern of insanity. I went on to outline the factors that precipitated the insanity and the demographics of the electorate that resulted from it. Recent polls around the government shutdown appear to validate my assertions since they indicate the 70% of all Americans are against what Trump and the Republican Senate are doing, while only 30% approve. So the question is, does the insanity lay with the 30% of Americans who favor all white rule of America or the 70% who favor democracy but collectively continue to either vote Republican or abstain from voting and don’t make it the number one priority of their lives? Each time we fail to institute the necessary changes through the electoral process, we make it harder to stop the fascist steamroller that is flattening and destroying democracy. Now we are at the point of having to push for recall elections for Trump Republicans (quasi Koch brothers Republicans to be exact) in congress to stop the complete disintegration of the currently democratic government. That would have to happen in at least 5 states, and probably 9 states in order to achieve a veto proof majority – a very difficult task, indeed. Consequently, in order to properly motivate you to take the necessary action, I will again try to instruct you on both how to read the handwriting on the wall and to a paint a not so pretty picture of how the country will devolve into a totalitarian country if we fail to take action.
Recently, I saw two documentaries. One had to do the teacher strikes and uprisings happening throughout the nation and the other had to do with Facebook and the worldwide catastrophe it has created by its indiscriminant use of personal data. If you’re like me, you probably think the teacher demonstrations and walkouts are primarily about salaries and working conditions, but that’s not exactly true. The primary driver of the teacher uprisings is the loss of pension funds they have worked their entire lives for. All over the country, both in public and private institutions, management has been raiding the pension funds of the average working class Americans, sometimes for personal gain, other times to cover budgetary shortfalls, but almost always carried out by Republican politicians elected by the people they are stealing from. As I watched many of the very moving scenes of that Front Line, PBS special back in October of 2018, of broken hearted disillusioned, salt of the earth, mostly white Americans, expressing their outrage and despair to the politicians who had presided over the theft of their hard earned money, I could tell by they way they expressed themselves, and political vernacular they used, at least half if not most of them were probably Republicans who voted those very people in office. I wondered if they had any idea that they had adopted a culture, the purpose of which is to destroy every vestige of middle class America to create a society that is 100% dependent on the good will of the people in power for their survival. They appeared to me to be operating under the illusion that the people they voted for were primarily representing them and not the millionaires and billionaires who sponsored their candidacies. In fact one of the interviewees actually told the interviewer how she never paid attention to what was happening to her pension deductions and how she assumed that the people appointed by the elected officials to manage their fund wouldn’t dare do anything to jeopardize the principal of her money. She had no idea that since she was old enough to vote, she had been voting to give politicians and big business owners a license to steal her money at will.
Coincidentally, the Front Line special on Facebook went a long way to explaining how and why even to this day, many of those same people are almost robotically programed to continue to support the politics that is literally destroying their lives and the lives of their families. In the words of one of the tech insiders interviewed on the special, the Facebook algorithm designed to extract personal information from the user was so effective that advertisers, political memes and trolls “know more about you than you know about yourself”. The effect is as though (paraphrasing) “you put a target on your chest for the possessor of your information to move you in any direction they want you to go”. The documentary went on to show how the onslaught of Russian hackers use of misinformation and disinformation, leveraged against the American electorate was so intense and effective as to create almost airtight information bubbles, able to filter out any information that ran contrary to the general beliefs and tendencies of the target and simultaneously letting in all of the most toxic information that appears to validate the target’s beliefs, creating the illusion that their views are not only the prevailing views of the average American but the righteous views. Russian Internet manipulators have radicalized the American electorate in much the same way young people all over the world have been radicalized into Islamic terrorism. Last week as I watched the scene of the young man in his “Make America Great Again” hat accosting the elderly Native American man peacefully demonstrating at the Indigenous Peoples March near the Lincoln Memorial last week, I cold see the brazen determination of the young man to flaunt his contempt and hatred for this man who he didn’t know, who’s history he could never understand and who’s connection to the young man as a human being was completely obliterated. How could someone so young and probably from a good family that has taken good care of him for his entire life be filled with so much hatred? The attitudes towards people of color expressed by his family and mentors surely have had something to do with it, but equally if not more of his attitudes have been framed by the so-called alt-right media, particularly in the form of social media and the Internet, where people his age spend an inordinate amount of their time.
The Russian KGB has five categories of recruited foreign agents. One such category is called “the useful idiot”. It is meant to classify a person who covets some form of material gain who also believes his/her interests coincide with Russian interest. The Russians have succeeded in placing one of their useful idiots in the White House of the United States of America. We are witnessing this useful idiot dismantle the underpinnings of the American way of life, including free and fair elections, a free press, a strong NATO alliance, a stable and predictable international trade environment and most recently the shutdown of the United States Government itself. He has checked off almost everything on Vladimir Putin’s wish list. If government workers, especially those in the FBI and TSA, are forced to find new jobs, I guarantee you they will be replaced with Russian and Saudi Arabian agents, and others sympathetic to the Trump-Russian agenda.
Donald Trump is not the only useful idiot in America. In refusing to talk to each other and exchanging ideas in order to regain a consensus view of reality, we have all become useful idiots. As long as we continue to scapegoat each other and seek to believe our worst fears about our friends and neighbors who happen to disagree with us, or be of a different race or religion than us, we will remain pawns of the Internet information brokers, and will continue to surrender our wealth and human rights to these people. Trump, Putin and the Koch brothers will win and we will all loose.