Brainwashing America: What to Do with our Beloved Pod People

For years the brainwashing that produced Trump’s followers has issued forth from radios in the dead of the night as lonely truckers and other drivers travelled the highways across America. For at least one decade, probably closer to two decades impassioned talkers have whispered in the ears of lower middle class men and women, husbands and fathers the news that white people in America were about to be replaced by minorities; that soon the minority population of America would be larger than the white population. These smooth talkers did not bother to tell listeners that this did not mean any one group would outnumber white folks, that this number was an aggregate number. Pretty soon all over America people were shaking their heads in agreement, suddenly aware that these midnight voices were speaking a truth they could feel in their own guts. Yes, yes Rush Limbaugh is a righteous dude. You should listen. Marc Levine, f-ing A, that’s my man. You gotta’ hear this.

Immigrants, some of them Muslims, some of them gang members, people who can’t even speak English, who are not Christians, are taking your tax dollars, they expound to the rhythm of big tires on American highways and in garages all over the country. These immigrants get the same benefits you get like welfare, health care, even social security or social security disability. They get free housing, some are given cars, these disembodied voices exclaim each night in the hours when drivers are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel without some kind of stimulation. These radio talkers offer major stimulation; they offer anger and ‘enlightenment’ and approval of what others call inappropriate thoughts and opinions. You may need guns they say.

These immigrants are taking American jobs because they will work for nothing. Many of them are here illegally, they should not be here and yet they are given jobs and benefits just like real Americans. You are being replaced in your own nation by foreigners. These topics are popular. They come up over and over again. People can call in and these guys will sympathize with the anger their listeners express, they can prop up that anger and expand on it. The hours melt away.

They tell their listeners that they can blame it all on the Democrats. The talkers’ views are so popular that a whole TV network is cobbled together to bring these views into American homes, in order to discuss American gripes twenty-four/seven. These issues that arouse the anger of their listeners do not have to be true; they just have to call forth that righteous anger that fuels an entirely new political view, the politics of white injustice, the piling up of the abuses being heaped on real Americans, of the losses real Americans have suffered when their good jobs, their factory jobs were given to foreigners. Brains are being ‘snatched’; a generation of ‘pod’ people is being created.

Americans who worked hard all their lives were paying for deadbeats who did not have to work. Now the drumbeat of injustice played out all day and all night in living color. Democrats defend deadbeats, therefore Democrats are bad. Republicans are informing you of how you are being ripped off so Republicans are good. Glenn Beck, your old dashboard friend Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly – these guys sound smart, they write books, they are patriots, they even rewrite history for their listeners. The internet gives us The Daily Caller, and The Thinker, pseudo-Conservative (actually extreme right wing and Tea Party) sites offering “intellectual” cachet to a movement that is basically anti-intellectual.

You are paying too many taxes. (Yes we are, these people are so right.) Your tax dollars are being used to support illegal immigrants. (That’s true, listeners say, and it makes me really angry.) Our government is too big. (Also true, you guys are speaking our language.) All this nonsense about what it is politically correct to say and what it’s not OK to say. We have free speech. We get to tell it like it is. (Husbands and wives listen and watch together and they bond in righteous anger.)

This is brainwashing and it has been very effective. These are Trump’s peeps. They heard the gospel according to Talk Radio and Fox ‘News’. They are pumped, they are not going to take it anymore. They are the new Republicans who the old school Republicans are aghast to find in their party. But these people are white and they are a whole different kind of ‘woke’ and the party of racism and guns, facing decline, needs them. We’ll talk them into believing the Democrats are going to steal their guns and allow their daughters to abort their grandchildren, that strangers will slaughter them in their beds, they say. There is so much scope in this whole strategy of stoking the feelings that folks are victims of a great big plot against real Americans that those who run the GOP can make themselves wealthier and these particular Americans will think it is all part of a plan that will benefit the middle class. The politicians and pundits will laugh all the way to the bank (but not out loud please).

Our forefathers may have said that all men are created equal and that we all deserve the same things but half of them kept slaves so they didn’t really mean all people; they meant white people, people of European descent. So even when Republicans ignore or reinterpret portions of our Constitution and our laws and rules, these Americans, primed by propaganda delivered in their most vulnerable moments, feel convinced that ending our democracy/republic will turn out in their favor; isolationism will turn out in their favor; and somehow, by deportation or death, we will become an all-white English speaking nation. It won’t be pretty and our souls may not get through the entire process unscathed and we might not even still be alive when the ‘cleansed’ version of America becomes reality, but our children’s children will be all set. (Especially since climate change is not real, they are told.)

It is becoming increasingly obvious that we cannot undo these decades of brainwashing, of filling people’s minds with lies that suggest that merit is sorted out by skin color, what language you speak, and even what God you worship or how you worship God. Terrorism is scary and has given fear-mongering tactics added power to persuade Americans that they will only be safe in a homogeneous nation, while those who say they will guarantee that safety rob the middle-class of assets and place those assets in their own bloated bank accounts.

Democrats have been so successfully demonized that they realize that they will be unable to get through to at least 30% of Americans, possibly even 40% of Americans and that, given four more years in power, the damage to American values and the foundations of our nation could be devastating. What can a party do when it believes that mass propaganda is wrong? They can’t use the tactics they abhor. All they can do is speak the truth and hope it eventually gets through the fog of brainwashing many percolate in. But global chaos waits in the wings if minds remain programmed as the ‘pod’ peoples’ are.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

 

FOX and Made-up News

Yesterday I was walking on the treadmill at the Y and I was too far away from the TV that was tuned to CNN so I decided to watch FOX. I usually don’t watch FOX because it gives me a stomach ache, but I decided to see if they were still as biased towards the right as they used to be. Well it only took me about 2 minutes to see that their slant has not changed. Also I now know where all these ridiculous stories that make much ado about nothing are coming from.
First the news reader spent ten minutes discussing the cost to fly Leon Panetta from Afghanistan to California whenever he wants to visit his family. And the cost is eye-popping. There was, throughout the story, an implication that Obama cut a bad deal with Panetta when he talked him into taking over in Afghanistan. There was a long discussion about how a seat in First Class could be rigged up to work for private transportation for Leon Panetta without creating a security risk.
Next the news reader spent fifteen minutes discussing what a huge political blunder it is for Obama to appear on the Jimmy Fallon show and how he has been spending way too much time on TV. They said that Obama is playing to his comfort zone and not taking the risks he should take.
During this same treadmill experience FOX spent fifteen minutes on a story that says that, although Obama likes to compare himself to Ronald Reagan since they both took office during a recession, there is really no comparison. Their data proves that in the Reagan years the job market improved swiftly and the unemployment rate obviously fell just as quickly. Their “facts” do not mention that decades separate these two presidencies and they also just sort of ignore the whole issue of globalization with the exodus of jobs to countries outside America and the continuing weakness in the housing market,  a market which has been troubled since the collapse of the housing bubble. Reagan did not have to deal with either of these unique economic events. Nor did he encounter the partisan divide that has halted Obama’s agenda. His party did not control both houses of Congress, but members of the two parties were willing to compromise. FOX, of course, makes the same conclusions they always make. The only way out of this is to cut taxes and stop the “class warfare”. They don’t mention that they made up the term class warfare to demonize requests for increased taxes from the wealthy. They also don’t mention that the GOP actually began the class wars when the first place they went for budget cuts was to recommend cutting so-called entitlements.
Once these non-stories are created by FOX all the other news media have to treat them as real and these stories live far longer than they should while the dialogue goes back and forth between the right and the left. Fact checkers try to minimize the damages of these “created” issues, but then the story goes blithely on while the facts languish once again in limbo. FOX news is guilty of wasting lots of our time on nonsense and has even occasionally bordered on fomenting violence over what is basically semantic tricks and propaganda.
Pretty amazing to have a whole TV network dedicated 24 hours a day to criticizing the activities of the President of the United States. I’m not really sure why the Democrats cannot put together a channel that is equally critical of the GOP, but perhaps they just like to stick a bit closer to the facts and they hate to waste our time creating one media story after another out of some event that should be basically too minor to be more than a blip on our radar.