ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

Democrats Might be Grateful

Existential Threat Galvanizes Determined and Passionate Action

Democrats seem to be up in arms.

Finally.

And, while this statement sadly reflects the current state of unrestricted gun violence in America, Democratic politicians might be grateful.

The January 6th Insurrection and the continuing massacres of children — not to mention the ongoing assault on election integrity — have catapulted the Party into making a determined and passionate stand.

Democrats are finally understanding America calls for their best.

And, their best requires passion, risk, and living on the edge. All things Democrats are known for not engaging in.

True.

Being a politician demands straddling the fence. Playing it safe. Positioning yourself so that voters of every ilk who hold disparate views might come out and vote for you.

Not offending anyone.

Still, without passion, not enough voters will make the effort.

Business as Usual

For far too long, Democrats have been content to send out overly intellectual — and therefore relatively innocuous — messages which explain and support sound and just positions.

Ho hum.

A great deal of ‘Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing’ — except largely without the passion fury might generate.

Nobody likes being lectured to.

Republicans, on the other hand, have long understood emotion galvanizes.

The quintessential oxymoron. By undermining democratic values, minority MAGA extremists threaten the system and values which make America great. Democrats are finally coming out with their own effective Blue messages. Photo by Natilyn Hicks (Natilyn Photography) on Unsplash

Propaganda — a fancy word for false information (largely emotionally based) which supports autocrats — can never be effective without the passion of existential threat and underlying rage.

Though the Grand Old Party is the minority, its unscrupulous leaders make sure members stand as a vocal and activated minority.

From historical beginnings with Roger Ailes (during Watergate) and Newt Gingrich (orchestrating opposition to the Clinton administration), Republicans have devolved into massive liars who care only about retaining power. To do so, they would destroy everything in their way — including the underpinnings of our very democracy.

They organize themselves around ‘talking points’, then consistently flood the airwaves with outrageous coordinated distraction, deflection, and destruction.

Many of them possess the finest educations this country can provide. Ted Cruz (Princeton University, Harvard Law School), Josh Hawley (Stanford University, Yale Law School), Elise Stefanik (Harvard College) — to name only a few — make a mockery of the fine institutions which have contributed foundations of knowledge they use only to undermine America.

Shame!

Republican Airwaves Serves as Propaganda Machines

Demoralized by Richard Nixon’s dismal television image during the first ever Presidential debates with John Kennedy, and undone by the televised Watergate hearings which were aired in their entirety in an experiment run by PBS, Roger Ailes dedicated himself to creating TV networks which would support Republican power at any price.

Though many believe Nixon outdebated Kennedy, Kennedy’s healthy and relaxed image catapulted him ahead in the polls and forever changed political strategy. A screenshot from the Nixon/Kennedy Presidential debates (JFK Presidential Library) = https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2010/11/15/does-television-affect-how-we-elect-presidents/

His efforts ultimately resulted in the creation of not one, but three, propaganda networks: Fox News, News Max, and One America Network. To call any of them ‘news channels’ is fundamentally to misunderstand the purpose, definition, and nature of journalism. Each of them bears uncanny resemblance to the monopolistic government channels Vladimir Putin controls in Russia, which he employs to eliminate dissent, rile up nationalism, and support only his morally and financially corrupt personal agenda.

Indeed, the autocratic playbook has been designed around inflaming the emotions of poorly educated and ill informed throngs who then blindly support dictators who rule through lies and manipulation. These autocrats serve only themselves; regularly and gladly stomping on — and even killing — the multitudes who they cajole into supporting their reigns.

Putin not only continues to massacre innocent civilians in an unprovoked war which serves only his own insane personal agenda, but has been doing exactly this over decades — the total decimation of Aleppo, Syria being the most egregious example.

Trump continues to push ‘The Big Lie’ while his misguided sycophants work to destroy the unwieldy safeguards which protect the integrity of America’s election processes. The Founding Fathers could not possibly have envisioned a landscape poisoned by unrestricted ‘social media’ outlets which amplify disinformation and addictive content over human values. Nor could they design a system which could withstand an intentional, determined assault by demagogically deluded citizens who possess no understanding of the havoc they wreak.

Trump celebrates audacity by taking pride in self-proclaimed blanket impunity, which he imagines would permit him even to shoot a person on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight.

I wonder if his puerile fantasy includes using an AR-15 to do so.

The Donald expresses no remorse over having infected with Covid the ‘losers’ who supported him by attending massive pandemic MAGA rallies. Nor does he sport compassion for police officers and marauding hooligans alike who lost their lives in the violence he fomented. A sociopathic narcissist, as all dictators eventually turn out to be, he gleefully watched and re-watched footage of the aforementioned throngs doing his bidding — even as they inflicted grave damage on the Capitol, and our institutions therein.

It’s no wonder that Trump idolizes and defers to Putin. Or, that he reveres Kim Jung-un, North Korea’s little boy dictator.

Republicans have morphed into a party without ethics for two main reasons: Existential Threat and Lack of Consequences.

Parties, and the People who Comprise them, Do Absolutely Anything to Survive

Autocrats focus only on remaining on top and in command. And, in a never ending quest to distill their power, feel no compunction doing whatever they can get away with. In order to advance their immoral cause, they blanket the media with outrageous lies and incite emotions of grievance and threat. As a result, they become increasingly out of touch — causing them to resort to ever more lies and incitement.

Unchecked and isolated, leaders can become desperate and deranged.

The Statue of Lady Justice blindfolded and holding scales, always carries a sword.
Blindfolded Lady Justice always carries a sword. Democrats are finally understanding the necessity of defending American values with determination and passion. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

This is how emotional abuse on a personal and familial level often leads to neurosis, mental health issues, and the kind of rampant gun violence currently gripping America. More germane here, how heads of state and political actors turn immoral and cruel.

Being increasingly in the minority, and holding views which the majority of Americans disagree with, Republicans have long understood the existential threat they face.

And, that ‘fair fighting’ Democrats, constrained by the American system and a context of supporting their views through honor, reason, and decency, have not been willing or able to impose consequences.

And so, Republicans have taken a ‘no holds barred’ approach.

After all, why not?

There’s nothing like the threat of extinction to elicit passion and determination. Or, to dissolve decency.

Democrats have trusted the American process. Though many are not exactly angels, they have been content mostly to play fair. They have not galvanized themselves to coordinate and present a unified and fortified, or ‘media effective’, front.

Nor, have they felt urgency which calls for their best.

Only now have Democrats begun to claim the awareness that the American system — our way of life itself — faces the very real possibility of not surviving. And that, concerned our children may not grow up in a free and fair America (that is if they escape the exploding bullets of AR-15’s and have the chance to grow up at all), they must serve as warriors who hold the line and heroes who reverse the decimation of values we hold dear.

Hence, the January 6th Select Committee. Passionate appeals for common sense gun safety. Emotional support for a woman’s right to choose. And, the contribution of massive amounts of military equipment to support Ukraine.

Combined with attention to appealing to emotion, coordinating the message, and shaping expression with media savvy.

Take Away

Societies shift in response to emotion channeled through the mandate for ethical human co-existence.

Democrats might be grateful that as a result of the multiple existential threats facing our country that, even kicking and screaming, they are being impelled to coordinate and fight from the bottom of their souls coming from their best.

Republicans have become so self serving, so out of control, and so ‘anti-humanity’, there is no alternative. The sad reality is that only when survival is in question and there is no other choice, do people fight with the necessary passion and determination to win.

Democrats might be grateful.

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