Certain radio and teevee commentators can be expected to practice the dark arts of scapegoating, finger pointing and not taking responsibility for the state of the nation’s and earth’s politico -economic ill state of existence. A rather callous share of elected officials and those who strive for elected officialdom are equally guilty of shifty talk and grandstanding, too.
Alarmingly, many of the above mentioned persons have adopted the credo that was instigated in 1930s European power struggle between Allied and Axis forces. That is if a lie is told often and frequently, the people will soon believe it as the truth. Even more alarming is when the distributers of the falsehoods start to believe their own propaganda.
It is well known that when a person or group of people are demonized, scapegoated and blamed for whatever inauspicious and perceived problems of a nation, the scapegoated individuals and population are dehumanized. This is the first step towards denial of the rights of citizenship and sometimes the denial of life itself to the targeted peoples.
All a person needs to do is take a casual glimpse at history to see the truth of this. Think of aboriginal peoples everywhere. Be they the original occupants of Africa, Australia or the Americas as prime examples. Various religious and ethnic minorities have been targets of one another for centuries. The many anti-jewish pogroms of European and Islamic history. The anti-pagan slaughters as the aim and result of European conquests against indiginous European culture are examples.
We also have this practice continuing with the demonization of all people of Muslim faith. Another perennial favorite of rabble rousers is the targeting of sexual minorities, the LGBTQ community.
Lately another favorite technique is being resurrected. That is the pitting of working class people against each other. It’s a nearly perfect strategy. The derision and demonization of the unemployed sector by those in positions of power. The hope is that the working people who still have jobs and, importantly, pay their taxes, will come to resent their peers who have lost their jobs.
This factor is easy to see because of the need to deflect attention from the fact that the upper one-percent of the wealthiest folks are not paying their share of taxes. The old reliable divide and conquer strategy.
This sort of talk and behavior can only continue as long as the demonized, scapegoats are not thought of as people in the same sense as everybody else. The populace then adopts a mindset that “those” people don’t deserve equal treatment. Thus initiating a downward spiral.
These scenarios can only be successful when humanity’s innate insensitivity is exploited. The base impulses of greed, selfishness and tribalism are triggered. Of these, impulses, insensitivity, in the forms of a lack of empathy and sympathy, are necessary. A sense of pious, righteous indignation sprinkled with self-gratifying pity of “those” people is a sure recipe for injustice, indifference and hate.
I think of an anecdotal question asked by a junk bond trader on Wall Street at the depths of the financial sector crisis in 2008. He asked, “Well, when the crisis is over, everything will be back to normal, just like before, right?” The answer, of course, is “no”. Those people who lost their homes, health, pensions, retirement income and their jobs will not have “normal” just like before.
The only way the people who violated decent standards of ethics and the laws can get any peace and rest is to practice insensitivity. Empathy for the people who initially created wealth and prosperity, the workers of America, is endangered.
Representative Blake Farenthold of Texas discussed the issue with a handful of 24-people. During which he compared unemployed Americans to alcoholics and drug addicts. Farenthold’s attitudes not only lack a factual basis, but they are offensive and insensitive.
Personally, because I do not have a regular job I could be offended by the attitude. I’m not. I’m simply saddened by such crass, blatant scapegoating and demonizing. I hope that the American public is better than that. This is not a time of choosing sides. This is a time of working together. A time to be sensitive to the plight of each other during these difficult economic times.
The Blue Jay of Happiness says, “Let’s pull together”.