It has been one year, 3 months, and 13 days since Donald Trump was elected president. I shared very few posts about the matter and frankly have felt less compelled to write about much about education either since so many have said so much already. Most of what I read seems more like Truth or Consequences than truth or fake news. At any rate, I have just been disgusted at most of what I see on Face Book or Twitter even by some of those with whom I agree.
Posts are tagged, reposted, shared, liked, and spread like wildfire without any verification. Lies and, yes, fake news is spread by both sides…much to my chagrin. I have hoped that those who agree with me would not do that. I must admit even I have gotten caught up in the frenzy and passed along something that was a concoction. Of course, I have no idea whether the “concoctor” was a well-meaning person who didn’t get their facts straight or a Russian Bot. Either way it both saddens and horrifies me that our society has been duped by the social media hype and technology that now runs amuck and threatens the very fabric of our society.
Pick an issue. Guns? School shootings? Mass shootings? Immigration? Dark Money in politics? Tax cuts for whom? Gerrymandering? Presidential behavior? Congressional obstructionism by both sides? Race? Education? Russia, Russia, Russia? The list goes on.
And with each issue, any post or comment, among friends or foe, is likely to bring forth a slew of comments, many times without the commenter actually reading the entire post. Some of the comments are reasonable, but most…again from either side… seem to be reactionary with various degrees of provocation of anger.
Of course, we now know, thanks to the Mueller Investigation, that the Russians have infiltrated our social media by easily creating fake news through fake or stolen identities.
Trump was right. The Russians are laughing at us.
We are so easily led, like rats were led by the Pied Piper, to our demise. In fact, we are as easily led as Soviet citizens were during the Soviet regime. Advertisers have known that since Mad Men days. Corporations have led us through the nose for generations. The NRA has made a science of this. Oh yeah, Zuckerberg knows that too. So does Gates and all the other Silicon Valley manipulators. Of course the Russians are laughing. The only ones who haven’t seen how lemming like we are, are us.
Speaking of reeducation, who would have thought 25 years ago that corporate influence over public schools would become a “liberal rage? This liberal rages against that. Once upon a time we fought the military industrial government complex…now most “liberals in government seek an education-industrial-government sponsored by the likes of Bill Gates and hedge funders and anyone who donates big bucks to their political campaigns. I am aghast.
For years spoon fed, money soaked political leaders have ignored far too many of our citizens who cannot literally contribute to their power and authority. African Americans and Latinos have known this. The poor have known this. And over the past several years, especially after the recession of 2009, more and more working and middle class white Americans have noticed it. So, when, in 2016, many felt that the only answers to their worries and anxieties would be provided by Bernie Sanders on one end of the spectrum, and Donald Trump, on whatever end of the spectrum he actually is and not the mainstream Democratic or Republican candidates…. well, here we are!
I taught history for almost 4 decades. One thing a student of history knows is that it repeats itself…not exactly…but that certain trends and counter trends appear and reappear over time. We have had this divisiveness many times. It appeared during the Colonial, Revolutionary, Federal, Anti-bellum, Civil War, Reconstruction, Industrial, Progressive, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, pre-WW 2, post-WW 2, Civil Rights, and especially Vietnam and Watergate eras.
Should I go on? Iraq War 1? Iraq War 2? Afghanistan? Electing an African American president?
I will end this rant with this. We wonder why @ 40% of Americans still support President Trump? Many of his followers either ignore, or don’t believe, that the Russian meddling in our elections happened…whether or not President Trump and his people were duped, colluded, or covered up. It reminds me of how the lyrics of one of my favorite songs bothers me. I love Lynyrd Skynyrd’s great guitar licks in Free Bird and Sweet Home Alabama, but when a lyric says,
“In Birmingham they love the Gov’nor, boo-hoo-hoo
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you, tell the truth…”
I have a rather negative reaction. That 1974 song reminds me that we have been this divided before.
That Governor? George Wallace! Best remembered for his segregationist policies, he was the guy who stood in front of the University of Alabama doors to block African Americans and in an inaugural address said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. And oh yeah…He was running for President in 1972 until he was shot.
Speaking of 1972, President Nixon supporting Alabamans, Hard Hats, and the Silent Majority felt that way. To many then, Watergate was a liberal plot. Nixon was being railroaded. It was all “fake news”.
Sound familiar? Enough Already. Can we get past this? Can I? The optimist in me says yes and I keep trying to help others do the same. Then I get frustrated and yet I try again. I already know that for some reason this will anger some. I do hope though, that they read the last paragraph.
But if we, as a society don’t start to listen to each other, read various points of view, understand the difference between opinion and fact, then actually VOTE for what benefits Americans from all walks of life, not just the rich and famous… my optimism will die out like a candle…slowly flickering in the darkness of eternity.