The GOP Thrives on Propaganda. It Would Help if We Stopped Spreading It.
It’s a fact that many of us get almost all of our news via the internet. It’s because the internet is invaluable when it comes to disseminating information on a minute by minute, blow by blow level, while, at the same time, it’s filled with more data, more history, more fun stuff than any other medium since time began.
There’s almost nothing we can’t unearth on the internet if we work at it long enough. That’s the good news. The bad news is that tons of what we come across isn’t vetted. What’s the truth and what’s not? While there’s always someone out there who will tell you they’re telling the truth, how do you know for sure?
How important is it that you know for sure?
I mean, what if what they tell you fits perfectly with what you believe, and all you really want is validation? You’ve got it. Now it’s your job to go out there and repeat it, because you want everyone to believe what you believe. It’s human nature to feel good about finding others who believe the things you believe. Maybe you even believed it first. Wouldn’t that be something!
But what if you’re pushing a lie and you know it? What’s the harm in that if it means you have followers and they’re looking to you to keep it going? Is there some truth in the lie? Can you justify it by pointing out possible lies someone else might be telling?
Isn’t the whole world full of liars who just want to make things better for us all? Or for some of us? Or for you and me?
How bad are lies, anyway? In 2016-2020 Donald Trump built an entire presidency on lies and look where it got him. He fought off two impeachments brought about because of his lies, and he won. He’s the only twice-impeached president in our history and he didn’t lose his job. It didn’t even hurt his reputation. Not with the people who matter to him, anyway.
Trump is still telling lies and half the country still wants to believe them. The entire Republican faction in the United States Congress and the majority of the justices on the Supreme Court want you to believe Trump’s lies over the truth.
Their propaganda tools are lies, fear, and division, and they spread it around like fresh manure, using their bullshit as fertilizer for their missionary work:
End big government! Ignore climate change! COVID is no worse than the flu! The church is a place to shelter hate—if you’re on the Right side! Women and minorities—bad! White men—good! (But only Republican white men) Workers are meant to be peons and millionaires are meant to be billionaires! And don’t get them started on Liberals and Progressives and Joe Biden…
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. We all know how they work because their propaganda works. They get the word out and their crowd loves it. Keep that frenzy going long enough and thousands of them will act on it.
Then, in our rage, we spread it, too. Look what the Republicans have done/said now! My god, what is WRONG with those people? Did you hear….? Did you see…? No? Well, look/listen to this! They can’t get away with this!
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO??
What CAN we do? We could make memes that make fun of them! We could exaggerate their faces and their bellies and their feet and their hair! We could make fun of the way they talk or the year they were born or that typo in that tweet! That’s so funny!
And for a second, we feel better. Nothing like humiliation to get to those guys we hate. Except they’re not humiliated, they’re thrilled. The shameless love the attention. It feeds their flock and justifies their attacks on us. See how terrible we are? See what we’ll sink to? Who could ever like us?
And pretty soon we buy into it. They’re right. We’re getting nowhere. We sink so low we don’t even like ourselves, yet they’re the bad guys and always will be. We’re the good guys and we have no power.
And still we’re addicted to their propaganda. In our deepest, darkest thoughts we marvel, however reluctantly, at how effective they are, using nothing but blatant lies and crazy notions about what’s best for the country, expecting people to buy that shit. And they do.
But they’re wrong! We’ve proven they’re wrong! Nothing the Republicans have ever proposed has been good for the country. Everything they’ve done has had to be undone by the Democrats. Two steps forward, one step back. If we’re lucky.
And here we are, still getting nowhere while they hold the entire country under a wicked spell that seems to be unbreakable. They’ve lost the past two big elections and they still hold the kind of power Democrats can only dream of.
If only they weren’t so good at using propaganda.
But here’s the thing: propaganda only works if it gains a foothold and becomes popular. It only works if enough people see it. So why don’t we just stop helping them get it out there?
We, of all people, should not be helping the Republicans spread their propaganda. How hard would it be to spread the truth, instead? Not as a counter to their propaganda, but as whole cloth, standing on its own?
We who are not Republicans have much to be proud of, but historically we’re terrible at bragging it up. We’ve been knocked down so often we act as if we’re ashamed of the things we do well. We’re do-gooders who don’t want spotlights shining on us. We’re nurses, doctors, teachers, scientists, clergy, laborers, service employees, writers, entertainers, students, moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers—and we care desperately about what happens to the rest of us.
But our battle cry? “Aw, shucks, I just did what anyone would do.” And then we wonder: where’s the clamor?
We work at it with all our hearts, yet we don’t seem to mind taking a back seat while the bad guys brag it up about how bad they are. As if bad is good. As if a democracy isn’t worth saving. As if we don’t deserve it.
When we know better.
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