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Wed Jan 10, 2018, 05:42 PM

I find the following trends worrisome in American politics:

Problem: Making politics about the politician, and not about their ideals.

How many Trump supporters actually know where he stands on issues? Honestly, half the time, I’m not even sure Donald Trump knows where Donald Trump stands on the issues. They don’t seem to care. It’s all about The Donald.

I’m more worried about the potential future candidates our “new normal” is breeding, vs. the one we’re stuck with now. Trump has shown us that style wins over substance now, and telling people what they want to hear is extremely effective. Also effective is creating groups of “others” to rail against and declare as “the enemy.” The genie is out of the bottle, and the bell is rung. Trump may not last the full 4 years, but the terrifying aftermath he is going to leave in his wake will not go away overnight. Trump’s election created an open wound in the American psyche and culture.

History shows us the devastating effects of following cults of personality. Peoples’ minds can be warped to justify anything. We see it happening now - just to less of a degree. Like a cult leader, a President treated in such a way has a monopoly on the truth amongst his followers. This is more terrifying than any weapon - you have millions of acolytes willing to do your bidding, no matter how vile the task is.

Problem: Facebook as a news source

People are foolishly turning to Facebook as a real news source these days. This leads to some pretty ridiculous ideas making the rounds. Furthermore, readers refuse to do the extra step of verifying the news that they read. They simply take it at face value. This can easily be exploited.

Russia noticed this broken element in American society and swarmed it, much like a virus attacking its host. Russia did not make us this way - we were like that before, and they saw an opportunity. We have not improved at all - we are still open for attack. Don’t kid yourselves and think that this is a solely right wing phenomenon either. That leaves your mind open to be preyed upon, and chips away at your intellectual autonomy. EVERY source deserves scrutiny. If a source cannot be scrutinized, then what good is it?

Problem: Childish in-fighting and tribalism

Everyone here has heard the phrase, “divide and conquer.” The problem is, the rifts in our society continue to grow. Democrat vs. Republican, Rich vs. Poor, White vs. Non-White, Male vs. Female - Every rift in America is an open wound subject to festering. When we go to such extremes as wanting to actually fight each other, we become weakened. This gifts unsavory characters like Putin the opportunity he has waited decades for. They’re constantly testing our weaknesses, and are waiting to strike. We cannot take our safety and prominence for granted.

Tribalism also produces perpetual gridlock in our government. When the possibility of the slightest compromise becomes an impossibility, governing becomes impossible. The fact that any form of compromise is viewed as capitulation is a slow poison tearing away at the fabric of American government.

What can we do about it?

You’re never going to stop Russian interference in our elections. Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or a liar. The problem is not with Russia - espionage and disinformation campaigns are millennia old tactics of soft warfare.

The strength of America comes from its booming middle class and unified spirit. “Unity” does not mean agreement - it is simply the idea that we are all Americans, and that we must not give into nativist rhetoric and outside interference. We must get along, no matter how much we disagree. We must shun racist, sexist, bigoted ideology, and the smooth-talking con artists who constantly think of ways to capture our minds. We must recognize that our society is only as good as its poorist citizens - History shows us that societies cannot survive when wealth is in the hands of a few. The middle class is our nation’s most vital organ.

That is why we are open to attack. Through unity and progressivism, we will become hardened to attacks from the outside. Knowledge is literally power.

Thanks for reading.

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Reply I find the following trends worrisome in American politics: (Original post)
Oneironaut Jan 2018 OP
BigmanPigman Jan 2018 #1
dewsgirl Jan 2018 #2

Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 05:48 PM

1. Well said.

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Response to Oneironaut (Original post)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 05:57 PM

2. K and R

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