Saturday, August 5, 2023

Divide and Conquer - the Oldest Game in the Book!

If you can get minorities to hate each other, then they will never form a majority.

2024 is coming early, and the strategy of the GOP to retake the White House and Congress (they already have the courts for the next 20-30 years) is plainly apparent.  And it is the same old stuff, just polished up and improved.  Gerrymandering, voter suppression, disinformation, conspiracy theories, rumors, October surprises, outright fraud, third-party candidates, sound-alike candidates, and even impostor candidates (as recently happened in North Carolina, where a Republican ran as a "pro-choice" Democrat and won - and promptly switched parties!).  The list is endless and they have a well-oiled and well-financed machine to do it with.

And the Internet - and social media.  And now AI and deep fakes.  You are about to be hit with a firehose of shit in the next 14 months and there ain't much you can do about it.  And it is abundently clear that these tactics will work, to some extent.  People - ordinary people - can have their brains "reprogrammed" by the Internet to become "2A" gun nuts, brides of Isis, Qanon believers, anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, MAGA Trumpers or whatever far-out political, social, or historical beliefs you want them to believe in.  And yes, on the left, there are people who have programmed their brains via social media to think that Bernie Sanders would make a good President and that Karl Marx had the right idea.  They too, are being influenced, but not by the left, but by dark money from the right.  Third party candidates are always spoilers and "disgruntled" Bernie Bros switched their allegiance to Trump simply because the Internet told them to.

The latest gag - or should I say, one of the oldest gags - is "divide and conquer" which probably dates back to Sun Tsu and The Art of War.  If you can get your opponent to fight himself, you can win, even if you have a smaller army.

So the name of the game is to get various racial minorities to hate each other.  There has been a long-standing feud between Hispanics and Blacks, going back decades.  Why, I do not know.  Funny thing, but on those government forms, they ask if you are "white" or not, and if so, whether you are "white-Hispanic" or "white-other."  Maybe demographic specialists recognize Hispanics as Caucasians, but in the Country Club, they are only allowed in the servant's entrance.  That is reality, whether people like to hear it or not.  Hispanics have more in common with Blacks than they would like to think, but I guess this is an example of "pick me!" thinking - that somehow the white majority ("White-other") will let them into their little group - which they will, until they are done with them.  Tokens are meant to be spent.

It would be hilarious if not for the fact it is sad and scary that some Hispanics are Republicans and even Trump supporters - supporting the same party and President who is cruelly treating Hispanic migrants at the border, putting children in cages and concertina wire across the river.  And make no mistake about it, they are quite up-front about their racism here.  Trump himself opined that Mexicans were all rapists and gang members, although he supposed there were a few "good ones" out there ("pick me!").

Compounding this problem is religion.  Many Hispanics are devout Catholics, although some, when coming to America, join conservative protestant "Inglesias" which has given the Catholic church fits.  Many Blacks attend conservative Baptist churches.  In all three cases, the preacher or priest rails from the pulpit against abortion, gays, trans people, and Democrats in general.  It is a powerful message.

A more recent trope has been to pit Blacks against Jews. This has been around for decades, I think starting with the Nation of Islam, but it really accelerated about two elections ago.  The narrative the GOP is selling (and let's be real here, we know where these narratives are coming from, just as we know that a random post online promoting a product, comes from the maker of that product!) is that the slave trade was almost exclusively Jewish in nature and that Jews dominated the trade.

It is basically false.  People of all races and religions and nationalities profited from the slave trade, beginning with black Africans who captured people of other tribes and sold them to white slavers.  People in Britain  and Holland - among other countries - were involved in the slave trade as well.  To their credit, the British finally abolished slave trading in their country and even patrolled the coast of Africa to intercept slavers trying to transport slaves.

Of course, in our country, there were plenty of people - North and South - who profited from the slave trade or owned slaves themselves.  And yes, some of them were Jewish, but the vast majority were protestant Christians, such as my own ancestors.  So the idea that "Jews ran the slave trade" is just bullshit and designed to divide Blacks from Jews and get them to vote Republican.

And Republicans will chime in with, "And yea, our party was the one that freed the slaves!" as if the GOP of today was the same party of 1865.  Over the years, and culminating in the election of 1968, the parties switched sides.  George Wallace ran as a Democrat back then.  Today, he would have been a Republican - and Abe Lincoln a Democrat.  It is like the political parties in some countries which call themselves "Democrat" or "Labor" or "Liberal" but are anything but.   Parties change over time, and their policies can do a 180 degree turn, given enough time.

The above tweet from Jamie Foxx (that real brain trust!) is a case in point - someone "got" to him and convinced him that Jews are the enemy of blacks, even though many "freedom riders" were Jewish and some even gave their lives to the cause of Civil Rights.   And for the record, it was the Romans who crucified Jesus, not "the Jews" and for chrissake (pun intended) that was 2,000 years ago!  Let it rest, willya?

But the folks behind this sort of stuff have carefully planned this out, and they know how to use Social Media, rumors, the dark web, and a host of lies, to sell people the idea that their friends are enemies and enemies are friends.  Ignorance is strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery.   Orwell was off by four decades!

There has also been a steady drumbeat of hate aimed at Asians and marketed to Blacks for some reason, although this may be a "misfire" of the machine.  There have been a number of cowardly attacks against Asians, usually women or the elderly, often by Blacks, particularly homeless men.  Like I said, this could be a misfire, as maybe these homeless are picking up the message that is supposed to be subliminal and then acting on it.

Recent cases about discrimination drive home the issue.  Harvard turns away qualified Asian candidates so as to advance "affirmative action."  It was a policy that had serious issues - do qualified candidates for admission have to pay for the discrimination and racism of their ancestors - or even just unrelated people who lived before their time?  Maybe it was time for affirmative action to go away, but you can see how the GOP will sell this to Blacks - those Asians are takken yur jubs!

Of course, anti-Asian violence helps turn Asians away from Blacks - and the narrative that Democrats are "soft on crime" helps steer them toward the GOP.  Again, religion plays a role, as many Asians attend Baptist or Catholic churches, and again, they are reminded from the pulpit the "correct" party to vote for.

So we have Hispanics fighting Blacks, Blacks fighting Asians, and so on and so forth.  The gay thing is an interesting issue, as it hits upon cultural sensitivities of several ethnic groups.  I have known a number of Black gays and they tell me the same story - there is this expectation of uber-masculinity among blacks, and homosexuality is violently suppressed.  The only exception, and it is a minor one, are outrageously effeminate black gays who are largely left alone.  This has given rise to the "down-low" phenomenon, where some Blacks will have gay sex, but immediately deny it afterwords.  Guilt is a powerful driving force.   Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone - but usually it is the worst of sinners throwing the biggest rocks.

Like I said, this is just one strategy they are using to try to win in 2024.  They will use a plethora of others.  Limiting or eliminating early voting will insure that working-class people will have a harder time of voting.  Closing voting locations in poor neighborhoods leads to confusion, mis-cast ballots, and long lines that discourage voting.  You can't even hand out bottled water to voters waiting in line.  And of course, absentee votes will be challenged as "fraudulent" unless, of course, they are overseas absentee votes from military bases, which tend to trend Republican.  Gotta count those!

What can be done to stop this?  I am not sure anything.  There are a lot of dumb people in the world who let themselves be lead by the nose.  And when you sell them externalizing and convenient thinking, not only can you control their actions, you can turn them into a murderous mob. And that is where we are heading, right now, as more and more young Americans, who were born 50 years after World War II, are openly proclaiming that "Hitler wasn't so bad" and that "The Holocaust never happened!"

Funny thing, though, if the Confederacy was so great and the "Thousand Year Reich" was so hot, why were both defeated in a matter of a few years?  Losers!

And maybe therein lies a nugget of hope.  Because as Lincoln said, "You can't fool all the people all the time!"  But in the interim, you can fool a whole lot of them, for quite some time, and as a result, a lot of people suffer and die as a result.

The GOP and its Russian allies will continue to flood our feeds and our inboxes with propaganda.  The latest gag is that the Russian ship that was severely damaged by a Ukrainian sea drone was actually a civilian ferry!  Sounds ridiculous, but if you can get even a few people to believe it (and they desperately want to believe it) you've won, at little expense to you.  In war, truth is the first casualty.

So expect this shitshow (quite literally) to get worse and worse.  Deep Fake videos of Biden counting cash with his son Hunter will no doubt appear, and most people will think there is some "there" there, as they have been harping on this "laptop" (aren't those dirty or something?) for eight years now.  Funny thing, when their "whistleblowers" can be found at all, and asked to testify under oath, it turns out they have nothing really to say, other than innuendo and speculation.

There is an old saying in the law:  If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.  If the law is on your side, pound on the law.  If neither the law or facts are on your side, pound on the table.   There is a lot of table-pounding going on right now, and some folks think that is the same thing as real facts or real law.

It would all be just silly poltics, but this time around, there are people calling for violence and even death - slitting the throats of their enemies (as DeSantis wants to do) or "coming after" people who testify against them (as Trump has threatened to do).  Meanwhile, others on the Right are unashamedly calling for the death of gays, trans, and Jews.

Where the heck is this going to lead?

UPDATE: a day later, Jamie Foxx now claims that when he said "They killed Jesus" he meant "false friends." I'm sorry but I'm not buying this late, lame excuse. We all know the old trope when people start talking about how "They" killed Jesus.

You don't need a Donald Trump dog whistle secret decoder ring to figure this one out.  Maybe Mr. Foxx is having issues - reportedly he had a stroke recently, which would explain much.  He may be befuddled or perhaps influenced by bad people hanging around him.