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Apology, _________ Acceptance, the missing word is another A word... Atonement
When can we, fully accept the MAGA crowd back into our families, friends and as citizens?
Today’s topic is a touchy one to be sure. Still, this is a bridge that we must eventually cross as a nation, if American democracy is to survive. It will take courage on both sides of the equation, not more, “kicking the can down the road” like we did after the Civil War in the 1860s. Offering and having an apology accepted, requires more courage on both sides than most Americans are willing to engage in, while MAGA still rages. Atonement, not apologies is where the real healing begins. Although the real healing requires individuals, not just organizations to work through the emotional chasm our democracy is threatened by. Our media surely hasn’t shown the courage to enable this healing either. As I noted above, it starts only when we make it personal.
Much of what I say here today, will be controversial and trigger many. Someone though, must say these things out loud. As the title of TAT states, this publication is about truth, regarding our most serious national security threats. Immoral influence by professional MAGA/ Russian/ Oligarchical influencers and those whom they have, “conditioned,” is in my professional opinion, the single most dangerous threat to American and global democracy in my lifetime.
Background and the obstacles we’re up against:
Obstacle #1 Most of the US right wing has been conditioned by professional influencers, who now exercise some level of conditioned control, over most Republicans.
The MAGA crowd that now controls the current version of the Republican Party, has been professionally influenced for decades, or in psychological terms, “conditioned” much like “Pavlov’s dog.” In lay terms, it’s how his dog experiment clearly demonstrated the connection between conditioning a dog to behave predicably, after being exposed to an act or event. This is discussed in simple terms in the Psychologist World.com article with the title below.
How Pavlov's experiments with dogs demonstrated that our behavior can be changed using conditioning.
Marketers or what most know as advertising professionals, have done the same for decades in order to boost sales, block interest in competing products etc. Yes, and before anyone begins screaming at their screen that I’m somehow “biased” against the right, the left attempts this as well, but are largely failures at it. This is a long story and at this point in time, the US left is NOT an acute, democracy-destroying threat. One thing that Americans should appreciate at this phase of our national history, is that the left, carefully isolates and hence renders their more extreme elements impotent.
I use FOX News, a true propaganda show from its inception, to demonstrate my point regarding a “conditioned audience.” Pew research, a remarkable organization, in the April 2020 report here at the embedded link, shows how effective FOX conditioning has worked in the past, 27 years.
FOX has a language of its own, and one calculated to present regular viewers with a narrative that only they understand and more insidiously, trigger viewers to loyally believe and defend. Their bizarre, oligarch enabling, anti-American principles, both murdered a few hundred thousand Americans with their COVID mis/ disinformation and also inspired and maintained support for an armed insurrection against our democracy. Their recent, near billion-dollar lost lawsuit over overt dishonesty about Dominion voting machines, clearly demonstrated the willful and repetitive dishonesty about their programming. This is Narrative Warfare against Americans who are not conditioned extremist ideologues and RWE/ right-wing extremists.
To make matters worse, not only has FOX overtly attacked and undermined American Democracy but has during the Trump era, regularly and loudly parroted Russian/Putin talking points. While that all of this is a threat to our nation, it has also been a Nixon era plan to put the GOP in a position of power via media. Couple this with the GOP dedicating itself to the Southern Strategy during the Goldwater and Nixon campaign for president in 1960s and you can see the sheer racism of what the Party has become. With FOX cheerleading the resurrection and modernizing of the Southern Strategy, a version of the Conferacy’s ideology during the Civil War, it’s no secret how that today’s GOP has become the modern, ideological brother of the oligarchical, racist, Christian Nationalists, of MAGA.
Obstacle #2 Minority party bullies, hobbling Congress and SCOTUS
Exposés have been written countless times, detailing the severe deviation from their oaths of office, that allowed these three to destroy some of the most important pillars of our founding principles and Constitution. The McConnell court is the best court, money can buy and just as dishonest. Plenty of esteemed, knowledgeable writers, think tanks and scholars have written extensively on this topic, and I will post the following articles rather than impose my lay, legal scholarship on readers.
First, the failure of Trump and McConnell’s SCOTUS to uphold established, moral precedence and their skewering of American founding principles.
I highly recommend opening this link, if for no other reason than to see the exhaustive list of American Law School professors challenging Mitch McConnell’s disgraceful, un-American leadership of the Senate regarding Supreme Court nominees.
Legislation by the GOP during the Trump era has been as un-American as have the culture wars imposed on America by the Confederacy 2.0, a.k.a. the Republican, not Conservative party.
Please see this link for analysis by REUTERS which looks at six policy points:
With this background behind us, I will sum this piece up from where we started; apologies, atonement and accepting apologies from the MAGA crowd.
Apologies are worthless unless we can believe those offering them. This is why that it is by atonement alone, that we can begin to rebuild the trust between estranged family, friends, communities etc., that have succumbed to the “conditioning” by immoral, un-American, MAGA professional influencers. To be perfectly and uncomfortably blunt, they are acting like proverbial lemmings attempting to drag our democracy off the cliff along with themselves.
This critical juncture in American History is an excellent example of the dangers of losing at NW/ Narrative Warfare, the cutting-edge specialty, of a Think/ Do Tank where I have the high honor of serving as the VP.
To make NW as simple as possible, it is wielding predictable influence, based on expert knowledge of a person’s, organization’s, nation’s identity. In order to understand that identity well enough to predictably influence it, requires deep, expert knowledge, based on the principles of Narrative Scholarship. This is unfamiliar territory to most, including those who professionally do so in support of national security. FOX certainly didn’t know how… so they did the next best thing; They built their audience’s controllable identity, with 27 years of conditioning.
With a murder spree over COVID and an armed insurrection under their belt, the MAGA crowd, are now even more empowered and controllable by the authoritarian, oligarch supporting thugs at FOX, and worse. Russia, like their Soviet predecessor, contributed greatly to what FOX achieved and in fact, was a credible sized piece of the assault on American values that swayed the 2016 election to Trump. Now, like the Nazi’s in the years prior to WW II, the GOP did exactly what Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and the MAGA controlled GOP Congressmen do, change the law to make their authoritarian oligarchy “legal.” Just because something is legal, like exporting Jews and others to concentration camps during WW II, and doesn’t make it right or moral.
Our founding principles are what make up our true American identity. Most Americans still believe in those principles. Conditioned audiences who are under the spell of foreign and domestic extremist ideology, no longer control their own actions completely. It is the conspiracy theory, alternate reality of the MAGA ideology that they are now powerless to resist. This is why, they are the most serious threat to US national security and American democracy. They are under the spell of evil with subtitles like, authoritarianism, racism, cruel exploitation of those who resist their vicious ideological narratives.
Let’s not say that this isn’t true and that, “it can’t happen here.” It already has as demonstrated by the Confederacy, the communist and far-right millions openly demonstrating on American soil in the years prior to WW II, and which also included the “America First” movement. Trump’s father was not averse white supremacy and related beliefs. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Once identities are established in human beings, the only way to displace or convert them is via Narrative Warfare. This though is something that Americans in the national security community don’t understand. They are waiting on an exclusive, technology-based solution via AI. This will never happen and for the obvious reason, at the moment computers do not understand how humans, “make meaning.” Fortunately, as individuals, we all possess the knowledge of our family member’s and friends’ identities. Why??? Because we know them so closely.
With expertise, it is possible to undo what FOX, Russia and American oligarchs have wielded against the American people. It will take time though and I mean a generation, if we begin now. The National Security community refuses so again, it’s up to us as true patriots to meet this threat. In many ways, we are the only one who can. Government must lead and primarily, it is the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security who must lead with narration, education, sustained engagement with our fellow citizens… if they only would.
Finally, back to where we started; it is us, individual citizens who must engage our lost sheep carefully, in order to reintegrate them back into the fold of true American patriots, not the fake patriotism of today’s GOP. Maybe, just maybe by understanding that they have been “duped” by FOX, Russia and worse, they can understand how much damage they’ve done in the Trump era. Blindly trusting them again will be the hardest part and no one should. This is where atonement comes in. They MUST, begin taking the physical steps to demonstrate that they are slowly backing away from their conspiratorial, un-American ideology. They must make as much an effort to reintegrate back into the fold as we do in trying to give them the room. This will take a very long time, even with the best of support.
Finally, the old saying about carrots and sticks holds true. Being unwilling to engage them on ideological topics is a must. Lies can’t travel without humans telling them. Shut down their microphones and avoid times when they are impassioned about their ideology.
Most of all, if and when they begin to open up with true remorse, let them and this is where the carrots come in. There must be the reward of acceptance, albeit slowly acquired that shows them that you are willing. It’s the only way we will do what the nation failed at, in 1865. Lincoln had a much better plan, post-civil war, to reintegrate the South back into the nation as a whole. John Wilkes Boothe took him and his strategy, the 10% strategy away from the nation then, which still is hurting us today. It’s time for a “do-over” on ending the Confederacy, because right now, American democracy is losing round two, to the extremist ideology of the war. Let’s get it right this time.
My very best for your week,