Digital Activism, in support of American values, not a political party
Truth, justice and the American way
Recently, an established national security professional, whose opinion I value, called me “activist,” regarding my online, calling out, of those who post, immoral and un-American conspiracy theories. Although her intent wasn’t exactly complimentary, she was right, exactly right to be precise. Yes, I am an advocate of truth in support problem-solving, especially in regard to national security. The badge of activism, on this topic, is a badge I wear proudly.
Let’s take a look at what I’m talking about. Influence in regard to national security is my core specialty and is centric to my other expertise in national security. I have wielded such expertise, offensively and defensively, on and off of battlefields for a very long time, and in support of our national security objectives. Let’s just say that I recognize and have professional expertise to know who is doing the influencing and for what reasons. I also know the tactics, the narratives and other acts/ words that support influence.
My oath is to the nation, and I have the freedom to act exclusively on that oath, because I don’t give a damn about anyone’s political identity. This also includes the ideology of our global adversaries. I have but one focus; to act in support of the national defense of our nation, founded on and in pursuit of the moral standards, imparted by our founders. You might say that US values are my ideology. Without a national value system that is unified, respected and internalized by her citizens, regardless of politics, religion, ethnicity etc., nation’s fail. An internalized value system based on morality, literally defines the foundation of national resilience.
Back to the activism. It has now become relatively common for me to speak up, on a social media platform when people or movements post wild, ideological propaganda, including the now prevalent conspiracy theories serving as the foundational ideology, of a once-proud, American political party. While much of my so-called activism is based on sustaining our national values, unaltered, there is also the hardcore requirement to employ the midwestern common-sense, that I was raised on.
Here's where common-sense comes into play: a farmer, like many in both sides of my family, cannot grow crops and feed their families without common sense. You can’t just say, “it rained” when it didn’t. Crops won’t grow without water. You can’t just say that you fed your livestock and expect them to survive and grow. Likewise, during my first, long career as a custom builder, I couldn’t just tell my clients that I built them a house, I had to show them, or I wouldn’t get paid. These are just some basic common-sense rules of life that everyone should accept and understand. Heck, wouldn’t we all love to say there were millions in our checking account and have it be true? Life is a long lesson in reality, made harder for those who ignore it.
Yet, when it comes to politics in the current phase our nation is in, rejecting common-sense means that Americans vote against their own best interests and support anti-American values. Just because someone with the support of professional, sometimes foreign adversarial influencers, tell them that there are a new set of national values doesn’t mean that they should listen and succumb to what it called, malign influence. This is precisely how terrorists radicalize recruits. They make them believe an alternate reality that only supports the powerful leaders of cults, extremist movements, populist/ nationalist leaders, etc.
Traditionally, leaders have spoken up in the past and have headed off, catastrophic outcomes, with the exception of the US civil war, where ideology, often religious and on both sides of the slavery issue prevented, reason from overcoming the threat. Now, in the Trump era here in the US and abroad, there is a global threat from far-right ideology whose fingerprints exist in a variety of forms. For example, Brazil’s far-right attempted coup to help restore far-right, Bolsonaro to the presidency, was and still is, remarkably the same as Trump’s Jan 6th coup attempt here. Yes, foreign influencers are working globally to replace the current system with authoritarian governments that steal everyone’s rights, especially human rights.
Using the US as an example, both major parties have divided America into separate ideologies for their own quest for power. The current Republican party is led and dominated by the MAGA movement that has as its ideology, a complicated system of far-right, anti-American conspiracy theories, rather than what most used to see as conservatism. Although most falsely assume that the Republican party is conservatism. They are in no way equal. Believing that the current party will achieve any result that comes close to “principled conservatism” is the political equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny. This is no way let’s the Democrats off the hook for some of their beliefs. The difference is, the left has marginalized the small amount of fringe believers while on the other side of the aisle, the fringe controls everything.
Someone must speak up and I have taken it upon myself to be part of the voice of truth and integrity. No current Republican will hear anything that someone not as equally extreme, has to say. Republicans have no leaders willing to stand up for integrity in Congress. No one criticizes the “big lie” and nearly every single Republican in the House of Representatives, either endorses the big lie or refuses to comment. They still deny that Russia put Trump in the White House. They still have a far-right legislative agenda that has nothing to do with American values. Heck, here in Texas, the GOP includes these conspiracy theories as part of their actual party platform, along with anti-constitutional agenda items like putting religion into public schools.
I and others cannot be the only ones speaking up. It requires all Americans who have integrity to seek and support truth. Like farming, it’s the only way that we can move forward as a nation. In the end, I really don’t care what a party is called, so long as they advocate between the guardrails established by the American Constitution. At different times in our history, every historical political party has advocated for hyper-partisanship. At the moment, the only real threat is the Republican party, in its current form. There’s a reason that our constitution doesn’t mention “factions,” the colonial version of political parties.
However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
As I am fond of quoting, our first and only independent POTUS, George Washington rightly warned in his farewell address about what parties would, in time become. In modern language, “he nailed it.” Passionate, informed debate about the interpretation of facts and truth (all known facts, presented in context) is the “American way.” Informed debate between facts and conspiracy theories is anti-American. It’s that simple. In the absence of leadership with an ethical voice, speaking out for truth, all truly patriotic Americans, have a citizen’s duty to advocate for accurately and well-informed truth. My so-called activism is me honoring my citizen’s duty, nothing more, nothing less. I would be honored to all that have the integrity to speak out; and as Superman said, for: “truth, justice and the American way.”
The more, truly patriotic citizens, regardless of political ideology that speak out, the sooner we regain our honor as a nation and more importantly, diminish the threat imposed by the transnational far-right movement (insert Russian and authoritarian supported) threatening America and the world. It is not a party thing, it’s an American thing. Just ask Superman and Clark Kent. Please become an activist too. Let’s also remember that the activism I support by speaking up, is not just in support of truth, it’s more importantly in support of our time-honored American values, bequeathed by our founders. You may be familiar with a few other folks who were activists… those minutemen on Lexington Green.
As an addendum to this article, I will share some of the open-source tools that I use to establish truth and integrity in media. One, we developed at Narrative Strategies, a US based, think and do tank, where I hold the position of VP. It was developed in order to support better informed citizens, for the 2020 elections. There is zero partisanship in any of the tools. The second, is called the “Journalist toolbox” which is a site designed to provide tools, for professional journalists (of integrity) to make sure that what they produce, is legitimate and true. Both are lists of extraordinary value.