Seeds of Propaganda Can Produce Giant Sequoias

 Many would agree that the current political election campaign has been, at best, a back-biting, mean-spirited, divisive and hopelessly duplicitous experience for most of us who tend to take elections at all seriously. There have been other vicious election campaigns in our relatively brief history as a nation, including the one for Abraham Lincoln, who was vilified and threatened with assassination even before he was elected President.

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The same kind of hateful chasm exists now between the two major parties in which most voters I know personally are totally and emphatically for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. No one is on the fence, because there is no middle ground. Almost everyone with whom I’ve talked on the subject grimaces at the mere mention of the opposing candidate, because the feeding machines of propaganda on both sides are prodigious and prolific in their churning out material that renders anything resembling the truth to be something from some galaxy far, far away. Fox News (Faux News) is, for me, the worst source of “information” in its cranking out one tabloid feature after another in a predictable plethora of rage-inducing silliness to keep anyone’s crazy uncle amused for hours on end.

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The media, of course, know their audiences and, like puppeteers, they can manipulate their viewers by stirring up their righteous indignation to fever pitch over any claims by the “opposition.” This phenomenon has produced a laser-like devotion and loyalty on both sides that will allow not even a glimmer of light to enter from the other candidate. The process has become more like a sports event for a championship game than for making our country a better place, where comparing and sharing ideas can actually occur.

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Minds have been made up and unlikely at this juncture to change much, if at all. Ice doesn’t melt often in an emotionally and intellectually Arctic climate, where everything has become rock-hard in terms of viewpoints and personal prejudices. Nothing can hide The Trumpster’s racism, misogyny, egomania, ignorance of world affairs and government procedures, his temper tantrums, his tendency to bully others, and his embarrassingly unsheathed vulgarity, all traits that may appear amusing for a moment to some after too many beers but which on the world stage could damage our already waning national prestige.

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A recurring fantasy I’ve been having over the past few weeks involves a revelation and game-changer of monumental proportions before Election Day even arrives…when Donald Trump steps up to the podium while on national television (world-wide telecast) and before a boisterous crowd says, “Ladies and gentlemen. After much soul-searching, I want to share with you all something that has been on my mind since last spring. I’m going to step out of the race for the presidency as of today (pause due to the agitation of the audience). Please let me finish before you burst some blood vessels in surprise or anger. My leaving the race isn’t because I believe Crooked Hillary will do a better job than I thought I could do, but rather that my experiment has come to its end.

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That experiment has been one testing America’s confusion, gullibility, and ignorance, an America which I was able to convince was in crisis mode and that I was able to persuade to join a dark side of hatred, sexism, suspicion, and fear not known since the days of Italian Fascism under Benito Mussolini, whom I admire very much. As you know, I’ve always seen myself as a winner, and I still do. The game is simply over, and I have won again in my having been able to hoodwink half the nation into accepting catch-phrases as truths, and morally degrading slogans as healing. It’s been a tremendous awakening for me, as I hope it will have been for you whose level of skepticism has been that of backward children, hungry to believe any nonsense that sounds good to them at the moment. My shady reluctance to share my tax returns and official medical records should have been a signal, but you all ate up everything I said, no matter how vile, to the point where I could actually do no wrong. Maybe that’s because when you were kids, your only real authority figure was an unprincipled loud-mouth braggart and pompous windbag, which is exactly what I am, folks, in case you hadn’t noticed. What a terrific revelation this should be for you all. It might even make America great again. Maybe in the future, you’ll be more careful about who your idols and political leaders are. As for me, I’m off to my villa in Aruba, where I intend to enjoy a life away from politics.”     JB

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About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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