Whenever you think our American political freak show can’t become more bizarre, just wait a day or two. Since 2015, when Donald J. Trump, tacky, brash, longtime Democrat funder, reality TV star, entered the 2016 presidential race, our national political news became The Trump Show.
President Trump, a leader who prefers a loudmouthed, ill-informed carnival barker approach to setting the moral tone of his presidency, remains more a symptom of our dysfunctional American polity than the disease. Trump is like black vomit, which although startling and jarring to see, remains but an outward sign of bleeding in your digestive tract. If you start puking up black vomit, it’s a sign of some serious underlying problem. Trust me, from my experience, when I tell you, black vomit is an alarming sight.
Here again, America’s black vomit doesn’t only spew from President Trump’s lips. It spews from both left and right, from prominent American politicians and “thought leaders” down to rabid, brain-dead citizens taking to both literal streets and the internet by-ways.
America endures political incitement efforts 24/7. President Trump and Maxine Waters level incitement may be direct assaults on our civil order, but they are not alone. The relentless media scorched earth SPIN information war being waged via all avenues of information – on TV, on social media and online forums and even in our entertainment, bombard us non-stop with extreme politicization.
Along with the Trump/Waters nuclear option verbal attacks, many other partisan verbal battles continue across the American media landscape. Weaponized words bombard us daily, blowing up not only every vestige of civility in our culture, but also reducing our language to a minefield of hidden meanings and subterfuge of cynical political distortions and fabrications. We are now living in an America where it really does seem to be a relativistic hell depending on what the meaning of “is” is.
A Trump mouthpiece, David Bossie, uttered the phrase “cotton pickin” to a black pundit on Fox News and America erupted into a racial debate, even though around the South, the phrase “cotton pickin”, being uttered by both blacks and whites, is as ubiquitous as sweet tea or pecan pie.
Jim Webb, former U.S. senator, wrote a gut-check op-ed about our extreme politicization of our language and crushing political correctness. Webb writes:
So, let’s sum this up. The host did not know what Mr. Bossie meant by using the phrase “cotton picking” and indicated that he and Fox News do not agree with it. In its opening sentence on the controversy, Yahoo characterized “cotton picking” as a “racist phrase.” And now I guess the rest of us are supposed to put down “cotton picking” as a cultural no-no that cannot be uttered in public because it violates the ever-growing lexicon of political correctness.
Really? Let me offer a few thoughts.
First, “Cotton picker” has long been a common phrase in much of the South, with no racial connotations. Throughout my life it has been slung around with about the same level of camaraderie as, “hey, dude.” When I was a kid there was even a country song, mostly instrumental, called “Cotton Picker.” Another popular song, sung mostly on the white folks bandwidth, laments “Them old cotton fields back home.” The phrase “cotton picking” has been a part of normal usage for generations from white to white, as in, “you don’t know a cotton picking thing about what you’re talking about.”
Second, I don’t know Mr. Payne but if he has Southern heritage he should not feel unique, personally or as an African-American, to have “some relatives who picked cotton.”
Memo to Mr. Payne: I’m proud of my mother’s journey, Joel. Very few people in this country of any ethnic origin had it harder than my mother, and nobody complained less. And along the way, my mother picked a LOT of cotton. She also picked a lot of strawberries. And harder still for the energy it took, she chopped a lot of cotton – not many people even remember what that meant.
President Trump and Maxine Waters are two peas in a putrid demagogic pod. They may point at each other and howl about the awfulness of the other, but the truth is they both behave as vile, ignorant, boorish cretins. That is the truth. Sadly, both of them place their partisan flame-throwing and incitement efforts above setting decent examples of civil behavior. They have plenty of company among the media at fueling these word game controversies. In the wee hours, the other night I retweeted this one:
libertybelle Retweeted Kyle Griffin
Leftists see ominous things in words that aren’t there. Around the military, they pitch tents and set up “camps” as shelter – even for American soldiers, we set up CAMPS…
The Left’s outrage machine, which imposes political correctness on America, feeds off of word controversy, much of it generated via spin attacks they wage on social media. The right moved into playing this faux outrage game when Trump parlayed his personal Twitter feed into a potent front against the Left and mainstream media’s lock on controlling the “national conversation” in America. Many pro-Trump pundits laud him as being a “disruptor” and equate his fact-free, high-octane tweets and vicious name-calling as “winning” against the Left’s spin, but each battle tears a bit more of the soul of our country apart.
Looking back, when Barack Obama became president a longtime political barrier was demolished. A black man holding the highest elected office in America rightly garnered a great deal of media attention. However, the deep partisan divides, even in 2008, created constant partisan flashpoints and fissures of unrest.
Our present bizarre political climate didn’t form in a vacuum. It follows decades of polarizing Leftist SPIN information warfare waged against the Right and the American people by the Left and mainstream media. The Clinton media gurus introduced the SPIN type info war into American politics and from there it blossomed into an all-out culture war against the Right and conservatives. President Obama used the Oval Office to foment racial discord and aid and abet the Black Lives Matter street activism against the police. Anger and feelings of political alienation fed the Right, which led to the Tea Party movement.
In 2016, both parties sold their souls to two very corrupt, extreme narcissists, who were willing to do or say anything to win. The fall-out from 2016 still litters our political landscape and the ruthless scorched earth information war continues, unabated.
America loses when morally bankrupt politicians and media promote and perpetuate this extremely corrupt spin information warfare against the American people. Spin cycles churn at such a fast rate now that perceptions and reactions far outpace the rate at which facts begin to catch up. Each side works to capitalize on that fact-void window of opportunity to lob verbal assaults, all to try to galvanize public opinion among our increasingly gullible and easily led public, which prefers to react rather than think or carefully study issues. It’s a shameless media shell game to dupe the American people, who have been brainwashed on Oprahesque emoting for decades. Neither side will ever win this spin mass media information war.
Only when some principled leaders on both sides renounce this scorched earth spin information war and begin the difficult process of reconstructing some common ground in our political landscape will we be able to begin rebuilding and uniting America around some shared American values again.
Digging out from under this suffocating pile of spin rubbish won’t be easy, but each small effort at rejecting reactionary spin sets us on a better path. I’m trying to take time to sift through these endless spin bombardments. My goal is to cultivate a habit of rejecting joining in any spin-driven outrage… from either side.
It’s way past time for Americans to calm down for a change. Let’s all stop being mindless reactionaries and work at learning how to be good citizens, who protect and respect The Constitution of the United States. Even more than that let’s treat all people with respect.