When browsing through Twitter or Facebook first thing in the morning, you can be assured of being updated on the latest of Trump’s propaganda/lies/insults as long as you are following one type of people…Democrats.
Many ironies fill the social media arena but one of the most absurd ones is that Democrats are as much a megaphone for Trump’s propaganda as his cultish supporters and corrupt Right Wing media. On this, Trump has brought the country together.
Trump is clearly not a genius but he has been tutored and influenced by some of the most devious minds in tyranny and propaganda. Among the few books he has been rumored to have read in his life is Mein Kampf. His mentor in his earlier years was propagandist Joseph McCarthy’s right hand man, the infamous Roy Cohn.
And before all of that, Trump was raised by an unprincipled, racist con man, his father, Fred. Frederick Drumpf, his real name before he rejected that truth too, was a very calculating, cruel and deceptive man, much as his son would turn out to be. Here is a little background on the poisoned tree that Trump’s acorn fell from:
[Fred] Drumpf initially settled in the Big Apple before relocating to Seattle and then moving on to the Yukon Territory to take part in the Klondike Gold Rush, where he operated restaurants serving horse meat and a string of brothels catering to itinerant miners venturing in from the cold.
Fred Trump’s practices were seldom free of controversy. A hard-bitten and ruthless man, he would lie about his family heritage, saying his ancestors hailed from Sweden so as not to deter potential Jewish tenants and developed a reputation for turning away black applicants, frequently bringing him into conflict with indignant civil rights groups.
Amazingly, this was observed and recorded by folk troubadour Woody Guthrie, a Trump tenant, in his poem “Old Man Trump”: “I suppose/Old Man Trump knows/Just how much/Racial hate/He stirred up/In the bloodpot of human hearts/When he drawed/That colour line.”
This especially unsavoury aspect of his character was revived in 2015 when an old New York Times press clipping from June 1927 was rediscovered, recording the 21-year-old Trump’s arrest – and eventual release without charge – for attending a Ku Klux Klan rally in which 1,000 Klansmen became embroiled in a battle with police.
Let’s first understand something about the son of Frederick Drumpf…he was trained in the art of manipulation, hatred and deception from birth. He also learned first hand about what works to get attention in the media and the public and being such a narcissist, he is as skilled at it as he is emotionally dependant on it. Like a deranged Walter White who not only cooks the greatest meth but is desperately addicted to it too.
What Trump needs emotionally is for everyone everywhere to be seeing his face, hearing whatever he has to say and thinking about him every moment of their day. And thanks to our seemingly-oblivious media and many Trump opponents on social media, he’s getting exactly what he wants and has all sides promoting his propaganda. He doesn’t care if it’s simultaneously being condemned, as long as his propaganda is being spread around among the public, he wins. There’s an old saying in Hollywood, where Trump has had a career, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” For propaganda, that’s especially true.
When the Democrats rush to social media to share their outrage at Trump’s latest lie or insult, they are in fact supporting Trump. Some folks are heady enough to omit Trump’s propaganda from their condemnation of it but that may only whet a reader’s appetite to search Twitter or Facebook to see what outrageous thing Trump just said.
This isn’t working. The way to defeat manipulation through propaganda is not to repeat it. As many learn in life, impulse and emotion are what should be kept far away from the control buttons in the brain. If one is making a decision based solely on outrage, it is likely a bad decision. And knowing how people’s minds are overridden by outrage, Trump intentionally pushes these buttons, many times a day, to distract and derail them. To get everyone, including Democrats, repeating what he says and keeping him and his propaganda the center of attention.
So what is the solution? As painful as it may be to hold back, the desire to repeat what Trump’s latest outrageous statement is in order to attack it, should be set aside. It is far more destructive to a propagandist to limit the exposure of their lies than to amplify them in the pursuit of condemning them.
Do the details of Trump’s latest daily rhetorical garbage really matter? Can you remember the specifics of his outrageous comments from last week? Last month? Last year? Of course, there are the biggest ones that we can’t forget but the typical daily propaganda, how much of that is so important it deserves repeating?
His actions, behavior and character are what’s more effective to write about. The big picture of what Trump is trying to do through his propaganda and what it reflects about him as a corrupt human being. And yes, there are some times when using Trump’s propaganda to pivot to an important reason to oppose him or why his Democratic opponent needs to beat him this Nov is warranted. So this is not a 100% rule, suggesting that Trump’s words should never be pointed out but undermining the proliferation of Trump’s propaganda means being more prudent in when his propaganda is quoted. If it is merely to express outrage, that is presenting a sword that cuts both ways and one of those ways is serving Trump’s desire to have his lies spread wider.
Consider that an independent voter or Republican reading such a comment will register Trump’s propaganda but if they are not a Democrat, they may disregard that Democrat’s opinion of it. So, for Trump, mission accomplished.
We’ve gone through three years of this syndrome, it’s time to evolve. Trump is a would-be and virtual dictator and if folks are honest with themselves, despite how much it hurts to admit this, Trump has been dictating what Americans talk and message about on social media much of the time (yes, what he says has motivated this post as well but it’s more of that mirror in a mirror thing here, talking about the talking about of Trump’s propaganda). Taking away that power is simply making the personal choice of saying, “I’m not playing the game Trump wants me to.”
It’s a more urgent time for converting outrage into strategy and action. If Trump makes a false claim about supporting healthcare, one can respond by not repeating it but reminding people that he is trying to tear healthcare away from much of the country and your favored Democratic candidate will protect and improve healthcare. If Trump tweets something racist, one can springboard off of that to discuss the racist cruety of cages at the border, the importance and Americanism of equality and that Trump and his racism must be defeated by voters in November. Instead of helping to further inject Trump’s propaganda into the public mainstream, folks can be pushing back against the very attempt to murder truth and install a dictatorship in America through lies and propaganda. There are many options for a response to the latest Trump propaganda but the only ones that don’t help Trump are those that don’t re-broadcast it.
This isn’t a condemnation of quoting Trump with regards to news, if he is lying…better yet…when he is lying about an event like his Ukraine extortion or his assassination of Soleimani, repeating his words can be very important in a response. What I’m referring to is the daily non-sequitur lies that spray out from Trump daily, taking credit for things he didn’t do, claims of greatness and popularity, personal attacks on his perceived enemies, etc. When all that propaganda spews into the public realm, my argument is that it should not be repeated but a jumping-off point for hammering Trump or promoting Democrats.
Democrats want to defeat Trump. He has only a minority of Americans supporting him and his hateful regime. He has alienated a majority of voters who are pretty settled in their negative view of him. Trump and his allies will be launching a massive propaganda war against the eventual Democratic candidate. He will accuse them of horrible, manufactured outrages and if Dems repeat all this just to attack Trump, they may help build at least a subconscious link in some of the voter’s minds between the outrageous charges Trump manufactures about the Dem and that Dem.
For example, if the nominee was Biden, it won’t help to repeat over and over, “Trump says Biden is showing serious signs of dementia? That’s an outright lie!” This still promotes a connection between Biden and dementia, which is doing Trump’s dirty work for him and will make him smile wide.
We shouldn’t be conduits for Trump’s propaganda and repeating it to attack it is still repeating it. As the old internet saying went, “Don’t feed the trolls”. They starve and weaken without attention. Trump and his propaganda thrive on being publicized. Part of taking back the country requires us to take back control of public discourse and we can do that simply by making the decision to do so.