The recent push back to the climate activism of Greta Thurnberg surprised me. And then it didn’t.
It reminds me of similar condemnations of the Parkland survivors who rallied a nation to protest our national epidemic of gun violence.
Then I wondered – what about the activism of Malala Yousafzai? Where was the outrage when she stood against the Taliban and insisted on every girls’ rights to an education?
- Where were the photoshopped photos of Malala and George Soros?
- Where were the cries of feigned concern that she was a child being exploited by adults?
- Where were the fabricated stories claiming she and her parents were paid actors?
- Where were the sniffs of indignation: how dare she scold? What does she know? She’s just a girl (and an ugly one at that).
Did I miss something?
Follow the Money
There has been a dark disinformation campaign that swirled around the passionate, charismatic young people protesting for gun control and climate care. There was (and continues to be) well funded efforts by gun lobbies and corporate powers to squelch any attempt to regulate and rein them in.
These young people who dared take on Big Oil and the NRA have become obvious (and particularly vulnerable) targets. (Follow the money.) The schemes to discredit them are vicious, personal and intentional.
Advocates for girls’ education? Not so much.
Of course, Malala took plenty of backlash, but only from the Taliban – even to the point of a bullet in her brain. But here in the West, her work is lauded across the political spectrum.
Why? Because Malala is not a threat to Western Oligarchs and Corporate PowerBrokers.
- But Greta and the movement she ignites ARE a direct threat to them.
- The Parkland survivors and the movement they spark ARE a direct threat.
Whenever activists against Powers-That-Be begin to be successful; when their protests start rocking the comfort and profit of the Status Quo Keepers, we can count on high powered, full throttled, push back retaliation.
I hate this vast, clandestine deception machine. But there is something else, another level of its work that frustrates me even more.
The deception of the deceived.
I hate that so many regular people have bought into this deception. I hate how so many (usually) good hearted people seem to close their eyes and shut their ears to this concert of ugliness; how they refuse to recognize they are being played.
And I hate how these people are being used as an army of tools in this oligarchic conspiracy against truth.
I’m not sure what to do about this.
Recent research shows that people don’t change their minds, won’t adjust their belief system just because they are confronted with irrefutable facts. We all can be guilty of cherry picking our preferred “facts” and letting our own confirmation bias cloud our reasoning.
So simply calling them out is an ineffective approach. I doubt anyone in all of history has ever changed their mind because someone told them how stupid they were.
However people can find their way out of propaganda machines when they have calm, faithful friends who will commit to respectful engagement, sincere curiosity and honest humility.
The Money Machines feed our divisions
It’s not just the Right that are being played by oligarchic propaganda machines. We on the Left must fight against the divisions they purposely create; divides that keep them in power.
“Following the money” means we both identify and resist these StatusQuo Keepers.
And we do this, in part, by building bridges across the divides they manufacture.
I certainly recommend this approach when we deal with our friends and families, because when our foundational relationships are ruptured, it is only the Powers-That-Be that win.
I also recommend building bridges across cyberspace.
Every time we on the Left agree to reach out to people with disagreeable opinions; when we engage them with respectful curiosity; when we remember that we also can be guilty of our own confirmation bias – then we lay down a stepping stone or two that may eventually help someone find their way to truth.
There will be push back – and not just from the Monied Political Machines. There will be push back from anyone who has bought into the deceptions of the Dividers: push back across the spectrum from Right to Left.
What this nation needs right now is more Calm Clarity.
We need more people who refuse both to be deceived and who refuse to demonize those who have been deceived.
Let’s focus our outrage energy on the Deceivers and Dividers. Let’s keep Following the Money and keep exposing the Monied Manipulators. Let’s continue to disrupt the Oligarchic Propaganda Machines and keep protesting their Dark Disinformation Campaigns.
But at the same time, let’s keep generating compassionate energy for our fellow Americans who need help escaping from these manipulators. Let’s recommit to respectful engagement, sincere curiosity and honest humility.
This is how we win.