There’s a lot of willful ignorance out there. I say “willful” because sometime I sit in disbelief of how people I thought were discerning can hold such dissonant views.
When Christianity isn’t
This one is a big hot button for me because Christ was very, very clear about his expectations of his believers. And yet I see so many holier-than-thou, self-proclaimed “Christians” whose actions and opinions should qualify them for hell–if they believed in Christ’s teachings. But they cannot see the huge disconnect between their political and social beliefs and the spiritual belief they say they adhere to. I swear I can see Christ rolling in his tomb. That is, he WOULD be rolling in his tomb had he not resurrected. If he did. Which is another story.
Look, by all means, if you want to support a man who cages children, makes fun of the disabled, treats people like scum, calls names and hasn’t got a Christian bone in his body, go ahead. Just don’t call yourself Christian. If you want to see a real Christian, check out Pastor John Pavlovitz, who is an actual follower of Christ.
I found Pastor Pavlovitz early but his growing popularity reflects the huge need for someone to actually model Christ’s teachings–and call out those who do not. Which he does very well. Like him, I do not believe that any self-proclaimed Christian who supported that awful man in the oval is actually a follower of Christ.
Because when someone tells them who you are by their behavior? There’s no denying it. Say what you want, your actions tell a different story. The truth.
Some of my friends, people I respect, are willing to discuss politics with everyone, including these faux Christians, and want to understand the other’s point of view. That time has come and gone for me. I am not willing and far past the point of wanting to understand more– because what I understand is willful ignorance–and discussions go nowhere up against that.
For example, there are actually people on the right who think the left did not lose gracefully four years ago. Obviously, they mistake disappointment for the crazy denial of the man in the oval and his followers. Completely different. But the capability they have to fool themselves is as great as his.
There are none so blind as those who cannot see. None.
Vulnerable to propaganda
Misplaced or excessive adoration of a personality. That’s one of the definitions of cult. What sets cults apart is that they are considered deviant social movements. I don’t think you could better describe Trumpism. The man’s views are deviant from any civilized society, and that makes his followers deviant, too. He’s not nice, not kind, not considerate. He is greedy, self-centered and corrupt. He has used a trusted office for personal gain –without apology–and in a way that no sitting president ever has. And yet, he has been practically canonized, especially by fundamentalist Christians. How did such a man get such a huge following?
Fox Network Propaganda.
Fox Network (it’s not news) and truth are incompatible.
Fox appeals to fear and they are very good at it-– fear of those who are different, fear of the demon of “socialized medicine,” fear that white men have of losing their franchise, fear of financial loss. Those are the key message points of people like Carlson and Hannity, and their nefarious propaganda campaign is as effective as that of the Nazis, who had very much the same charter. Yep. The Nazi’s blamed the Jews for the instability of the German economy and singled them out as “different” and not the German ideal of “purity.”
It was a very short step to getting the population to be complicit in rounding up Jews, gays and gypsies, caging them in concentration camps and then exterminating them. Millions. The Germans? Complicit and silent. Propaganda is effective and the Nazis were masters at it. The cult of personality propelled Hitler to power and kept him there.
That’s what’s gone on here, the past four years, as children have been ripped from the arms of their parents, put in cages and some of them have so little documentation that they can never be reunited with their parents. Asking so-called Christians: would Christ approve? Of course he wouldn’t. Why do you?
Because you buy intothe constant drumbeat from Fox that dreaded “socialism” is coming.
By the way, Medicare is a form of socialized medicine. That many count on.
There’s also the sensationalized (and completely fake) fear that immigrants are taking their jobs. Fox viewers are so vulnerable to these cleverly rendered message points they can’t recognize that immigrants are doing jobs that many Americans do not want. Go to any home improvement store early in the morning in my home state of California. You’ll see a group of men waiting for day work. Hard work. None of those men are white. They are all immigrants who seek a day’s wage for work that most Americans would eschew. THAT is fact.
And the other day a man with a professional degree tried to scare other friends by painting a picture in which all of their investments would crash under Biden. That is ludicrous. But this white man with an education and a respected profession believes it with all his heart. He is TERRIFIED. He is also naive and incapable of critical thinking, which makes him a perfect audience for Fox. He would’ve been susceptible to Nazis, too. Although you could never convince him of that.
One of my favorite fake Fox message points has to do with bringing jobs back to America, something that would benefit the American factory worker. But wait, dear factory worker–those jobs can never come back. No way. Because capitalism is about PROFIT. Let’s consider manufacturing costs: Between your benefits and pay raises, most American-made products can’t be priced competitively. In other nations, where labor is not valued as highly, pay is pennies to our dollar and that makes those countries far better bets for American companies who want to be profitable. So please don’t kid yourself. We pay a living wage and that means products made here are usually far more expensive than those made in China, the Philippines or other nations which pay very little. That is the fact. You may not want to hear that but it doesn’t make it any less true. Would you want to pay $2000 for your smartphone? Or more? You might have to if it were made in America so benefits and pay can be livable. A dose of reality that Fox overlooks.
The sum of it all
I have to lay the broken state of the country at Fox’ feet. I think I’m right, too. They have spread lies like soft butter and those lies have been consumed by people hungry for someone to simplify the world for them into good guys and bad guys.
Also contributing to this is the state of education in America. Social promotion and the dumbing down of the educational system means a huge proportion of the population cannot differentiate between fact and fiction. They can’t critically analyze information. They just don’t have the skills. Nor do they realize they don’t.
Look, we are all lazy to one degree or another, including me. No one wants to spend hours parsing the news coverage to figure out what’s real and what isn’t. That’s what makes propaganda so effective. Many people really do want to be told what to think. Fox is happy to comply.
The future will be different
I’m frustrated when I can’t reason with people who hold different opinions. I no longer have the energy for the fight. But I also get a little teary when I contemplate a world that I am not in. The fact must be faced: I will be 70 next year, with more years behind me than in front of me. Lately, though, I’ve surveyed what I see on the political scene and it’s pretty clear that 20 years from now the country will be very different. Millennials have their own views of what they’d like to see happen and as we Boomers and Gen Xers fade into our retirement years, Millennials will be in their heyday. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Society must evolve or die.
I’m a proud Boomer and although yes, I’ve gotten all those Boomer-hate spam messages on this blog, I’m proud of what my generation achieved and even prouder at what we wanted to achieve. Shifting a society is difficult, like moving a big ship. It happens in increments, sometimes almost imperceptibly, never fast enough for some and too fast for others. Some of our hopes and dreams for the world didn’t happen and others didn’t happen as we wanted them too. But we did get the ball down the field a ways. This will also be true of the Millennials. They won’t get everything they hope for, but they’ll get some of it.
So maybe this horrible administration was an inflection point signaling the start of a societal shift. Maybe we had to go through this for the discerning viewer to see the flaws in our system. Fox is one. The cult of celebrity is another. Lack of critical thinking is yet one more. All things that need to be handled for us to sail more smoothly. Maybe this was just prep for a new generation taking the reins.
There is work to be done
I have no idea what to do about Fox. Its viewers are entrenched. But I’m sure experts already have figured out ways to combat their lies and their power.
Our celebrity obsession is something we have to handle by how we raise our children and what we, ourselves, model as important.
The educational system must get hold of how to teach critical thinking, not an easy thing when you’re up against an environment in which banning books and teaching creationism.
We have an obligation to speak out, though, even if we do not argue. We can not hide our heads in the sand because we are afraid of offending. If we do not have the courage of our convictions, who are we? We might as well wear the current version of the yellow star.
Oh, and BTW, I don’t see Millennials heavily represented among faux Christians. That is a good thing.
The world turns. These problems are no longer my generation’s. Yes, we should continue to be politically and socially active.
But watch the Millennials prepare to take the reins. They’re waiting. They’re ready. It’s their time.
I’m good with that.