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Fear and Loathing in the United States

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

At this point, it's hard to miss the outright fear that many Americans feel regarding everything from Covid to their political neighbors. The media (to include alternative media) has created an environment wherein you can't listen to almost anything without there being some attempt to sway your opinion by touching your fear buttons. The left is primed to fear their Republican neighbors because they're "racist" or "fascist," and the right is primed to fear their Democrat neighbors because "they want to kill the babies" and "they're trying to destroy America."

While there are elements of both sides trying to do all those things, the average person on the street- right or left- isn't out to get anyone on either side. This isn't to say that there are no threats to the United States, just that the average person isn't that threat. But if you did nothing but listen to the news or political commentary you'd come away believing that we're on the cusp of a civil war. I know there are days I wonder if that's the case, and believe me, I don't like that idea one bit.

But is this really the case? Is our society breaking down so rapidly and far that conflict between the various groups is inevitable? There are days I think it is, especially if we take the events of 2020 into account and the coverage they received versus the coverage of the "insurrection" on the 6th of January. One of those is listed as a direct attack on our nation and the other just a protest. Personally, I think both were attacks, but one was a sustained assault over the course of months, the other was not. If I'm going to look at one over the other as an attempted insurrection, the single day event wouldn't really come anywhere close. 2020 was like a mini civil war between rioters and police across the nation, the flames of which were stoked by mainstream media and political figures- predominantly from one side.

Yet, there are those who would read this post and conclude that I am entirely biased, and only seeing what I want to see. Or perhaps they think I'm peddling in fear porn as well. Or that maybe I'm just too much of a Biden hating Trumper to see what is "really" happening. Perhaps they're right, maybe I am starting to lose it. But I really doubt it. In the last twenty years, it doesn't seem to me that the right side of the aisle has changed all that much. We've slid a little left on some things, but on the main, we're sitting in the same place we were when I first voted. The left on the other hand seems to have shifted farther left- sometimes dangerously so.

This skewing of one side will shift the average, making what was the "center" twenty years ago seem "right" now and the old regular right appear to those on the left as "far right." Couple this with some shifting definitions of words when necessary, and suddenly you have half the populace thinking their neighbors are bigoted fascists with a superiority complex.

What do I mean? Let's look at the definition of Fascism from Merriam Webster and then compare that definition to the first one that comes up on Google.

Fascism, according to Merriam Webster:

"1: often capitalized: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition" "2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control early instances of army fascism and brutality— J. W. Aldridge"

Now, for the first thing that comes up on Google (the most comprehensive collection of correct thought on the interwebs):

There seems to be a slight contradiction between the two definitions. And which one do you think most people are going to read? Maybe I'm off point, but I think most people are going to simply Google the word to see what it means, and not dig deeper into it. As a result, most people won't realize that Fascism was a direct descendant of Socialism and Communism centered around the nation state. This idea that Fascism is a "far right" ideal is a false narrative. It's wrong. A lie. This isn't to say that far right idiots can't have a fascistic regime, but this is to say that the roots are in the ideals that we see the left pushing today.

And yet for four years we heard every day how racist and fascistic and malevolent The Don was. How what he was doing was going to undermine all the progress that the US has made. How he was working every day to undermine minorities, and placate his Russian overlords. He was painted as a rube, a traitor, a bigot, and an authoritarian. Never, in four years, did I see anyone in mainstream media (sans Fox) say something positive about the man. No one commented on his walking into North Korea as a milestone in the 50+ years of negotiations to end the war, or his end of term negotiating of not one, but multiple peace deals in the Middle East. Had his predecessor managed that, we'd have heard nothing but that for weeks.

And that's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this massive destabilization of our societal norms. You have media personalities openly lambasting those "anti-vaxxers" as idiots, and the President of the United States telling those same people that "our patience is wearing thin." I've literally been called selfish for not electing to get the vaccine. What should be a simple decision about what I put into my body is, for some reason, a political line in the sand for me, and a club for others. It almost feels like I'm on the opposite end of a "centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition" should I stand on my principles and continue to not get the jab.

And even asking questions seems verboten, as #ballgate has shown. Not saying I stand with Minaj, but it's hard not to when all she said (if we boil it down) was, "ask questions and do research for yourself." And of course, there was backlash. Can't have POC's advocating that we all think and act for ourselves and practice that autonomy thing- TruSt THe sCieNTisTs. The worst part about this whole damned thing is that even putting that in this piece, people will assume that I'm anti-vax/anti-science. Holding the liberty position right now on this topic and others gets derision as a result, and that is... Well... See the above definition of Fascism and you tell me.

Everyday we slide further and further into an authoritarian system wherein speaking out is a sure way to get shut down, and holding the line for your beliefs and advocating for your own autonomy can lead to you losing your livelihood. Ask anyone who's been canceled, or had their careers destroyed for something that they did as a kid. Society is demanding absolute perfection in behavior and compliance with outrageous standards and offering no real forgiveness if you fail. Benedict Biden has pushed that just a little further with his vaccine mandate, adding fuel to the fire that he was supposedly elected to put out. I guess he (or rather his administration) is going to create unity by stamping anyone who disagrees into the dirt.

And during all of this, it seems that the main sources of information dissemination aren't asking what could be the most important question of all- who benefits from all this?

When Biden botches a withdrawal from a nation that was on the cusp of turning around, and starts executing on authoritarian policy, who benefits? Someone has to be, and I don't think it's the American people.

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