The name of this blog is “Living Lightly,” but the topic of this post may veer from my intentions when I first started the blog. However, I must write what’s in my heart even if it means some of you (I hope not) decide to unfollow me.
I’m sickened by the political debacle occurring in my country, the United States. I’m tired of people my age–normally the politically active baby boomers–telling me continually they’ve decided not to vote because they are so disgusted with what is happening.
How did we sink so low?
And how much further can we go?
I’m worried. But yesterday, I discovered my new found concerns really should have bothered me before the crisis in electing a president.
Weekend guests to our home showed me I’ve been living under the falsehood that we are a nation of souls who love one another for our diversity and our individuality. I’ve lived for more than sixty years assuming that if we can simply communicate and love one another, we can solve all our problems no matter who we are, where we come from, how much we weigh, where we worship, what we believe, or how much money we make. It’s all accepted here, except by a few fringe elements.
Back to the guest who opened my eyes and mangled my innocence. She wanted to buy a few of my books before she left. I showed her to my closet stock of novels. She picked out two books, and then I had the bright of idea of gifting her with a copy of my great grandfather’s memoir Civil War Journal of a Union Soldier. I’m very proud to have published this book and believe its historical context to be of supreme importance. It gave me great pride to produce it. I explained it to our guest and attempted to hand her a copy. She stepped back as if bitten.
“My family was in the Confederacy,” she said.
I tried to explain that the journal shows the horrors of war and of brothers fighting brothers.
“My family owned slaves.” She stood in my living room saying words I thought I’d never hear. “My grandmother told me that she worked right along side the slaves, but one day a storm came up. The slaves were sent to the barn while my grandmother stayed in the fields.”
Her grandmother told our guest, “We valued our slaves more than our relatives because we needed them.”
Nervous laughter from everyone listening–except for me. I walked away protectively clutching my precious book.
“I still fly the Confederate flag.” Her words followed me back to my office.
I seethed all afternoon after she left. Then I watched the second Presidential debate last night. How can I possibly believe we can heal the great divide created in this campaign year if there are those still fighting the Civil War? And this comes from a woman my husband has known for more than twenty years. He admires her knowledge in their common field of work. She didn’t just come out from under a rock.
Even though I feel nauseated and hopeless in these waning days of the 2016 Presidential campaign, I won’t let it stop me from going to the polls and voting on November 8 for the candidate who I feel will not turn my beloved country into a totalitarian regime. And I urge every citizen of this great country to do the same no matter how you want to vote. That’s why we’re a great country because we do allow freedom of expression without fear of arrest. At least,that’s the way it stands now.
We always say to remember history lest we forget, but sometimes we might need to forget lest we continue to fight a war that ended more than one hundred and fifty years ago.
And remember propaganda, which can be used for good or for bad, must be deciphered so we know what is positive and what is evil. Consider the following persuasive techniques to create propaganda:
- Take advantage of brewing discontent
- Offer the right answers in a time of economic upheaval
- Blame a scapegoat for the ills of an entire nation
- Place the success of a campaign on the back of one person’s personality
- Speak to the largest rallies possible
- Use a simple dogma and focus on only one or two points
- Repeat the simple dogma
- Find slogans to repeat
- Speak to emotions and stir them
I pulled these points together from several websites describing how Hitler managed to fool the German people long enough to form the Nazi party.
Think about it before you vote, and then remember this poignant piece from anti-Nazi and Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
REMEMBER WHO WE ARE AND VOTE NOVEMBER 8