“The wealthy need to pay their fair share.”
“Greedy Businessmen and Oil Barons.”
“The ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have-nots.’”
These are all phrases we heard during the last Presidential election cycle. Politicians use such divisive language in an effort to paint mental images and separate people into opposing categories. Why? By using imaginative black and white imagery, they are able to stir specific people groups into emotion-based action and solidify a support base to propel themselves into powerful positions.
In reality, most Americans live in the middle politically… they are a Democrat on some issues, Republican on others, and Libertarian (or Libertarian-leaning) in their philosophy toward freedom. So, why do we continually allow ourselves to be divided by single-issues raised only for the purpose of manipulating the election of a political candidate?
Some issues are difficult to see clearly when we are living in the middle of the Disney World existence of the American life… and we tend to filter our reality accordingly.
However, if you look outside the country, study history, or are able to see how random news stories actually connect to form a mosaic (not in a conspiratorial manner)… more and more can become clear of the tactics that are used by those seeking power to control and manipulate the general population. One of these tactics is “Class Warfare.”
Currently, I’m reading a book on Mao Tse-Tung; the Chinese revolutionary credited with defeating the Nationalist Party and transforming China into the modern Communist State that it is at present. As with any government revolution, it has to start at the grassroots level and gain the support of the masses. The transformation of China into a Communist nation is hailed as Russia’s most successful foreign policy endeavor. Mao took his orders and obtained his money directly from Moscow, and was in communication with Stalin and the KGB agents who were operating in China to overthrow the government. China was in fragile condition during this time period, they were moving away from being a country that was heavily colonized by England and toward becoming an independent, unified nation.
Moscow had a very simple strategy to develop China into a Communist state… a peasant uprising.
To accomplish this overthrow by the “commoners,” they first had to develop the public perception that the wealthy were in some way against the poor and develop animosity between the two.
Shaping public opinion was simple, they would manipulate the least educated and least informed into supporting the Communist views. The “commoners” toward whom they crafted their message were not aware of the violence that took place during the uprising in Russia, so they were an easy target to propagate their message of social and economic equality under a communal government system. Were the commoners/peasants to fully understand the ramifications, they would have probably resisted the Communist movement altogether.
Freedom, unfortunately, also allows room for those who would seek absolute power to gain a footing. Mao traveled freely throughout China in and out of learning institutions, employers, and made full use of the freedom he would later steal from those who came after him. He was wealthy, but preached against the evils of the rich… personally, he did not care for manual labor, but thought men should labor and women should endure even harsher conditions. He used the guise of “Women’s Equality” to obtain the support needed to force women into awful working conditions.
Mao consolidated his power through “peasant uprisings” in various towns and villages around China. He would send instigators to organize, lead, or infiltrate the labor unions and use the organizational leadership network of the labor unions to spread his propaganda and promote his message.
The message began by building envy on the part of the laborers toward those by whom they were employed. Once that message was well-received, Mao’s agents would then move to the second phase of overthrowing the “evil landowners,” so their possessions could be redistributed equally among those in the labor unions. Violent uprising was encouraged and even ordered.
There’s so much more that happened then from which we could draw parallels to modern world/political events… however, I won’t get into all the details… I’ll skip to another interesting point of how Mao was able to seize control.
Mao was a leader in both of the major political parties, the Nationalist Party and the CCP. When people became upset with the violence of the “peasant uprisings” and the thievery that Mao’s personal army used to build their wealth, Mao was able to blame the violence on the Nationalist Party and make the CCP appear as the heroes. Topping it all off… Mao ordered the killing of the very people he ordered to cause the violence… in the name of peace.
Back to us…
It seems to me that the rhetoric of both sides is becoming increasingly alarming. You’re either a Conservative or a Liberal… Democrat or Republican… to quote a recent president, “You’re either for us or against us.”
When my interest as an adult (and I do use that term loosely) turned toward politics, it was with the idealist mentality of “making a difference” for my children’s future. I jumped in with both feet and in a matter of four years climbed from nowhere to becoming fairly entrenched in the Indianapolis scene. After my last “go-round” in politics in 2008, I’ve stepped back and taken some time away… mainly due to being disenchanted with the behind the scenes workings of the political machine.
Even on the city-level I experienced how divisive our political figures can be. Many times I would have conversations with people who were very interested in what I had to say, and eventually the subject of party affiliation would surface. “Get back kids, he hates teachers,” “I can’t be seen standing here and talking to you, we’re in opposing parties,” and the list of partisan language goes on and on. Even a U.S. Congressman was telling people to vote for me, until he saw that I was not in the same party (imagine his embarrassment).
I began to realize very quickly how divided we are along ideological lines… many of which don’t even exist in reality, they’re simply sound-bytes taken out of context and spun to solidify a support base.
Be wary of people who raise single hot-button issues to grab your attention. Those who use phrases like “un-American,” “anti-women,” etc… are only out to garner support by manipulating your emotions.
At the end of the day, we should all be able to relate on a personal level… regardless of political affiliation, agenda, etc…
All of the stuff about Mao? I’ll let you reach back into history and draw out your own parallels relating to today’s version of “class warfare.”