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AltScalesOfJustice @AltScalesOfJust
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[THREAD] It’s easy to see all of the chaos and horrifying news, and feel overwhelmed and hopeless. It would be easy to give in to feeling depressed & give up. To avoid that, we need hope, and we need to feel that there are things we (collectively) can DO
To come up with ideas for how to fix things, it can help to first step back from the overwhelming details and look at the big picture of how we got here. In this thread I'll give my thoughts about that, and then what I think we can do about it
I’m not saying I’m right. I may be wrong about some of my thoughts, and I’m sure I’ve omitted major points that should be included. But when I take a moment to step back, this is what I see. Yes, @realDonaldTrump is turning America into a country that we don’t recognize
Our leader endlessly praising brutal dictators. Attacking our allies. Forcibly taking children from their parents and building concentration camps for thousands of kids. Our Federal Government using the Bible to justify official actions. Withdrawing from UN Human Rights Council
But it didn’t start with this. It has been a progression that has evolved over many decades. It includes a great deal of positive steps and great progress that both obscured and magnified some of America’s most negative attributes
America has made a great deal of cultural changes over the past decades regarding racial equality, gender equality, and growing acceptance for LGBTQ people, among other things. Changing culture in America gradually made publicly criticizing those things taboo
MOST embraced the changes, but many had deep-seated bigotry that would not go away that easily. Some hatred is passed down by comments from parent to child over generations, and especially in isolated, homogeneous communities it can be very difficult to change
Some hatred has been taught in extremist (not most) churches for generations, reinforcing to some that those who are different (whether different religions, races, or sexual identity/preference) are evil and that they are damned and deserve to suffer for all eternity
Some hatred has been reinforced in schools, where curricula are built and delivered to children reinforcing those messages of intolerance that the teachers themselves had been indoctrinated with, whether through family, church, or other origins
Then, America had the civil rights movement and acceptance of racial equality grew. Racism became taboo to publicly express. I’m not pretending it went away or that it wasn't still shown often, but America's culture increasingly rejected public expression of it
Many who were still racist just pushed it underground and tried to hide it from public view. They still expressed it in private and among sympathetic groups, but not as openly where they risked social censure. They had to suppress and conceal their beliefs
That just added resentment and anger on top of their underlying bigotry, which never went away. That increased the intensity of their negative feelings, even while the country at large was showing increasing acceptance and tolerance
That allowed the nation to feel that the social changes had more universal acceptance than they did. Then there was the women’s rights movement, and acceptance of gender equality spread. As with racial equality, the change was slow, but it did broadly spread
Many of the same people who refused to accept racial equality also refused to accept gender equality. But as that became taboo, too, they had to also conceal those beliefs. Their resentment and anger grew, as did the intensity of their rhetoric within sympathetic groups
Then more recently there was a broad cultural swing toward acceptance of LGBTQ people, and the same dynamic happened again. Many of the same parents, churches, schools, & others had expressed total rejection of LGBTQ individuals for so long that the hatred was deeply ingrained
But as America moved toward a broader culture of accepting LGBTQ, those who did not were pushed yet again to suppress their views. This hatred and bigotry was not necessarily more intense than it had been for people of color or for women, but just magnified their existing anger
Evangelical Christian churches across the country had already been a large component of those preaching the intolerance over the decades. But for them, this acceptance of LGBTQ WAS worse, and further radicalized Evangelical Christians into a relatively cohesive block
So over time, a USA culture emerged of broad public acceptance and tolerance, but with a VERY intense rotten core of pent up bigotry, anger, and resentment. Minorities still saw that core all too clearly, but it allowed others to pretend that all was well
After 9/11, it was more widely acceptable to express religious intolerance toward Muslims, as their faith was largely blamed for the attacks. That probably served as a relief valve for the closet bigots, allowing them a direction to vent their broader anger and hatred
Time passed, though, and realization spread that the Muslim faith, Islam, was not responsible for terrorist attacks, any more than the Christian faith was responsible for abortion clinic bombings or Planned Parenthood shootings. Religious extremists twisting those religions were
The closet bigots were seeing one of their few “acceptable” outlets being shut off, while at the same time there were other developments dramatically magnifying their anger. For one, the USA had its first black president. And worse, he was very articulate and well liked
That was far more threatening than the abstract concept of a black president had been, and was far more threatening than it would have been had President Obama been inept or ineffective. His very success and ability made the closet bigots’ anger more intense
Another development was the growth of social media. It became ubiquitous, and people could connect with others around the world, but could still limit their groups to only those who agreed with them. The closet bigots now felt part of a larger group, and felt more powerful
Social media platforms became massive echo chambers, continuing to magnify the intensity of the bigotry and hatred as the closet bigots reinforced each other and encouraged each other to fight back
At the same time, a presidential candidate emerged saying what they had always wished they could. The more @realdonaldtrump said or did that showed bigotry, hatred, or intolerance, the more the closet bigots cheered and saw them as their champion
The closet bigots felt validated, watching @realdonaldtrump at his podium, and felt empowered to finally come out of the closet and speak, proudly preaching their bigotry. The decades of suppression, anger, and resentment just increasing the intensity of their vitriol now
.@realdonaldtrump was not only pursuing the presidency, however. He was simultaneously pursing huge investment projects overseas and saw his presidential bid, at least in part, as a way to improve his negotiating position on those deals
.@realdonaldtrump had had a lifetime of financial crimes and immoral actions, and was continuing to use the tactics that had worked before. He pursued financial favors from those governments, but instead found that at least Russia had built powerful blackmail material
Russia used that blackmail material and financial leverage to control @realdonaldtrump, first focusing on public praise of Putin and Russia while pushing for a softening of America’s anti-Russia policies and sanctions
Social media was ubiquitous, but had no protections against abuse. Russia recognized that, and turned the social media platforms into the world’s most powerful information warfare tools. They flooded the platforms with disinformation and hateful rhetoric
Russian hackers attacked US systems, stealing information from voter rolls and Trump opponents. Russia worked with intermediaries like Cambridge Analytica to access private data on American citizens. Russia used all this data to help guide their propaganda campaign
America’s electronic election systems have very little security, and it’s been repeatedly shown how easy they are to hack. Vote counts can be changed, voters can be purged from rolls. Some, like @mikefarb1, have presented strong evidence that that happened
The official government position is that it did not. Whether or not it did happen, though, the fact is that Russian efforts succeeded, and @realDonaldTrump was elected President
.@realDonaldTrump feels emboldened by the unyielding support of his base, and knows that there is literally nothing he can do that would make Evangelical Christians and the others in his base abandon him en masse
All the while, Russia has been continuing to relentlessly steer @realdonaldtrump
from "America First" toward constant praise of dictators, attacks on American intelligence and law enforcement, attacks on American allies, abandoning human rights, etc.
And that’s where we are today. A country that most of us can’t recognize. A country our allies are turning on as they work to protect themselves from us. A country that is attacking human rights rather than being the protector of them
If we only look at where we are today, though, we are more likely to get overwhelmed, depressed, and give up. Looking back at what got us here helps give focus to some specific things we can do (or support) to help us to recover
1. Support Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. Trump’s history of financial crimes is relevant to that, as it likely played into the leverage Russia used to control Trump and his campaign
2. Demand increased security for our election systems. Demand paper back-up records that can be cross-checked to validate results. Demand penetration testing of election systems and require companies to fix vulnerabilities that are found
3. Pressure social media platforms to crack down on foreign propaganda campaigns including purchased ads, Russian bots, and Russian “troll farms” that pay foreign citizens to create false accounts and pose as Americans to spread propaganda in a much more targeted way
4. Establish some regulation over social media platforms. Not to censor content or suppress free speech, but to ensure security and privacy protections are improved and maintained, and to ensure that protections are put in place to prevent government propaganda operations
5. Most Christians are loving, tolerant, and accepting (as are most Muslims and followers of other religions.) But those Christians need to form into a much more cohesive and vocal body to counter the Evangelical Christian block of Trump’s base
Trump’s supporters are using the name of Christianity to justify their actions, and as a result all Christians are getting tarnished by the few. They need to stand up to the vocal minority, and make it clear that the Evangelical Christians don’t represent them
6. We need to pay attention to school curricula, and ensure that Evangelical Christian and other religious teachings stay separate from public education. And we need to INCREASE TEACHER PAY to help attract and retain the most highly capable teachers
7. We need to publicly and strongly reject any effort to inject religious arguments into debates about government policies, or to justify government actions. We need to defend the separation of church and state that is being eroded
8. We need to publicly and strongly reject any attempt to paint another group as inhuman or not deserving of basic human rights. We need to be vocal and make it clear to our government that we as a society will not accept the erosion of human rights and basic decency
9. We need to counter the fear that @realDonaldTrump consistently uses to try to stir up his base and draw in others to support his actions, who otherwise would not. We in the #Resistance can spread data and information that helps people see through the lies and exaggerations
I’m sure I’ve missed some. What do you all think of my reasoning? Am I totally off base and oblivious with the things I think got us here? What other factors do you think played a role? Do you disagree with my recommendations? What other recommendations would you make? {END}
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