The Duping of America

by Mike Lince

Yes, America, we have been duped. Language is one way we are manipulated through mass media. Deep divisions between groups are often the result of stereotyping. We use words like weapons on one another to reinforce these stereotypes. The people on the left are labeled liberals, socialists, commies, takers, bleeding hearts, and libtards. When religion creeps into the conversation, a lefty is often called godless, atheist, and anti-Christ. People on the right are labeled nut jobs, homophobes, racist, greedy, mean-spirited, and enemies of the poor. Through the prism of religion, a righty is often called Bible thumper, faithfool, and Christard. There are also derogatory terms especially for Muslims and Jews. We have all read and heard them – towel head, raghead, Hebe, Yid, Kike.

Within the safety of our private internet world, we freely throw out verbal bombshells to retaliate or to provoke. Pick a topic – climate change, gun rights, gay rights, abortion, immigration or race. There are many more, and every topic has a political or religious hot button that guarantees heated debate based on deeply held convictions.

Words have power. Look no further than the comment sections of political blogs and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Arguments arise as the debates between left and right become more heated. When civil discourse has run its course, finger pointing, name calling and the use of some truly repugnant language prevails. When you have been labeled, what is your reaction? It is so easy to get angry, and that is how we have all been duped.

Mass media works the magic of legerdemain, the trick that focuses our attention on one hand while the other hand tricks us. L. Frank Baum wrote of this trick in The Wizard of Oz when the wizard himself cautioned, ‘Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.’ In fiction, Dorothy worked out the wizard’s trickery. In the real world, most of us remain unaware of the trickery being foisted upon us.

Our war of words is a distraction. Every form of entertainment is a distraction – movies, video games, spectator sports. Everything that we as Americans get rabid about focuses our attention on something other than what is taking place in the real world. What is taking place? Nothing less than the fleecing of the United States of America. The big money in our country has outright purchased our government. Laws are passed and court decisions are made to aid the wealthiest among us such that their treasure is protected. Tax laws and campaign contribution laws are well-established to ensure the long-term safety of their wealth.

As long as we are occupied rooting for the home team, arguing politics, pointing fingers and name calling, the ‘wizards of wealth’ are working their magic. It is a simple tactic called class warfare, and it is working marvelously. 2010 data suggest greater income concentration at the top of the income scale than at any time since 1928. Between 1979 and 2007, average after-tax incomes for the top 1 percent rose by 281 percent after adjusting for inflation — an increase in income of $973,100 per household — compared to increases of 25 percent ($11,200 per household) for the middle fifth of households and 16 percent ($2,400 per household) for the bottom fifth. In 2007 the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population owned 15%.¹

There is always a place for discourse in a free country, and I encourage the free exchange of ideas. I would also urge you to consider that the next time you are given to rant from the left or the right, you are playing a key role in the duping of America.

¹Congressional Budget Office figures