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The Cat's out of the bag, the horse is out of the barn

by Ron Holdraker
September 26, 2020

The old cliché mill will really be activated for this column. In addition, this column will be longer than most, but for a reason. Please read... and think for a moment.

I have a BS (Bachelor of Science, not Bull Shit) from Syracuse University. My minor was in history, including everything from Russian, American and even some course work in Black studies.

To be honest, I always thought I had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, but actual documentation and my wife have always corrected me.

Regardless of the degree and sheep skin, journalism, politics, history and nature have always been of interest. I worshipped the early newscasters and the truth and wisdom of world affairs. At the same time I have never felt learning was passé and only for the young.

Of course, sometimes I am blind to the reasoning behind a person or statement. If one looks closely, any hero can be dethroned, any accepted fact torn apart. Babe Ruth, although a terrific baseball player, was a drunk and a womanizer. John F. Kennedy had way too many faults for sainthood. Even Mother Teresa and Ghandi had their faults and   prejudices. Some guys way back in history, Jesus Christ and Mohammed had shades of mayhem and questionable items and tactics in their lives.

That is the problem with history and heroes. We have a tendency to either ignore, or overlook the negative, or sometimes the blaring truth. Remember, history writers, as well as journalists and politicians, tell stories - often from their own perspective.

So, why am I pointing this all out? I want to lay out a scenario for the current political divide this nation, this world, is experiencing. This divide is nothing new, but exasperated by something called the www (World Wide Web). 

Bottom line, we have all become journalists, quasi-politicians and describers of history. Every post on social media, every comment made of Facebook, or myriad other social media sites now has - or we believe - had impact upon the world.

Anyone who knows, or has read my columns and social media posts, instinctively realize I am a Republican by heart, but a fast enemy of the President and Republican Party path at this point.

I believe in less government, watching budgets and working for what I get. I also realize there are numerous factors at work that either will not allow others to achieve their potential, or lack the will to do so. Sometimes, just sometimes, people are just bad.

Whew, now that I have laid out the background for this column, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

I found it interesting that two people from different sides of the political divide, can watch the same video, press conference, or social media post and walk away with completely different opposing conclusions. That is called being human.

Donald Trump once boasted that “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

Donald Trump realized he had built a core of followers who ‘saw no evil, spoke no evil and heard no evil’ in whatever he said, or did. He was right.

Back in the early 1950s, a  Republican Senator from Wisconsin named Joseph McCarthy, built his national  reputation making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. Basically he attacked homosexuality and anything else that fed into the national obsession with hidden communist infiltration of the United States - the ‘Red Scare’.

Using fear and intimidation, he held citizens in the palm of his hands for years and destroyed numerous lives. Finally, members of his own party had enough of the lies and innuendos to put an end to his career. Democracy took a hit, but survived.

Finding criminality or problems where none exist, or little proof exists was a highlight of a movement known as ‘McCarthyism’. Those who do not heed the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat it.

Both Republicans and Democrats agree after numerous investigations, concluded that the Russians and other anti American factions, interfered with the 2016 elections. Sure, there were obvious signs the actual election process, voting machines, software and downloads of information were infiltrated, but that was just the small tip of a very large sword.

Social media showed and is still showing a negative downside. Foreign and local forces continue to post false, irrelevant, sometimes humor filled posts, in an effort to get Americans riled up over their political stands.

These social media posts become so commonplace on the internet, due to more posts and re-posts, that a lie soon becomes the truth for people looking for reasons to hate.

Posted videos of either Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden, or President Donald Trump, flubbing words, phrases, quotes, or stumbling while walking is easily translated into senility or failing health. Both men are in their 70s+ and the truth is, after 24/7 campaigning, even a 20 year-old would get tired of the barrages of questions, the blur of scheduling and may make mistakes.

Add words and phrases like gun control, abortion, elitism, socialism, communism, Antifa, QAnon to the social media frenzy and the result is a divided nation with divided ‘truths’. In actuality, most people never take the time, or really cannot define, most of the bold words above.

It behoves Russia and other national and world players to continue the rhetoric and disinformation cycles on social media.

Back in the Joe McCarthy era, the relatively new TV and radio networks were only too eager to feed the frenzy of speculation and downright lies. Even back then ratings meant money. 

It is no different today, probably a great deal worse. Add the new social media, ‘world wide web’ influence and we have an hourly drubbing of pabulum dividing this country, this democracy.

What we should be concentrating on, analyzing, is the actual policies and outlook for this nation. What does a candidate, any candidate, really stand for?

We have ignored the obvious and due to our human nature, edge closer to the great divide in an effort to win at all costs, even at the cost of the United States.

My fear is that...The cat is out of the bag...The horse is out of the barn. We have decided it is easier to believe a lie, or quasi-lie over reality.

We are, after all, human.

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