Grievance Grift

a mystical möbius — curating facts, ideas, text, and media to create a contemplative space.

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Image by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

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The-facebook ||

I confess, I’ve been hanging out on Senator Roger Marshall’s The-facebook page. That will be temporary.

By “hanging out” I mean I turned notifications on, I’m reading/commenting/participating quite a bit with the posts by Marshall’s team. I’ve also engaged with commenters who interact with the posts and each other. For longer-standing regulars, I suspect the space feels somewhat like an internet chat room.


Gratefully, by and large, we remain a free country, so, you can mostly do as you like. Still, I wouldn’t really recommend ‘hanging out’ on any politician’s The-facebook page, maybe especially Marshall’s. However, in part two, next week, we’ll pick-up the prospect, again.

Q-ish-ness

Recall, Marshall seems willing to go full-DJT, willing to cynically leverage and exploit red-hot cultural issues—this image from January 6, 2021:

Embed from Getty Images

So, you’re unfamiliar with that once harmless sign now being one of extremist provocation? In perhaps one of the most morally questionable appropriations in my lifetime, White supremacist activists/trolls hijacked the familiar “OK” sign to employ as a militant White Power symbol.

The first time I shared the Jan. 6 image of Marshall flashing the OK sign, it was under these words:

OK? Seriously!?! To be very gracious, here’s totally tone-deaf and completely clueless, or cynical beyond imagination, Senator Roger Marshall (Q, KS).

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The hijacking is hyper-cynical as it harmfully preys on society at a point of positive human connection. It also affords a juvenile deniability. A Financial Times article, “How alt-right trolls hijacked the OK sign, “reports:

The “OK” hand sign now lives in a purgatory of meaning, along with other memes that have been at least partially radicalised because online racists thought it would be funny to radicalise them.

It’s a trap designed to ensnare well-meaning people by hacking our tools for understanding each other. And it works every time.

Charlottesville (2017):

Embed from Getty Images

Racist, mosque mass-murderer, Brenton Tarrant flashes upside down OK sign to the camera at his appearance in the Christchurch District Court on March 16, 2019:

Embed from Getty Images

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If Senator Marshall did not know this sign is now an extremist White power symbol when he flashed it on January 6, then he’s an imbecile. If he did know and flashed it anyway, then he’s racially offensive, and toxically cynical.  

What we all know?

Looking at Congress, either body, we see dysfunction and a total inability to do the will of the people. After DJT we also know why many, if not most, of our elected leaders don’t care about that. Even if not new, a highly improved game is in town—e.g., from a political grift standpoint.

Grievance grift?

So, just what is a “grievance grift” anyway? Well, essentially, it’s toxic cynicism on steroids that DJT left for America on his exit. DJT handed on a way of using “political technologies” to drive a political approach—more on all this next week. In the case of DJT‘s approach to politics, it’s hyper-cynical, and it’s toxic. 

Wealth ex nihilo

An enterprise with completely unlimited income potential that requires zero material-resource, energy, or labor inputs, e.g., requires nothing but the entrepreneur. I expect DJT always knew that politics was the promised land of making really large money.

Rush, Newt, and, long time friend, Roger Stone, showed DJT the piece of the puzzle that he then operationalized in the political space like no one had ever done before. What DJT had learned was that outrage sells. Probably true anytime, in a polarized society, it really sells

Outrage sells, big time!

Now, DJT has shown all politicians that identifying and cultivating people’s grievances is the fund-raising goose that lays the golden eggs. Sadly, politicians who are morally challenged embrace this mind-your-base-only gambit. It clearly works short term, however, it is immoral.

Anti-democratic

The schtick DJT franchised is anti-democratic, and it really attacks the heart of American society in the political space. The grievance grift approach is anti-democratic to an existential level. More on this next week.

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Forbidden

You’ve likely heard it said: “Never read the comments.” Largely true. In this case that’s the first good sense we’ll need to set aside, interacting is a must. Next week we’ll look at why. 

Here’s a comment [snipped above] I left on a post Senator Marshall’s page:

Senator Roger Marshall, M.D., please ask Dr. Fauci:
 
Did DJT‘s mishandling of the pandemic make it nearly impossible to get the kind of community support and response needed to build herd immunity in a timely fashion, or maybe, ever?
 
Oh. Wait. Marshall knows the real answer to that and he doesn’t want Dr. Fauci, or anyone, repeating it. 
 

tl;dr

DJT leveraged, exploited, and monetized a polarized America through engaging the political space. His hyper-cynical grievance grift has now been adopted by many Republican politicians and it is lethally toxic to democracy.  

Next week: Part 2. Come and see. 

[this post approx. 825 words (3 min. read)]

Your thoughts? 

I never know what I’ve said till I hear the response. What did you hear me say? 

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