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Grievance Grift [GG]
Cult leaders and followers
On my view elected leaders who unapologetically embrace/wield political technologies are engaging in destructive cult behavior. Very problematic, too, is the fact that the approach enables a cult leader to create multitudes of ground-level political technologists [radicalized followers] from among their cult-level supporters. More on this in a moment.
Some of the most powerful PT ‘tools’ are single words or short phrases. These PT words or phrases are designed to be an emotional stand-in, a place-holder for an idea, a person, or a policy. With a word or two entire narrative structures are invoked. Most often the word or phrase has been very intentionally worked in the PT-media (to emote demonization) so that grievance and outrage attach to the narrative structure that has been invoked. We’ll look at an example in just a minute.
So, just how does a high-level political technologist create a PT ‘tool?’
Well, paramount is having an understanding of the dynamic energies that are operating at any given moment in relation to current events and politics—e.g., knowing what to weaponize.
For instance, with DJT‘s PT stylings, it is far more about playing on grievance, outrage, and cultural fears to create division than somehow cheating against the opposition, their ideas and/or policy interests.
OK, the term “woke” makes a fit illustration of a PT hand grenade. How, at the hands of a high-level political technologist, does that term become a weapon (PT tool)?
- By taking that single word, then associating it directly with extreme voices and yet at the same time applying it very broadly across all social justice activities. As last week, this forms a deceitful mischaracterization
- By unapologetically claiming the word ‘woke’ is exclusively defined by videos of very extreme voices the PT disinformation ends up expressing an emotional, reductionist, cartoon-cutout image of the term.
- Repeat, repeat, ….
The ‘woke’ PT tool seeks and serves to conflate violent extremism with any and all social justice activists and activities. When a ground-level political technologist lobs the ‘woke’ term into an argument as a dismissive disruption it basically works because repetitive political technologies are already well in play.
Awkward to counteract
We’ve talked about it previously. A key piece of the awkward difficulty in dealing with PT is that it’s designed to be nearly impossible to deal with, even broadly by professional communicators in the political messaging space. An extremely formidable problem.
After a PT term like ‘woke’ is invoked in a particular instance, often the damage done requires a forty-five minute unpacking to even begin to breathe nuance and life back into the particular topic of justice and/or activism.
It’s the same basic dynamic that we talked about with the “Trump derangement syndrome” [TDS] tool. Thanks to the work of a high-level political technologist, now any follower of a DJT legacy leader can become a ground-level political technologist, too—equipped with a disruptive PT word, e.g., woke, to inject into any anti-racism discourse, for example, to invoke the ‘CRT is racist‘ narrative.
Same with social justice protest in general. For instance, by invoking the term woke regarding BLM (and, thanks to Fox, et al., by linking both terms with violent protest) both terms are conflated with riots and violent anarchism.
Derailing any productive discourse
Potentially helpful discussion is thus essentially highjacked by one word that requires forty-five minutes to address. For the casual observer at ground level, a face-off between a single emotive word and a forty-five minute explanation is no contest, PT wins almost every time.
Just think of the damage done by DJT‘s willful association of the term “hoax” with legitimate coverage of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic—e.g., virus was minimized/discounted, mask-wearing was demonized, and vaccine hesitancy is still very high today. Here’s a snip of a ground-level political technologist‘s gaslighting—a comment on Senator Jerry Moran’s The-facebook page. “Ending what pandemic?” provides a particularly foul example of PT:
The same folks
Now recall these are the same folks who gave us the PT-conflation of ‘invading hordes of murdering rapists’ with legitimate ‘immigrants and refugees’—in other words another fearmongering, demagoguing, divisive cartoon-cutout of a hugely complex issue. Same folks who claim that any spending on people who are not at the very top end of the economy is socialism. We’ll pick-up from here next time with a case study we’ve all witnessed.
Republicans have finally found something that actually does trickle down. Disinformation from the cult-leader flows down to followers and out through ground-level supporters who’ve become amateur political technologists. While just de-centralized volunteers, they are armed with PT-generated word-grenades.
That Senator Roger Marshall, et al., have adopted DJT‘s political technologies is serious enough. That their PT politically radicalizes followers to participate in PT is far more serious.
Next week: GG (part 8) Come and see.
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