what happens when everyone becomes an enemy?
The places where I can read real investigative journalism is narrowing. One of my favorite journalists is Glenn Greenwald. He is a liberal who resigned from The Intercept, a company he co-founded, over censoring of an article he was writing on Hunter Biden. A few days ago, another co-founder, Laura Poitras, was fired for publicly criticizing The Intercept’s handling of whistleblower Reality Winner.
And then there was Bari Weiss, conservative opinion writer for The New York Times who resigned a couple of months ago. When Trump became president in 2016, not a single mainstream news outlet saw that coming. They were so out of touch with the American people that they spent the next four years desperately transfixed with convincing everyone that they had been right all along. I hold the press largely responsible for fanning the flames of hate and misinformation that have only grown more out of control. In her resignation letter, Weiss wrote that after Trump’s election, “…a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”
It would seem half the country refused to follow that orthodoxy and now they must be punished. A new administration has been sworn in today, yet there is little doubt they will let go of the obsession with Trump and the manic hatred not only of him but of his followers. I’m not writing this to get into any discussion of Trump because this isn’t about one individual. And it is naive for anyone to think that with him being out of office, he will magically disappear. Or that by tech oligarchs shutting down Twitter et al accounts that it will mean those voices or beliefs are gone. They will simply spring up elsewhere, no doubt more determined than ever.
I am a firm advocate of free speech. And I find it the height of folly to demonize one half of the population for refusing to toe the line of the intellectual and corporate elite. Allowing everyone a voice means that there are no mysterious bogeymen out there. It is all in the open and can be addressed and exposed to the light.
This is why I like Glenn Greenwald so much, as well as others such as Matt Taibbi. They are voices of reason in the midst of what could well become a horrific witch hunt that will not read well in history.
I get Greenwald’s articles through email. His latest is called The New Domestic War on Terror. If you are a word person, you quickly catch on to the latest catch phrases that are used to push the new government’s agenda. And everyone in mainstream media is on board so that those words and phrases are repeated over and over, implanted into the public’s consciousness as truth. Talk of heightened “domestic terrorism” “extremists” “white militia” “deprogramming of Trumpers” AOC’s “Ministry of Truth” and the banning of anyone who doesn’t agree should worry every writer and artist who values free expression. It should worry every ordinary American, no matter your political leanings.
Greenwald states: The Wall Street Journal reports that “Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them.”
And: Meanwhile, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) — not just one of the most dishonest members of Congress but also one of the most militaristic and authoritarian — has had a bill proposed since 2019 to simply amend the existing foreign anti-terrorism bill to allow the U.S. Government to invoke exactly the same powers at home against “domestic terrorists.”
Just yesterday , I tried to create an add on Facebook for my book FIREFLY LANE. My add was a post that I had originally made here: What About Luciferase? – Karen Hunt K.H.Mezek (karensmagical.world)
It said this:
Conspiracy theory or potential fact? All I know is, I’m having fun with it.
In Firefly Lane, science fiction writer, Lance Rey writes a book called Moon Wars, about a mutated firefly that is implanted into select human’s brains, altering their DNA and allowing them to travel between Earth and a planet called Oran. Billions of people around the world become fans of Moon Wars. They start tattooing fireflies on themselves. And then, people start disappearing–on the eve of the world premiere of the Moon Wars movie.
My add was rejected as dangerous misinformation. I mean, my book is fiction. Science Fiction. Fantasy. Whatever label you want to put on it.
It is anything but Nonfiction.
I am now wondering how long it will be before a writer cannot even use their imagination to create science fiction or fantasy stories for fear they might inspire some cult following. I know it’s a cliche to say it, but it’s truly like that book, oh you know, what’s it called: 1984. A great irony in itself if you think about it. Because that book could have been banned when it was written as dangerous misinformation, only to have been proved true in our time.
So, which one of us has the right to set ourselves up as the arbitrators of “truth?” Certainly not our elected officials who have so removed themselves from the people they are supposedly serving that they are completely out of touch with reality themselves–another irony. Nor the intelligentsia who so arrogantly dismiss the “uneducated” as being unworthy of figuring out what’s good for themselves and therefore fair game for derision and complete dismissal from polite society.
Well, might I remind those brilliant folks that dismissing the common people has never worked out very well down through history. You’d think the “educated” would be the ones to know that.
But never mind. Here’s a little story that explains why this means so much to me.
Years ago I co-founded a small nonprofit in Los Angeles, a creative writing for incarcerated youth. Juvenile Hall Writing Class Gives Troubled Youths a Creative Outlet – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
It became quite popular and some elite Hollywood players got involved, as well as a few socialites with wealthy husbands. I had some dealings with Schiff and other politicians and would tend to agree with Greenwald’s assessment of him. Once these powerful players got involved, I left the organization I had built. I left it for similar reasons Greenwald left The Intercept. The agenda of the elite became more important than listening and representing all voices. Oh, the good work still went on, but behind the scenes it became about manipulating the narrative for their own agendas, such as passing money around between them to seal deals and patting each other on the backs at fundraisers in order to look good. I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words, “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.”
I’d started the program for the simple reason of giving voice to incarcerated youth and through that dialogue, changing the public’s perception of them as monsters (something Biden and Clinton seemed to believe they were), and maybe even changing laws down the road, such as halting children being tried as adults. Those things did happen down the road, I am happy to say.
When I left, after being a lone voice battling with the Directors over the direction the organization should go, my name was smeared to ensure they would suffer no culpability. I was offered money if I would sign a nondisclosure deal. I refused to take the money or sign anything. I told the Directors–at the top of a skyscraper in Century City, sitting around a marble table–that I had started the program to give voice to the voiceless. No amount of money would allow them to take away my voice. I was a single mother raising three kids at the time and it wasn’t easy. But I never regretted my decision.
Oddly, after I left, the Board of Directors, who had claimed to be so intent on ensuring that this lovely little charity was run like a business with “big oversite and accountability,” sort of like the promises of big government, hired a carefully vetted Executive Director who went on to steal $120,000 from the organization over the course of a little more than one year. The theft wasn’t noticed until well after the damage had been done. Yet, incredibly, there was no investigation of the Board of Directors, no accountability for them to have let this happen under their noses. I mean, it wasn’t like this as a multi-billion dollar company and $120,000 wasn’t noticed. More than one fourth of the yearly budget was stolen without a blink of anyone’s eyes. The ED made a deal, signed a nondisclosure and served some time in jail. And that was it, the whole thing brushed under the carpet. But that’s what powerful people can do. Twist things around, shift focus, manipulate those beneath them and never have to answer for their actions–or lack thereof. Former director charged with ripping off charity for at-risk kids | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
I have a special place in my heart for freedom of speech and the power it has to heal and bring people together.
When I first started InsideOUT Writers, I went in with a desire to give of my knowledge to those kids. It was at Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles and the principal of the school had kindly said I could teach as a volunteer. I started going in once or twice a week, meeting with a group of eight girls, all facing life sentences for serious crimes. I will never forget the first time they came to sit at the table together. They were suspicious and surly. And curious but not wanting to show it too much.
Many were enemies on the street. Yet the magic of the writing table was so powerful that as they started to share their stories, they began to realize their commonalities rather than what tore them apart. They explored this honestly in their writing and conversations together at that table. Many became friends.
To see what is happening now is not only disheartening but extremely dangerous. To see those in government constantly reminding the public how we are not the same, regurgitating the past over and over, digging deep into wounds that were well on the way to healing, is not what we need, in my humble opinion.
To hear how anyone supporting Trump is likened to ISIS, or that Trump supporters need to be “deprogrammed” is chilling. Just as happened after 9/11, this new war on terror is being used to justify even greater censorship, a crackdown on individual rights and even a call for good citizens to inform on their neighbors and family members.
It is folly to think one half of the country can silence the other half, or force them to think differently. And it is incredibly self-righteous and close-minded to think one has that right anyway. We are all worthy of respect and we should be able and willing to listen to one another, no matter how much we think we are different. Once we listen, we find we are more the same than not.
If this had happened from the beginning, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today. That’s what I firmly believe. Again, I hold the press greatly responsible for creating what now looks like an impassable divide. I really hope this backlash dies down and people can look at their neighbors with understanding and acceptance rather than fear and disdain. I’ve gone off social media, stopped engaging on Facebook, because I cannot condone the language I see. The disturbing hatred and divide, hiding behind words written by people who now rarely leave their houses and more and more only engage with one another virtually. It’s very easy when you don’t sit down face to face, as we did at the writing table. for demons to grow where once there were people of flesh and blood just like us that we had to interact with, jostled on the bus, or arguing with at the office, or sharing a meal with at a restaurant. Those days are gone. And one thing I know from personal experience is that once those in power get more power, they rarely give it up. So, unless people start really objecting, nothing is going to change.
And maybe that’s as it should be. Maybe the “new normal” is as it should be. Maybe a hundred years from now we will all be part technology, with implants and it will all be a better path for humans. We will be on our way to inhabiting other planets.
Oops. I don’t want to be accused of pushing any conspiracy theories here. Sorry, I have an imagination and it goes all over the place and I like to express it. I hope I can continue to do so.