As an independent journalist who does his own research, I often find myself buried in articles, videos, & social-media — if I’m not digging into political forums, I’m likely watching a press conference on YouTube or fact-checking the Washington Post (again). I’m not complaining, though — in fact, I enjoy most of it. A side-effect of digesting so much news, however, is that it becomes difficult to figure out how all of this — the news, I mean — looks to non-journalists. Like, how do people reading Yahoo! News see the world? I usually have no idea! To find out, I’ll often call friends to ask them what they think the news is saying. Another way I keep an eye on the mainstream-media’s bizarre version of reality is by subscribing to a lot of newsletters, which is where I stumbled upon the subject of this article — the democrats’ recent effort to re-brand their party & market themselves as “The Resistance.”
A Hip, New Style for Democrats
On December 26th, I received an email from MoveOn.org that claimed to be typed by Robert Reich, which I rightly assumed would again describe the dreadful fate we’re all about to suffer once Trump takes office — unless, of course, I can “chip in $5 monthly,” in which case everything will apparently be fine. I almost ignored it, to be honest — MoveOn always wants money and their emails rarely say anything interesting. The subject-line, however, caught my attention– “Join the Resistance,” it said. I wondered why it seemed I’d heard those words a lot, lately — and I had a feeling it wasn’t just because Rogue One was in theaters…
I searched my inbox for “resist OR resistance” and, sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed — since November 8th, I’d received 68 emails that associated democrats with “the resistance.” From MoveOn to Democracy for America & from ActBlue to Elizabeth Warren — every liberal newsletter seems eager to be part of the new “resistance.” As it turns out, Keith Olbermann — who, for those who don’t know, is the liberal version of Bill O’Reilly — has even changed the name of his show from “The Closer” to “The Resistance.” And why not? With the new Star Wars flick on the big-screen & a neo-fascist moving into the White House, the timing couldn’t be better!
At first, I thought it was stupid but sort of cute, in a way — then, after carefully considering the issue, it seemed neither stupid nor cute. It may actually be calculated &– possibly — effective.
The Democrats’ Refrain:
“Anything but Change!”
Once again, the democrats appear determined to learn nothing from the repeated defeats of the past year and party leaders, it seems, will do whatever it takes to avoid reform. The fact that the corruption exposed in the dems’ leaked emails probably cost them the elections seems to have had zero effect on them, as they continue to ignore millions of frustrated working-class voters, progressives, & young millennials — you know, the people who used to vote for them?
Instead of listening to what voters want — which, by the way, is how the republicans won — democrats continue to demonize Trump & the GOP, apparently hoping voters will see them as a less-horrible option. To compensate for ignoring voters who ( just like Trump’s voters ) say that current US policies aren’t working for them, democrats appear to be testing an anti-establishment “style” by re-branding their phony, corporatist party as the “Resistance.” Meanwhile, they’re still giving the finger to working-class voters by choosing Wall Street puppets like Chuck Schumer to lead democrats in the senate, while continuing to support officials who were caught cheating, lying, & then lying about cheating, like current DNC chair, Donna Brazile.
“Resisting” is a Verb
Sen. Sanders tried to explain that voters were resisting the corruption of the political establishment but the out-of-touch party leadership ignored his stunningly effective campaign. Regrettably, the only thing they’ve learned is that folks will donate tons of money to a campaign that convincingly appears “revolutionary.” That probably seems silly to most of us — but there’s a reason I said that these tactics may prove to be effective…
Marketing & propaganda — or “public relations,” as policy makers prefer — is a highly effective & sophisticated craft. If it didn’t produce results, companies wouldn’t spend billions on it — and it even works when people know they’re being targeted! Study after study tells us that slogans & statements that are repeated often will appear more credible to us. That’s why advertising seems to irritate people and convince them to buy a product at the same time. Propaganda doesn’t work because propagandists are smarter than the public — propaganda works because it leverages our cognitive biases & unconscious motives.
Democrats are the Empire —
You’re the Resistance
Media celebrities, like Keith Olberman, & far-reaching groups, like MoveOn & ActBlue, have started spreading this idea that democrats are the resistance, often with a capital “R.” Maybe they even believe it. But facts are facts and the democratic party is still the one that did everything in its power to suppress Bernie’s people-powered movement that probably would have saved us all the trouble by beating Trump in the election. It’s also the party that popularized drone-terrorism, deported more immigrants than Bush, persecutes whistle-blowers, & filled our prisons with people of color. Whatever they want to call themselves doesn’t matter — you will know them by looking at their actions.
Now, I want to be clear that I’m not telling people to quit using these words — I mean, we can’t let the establishment take Star Wars from us! I just want to see the words used well — that is, to fight the Empire, not to prop it up. We must remember that the actual resistance takes place outside of political parties & institutions — you’ll find it in places like Standing Rock, where tens-of-thousands have placed their bodies between the greed of a few & the water that is the life & the future of our children. Dead ideologies can’t contain it — but you have the power to express the resistance in the actions you choose to take against oppression, inequity, & injustice.
F#@% the democratic party — you’re the resistance.
P.S. Halfway through writing this article, I learned that Carrie Fisher had passed away and, since this article lovingly stole themes & images from Star Wars to examine the idea of ‘the Resistance,’ it seems appropriate to acknowledge her as a ‘resister,’ here. Not only did her portrayal of Leia resist the film industry’s gender-expectations but Fisher also bravely resisted our society’s stigmatization of addiction & mental illness.
Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher, and may the force be with you…
Other Recent Articles by John Laurits
US Elections, “Populism,” & the Growing Frustration w/ Capitalism (12/23)
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Trump’s Cabinet, Part II: Revenge of the Swamp Creatures! (12/13)
Counter-Propaganda Bill Quietly Creates US Propaganda Factory (12/11)
#DAPL Easement Denied & What That Means (12/4)
Real News or Fake News: Who Gets to Decide? (11/20)
Math Says Clinton Defeated Herself — Not Third-Parties (11/11)
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The US Media is as Guilty as the Police at Standing Rock (10/31)
US Claims Russia is Influencing the Election by Telling the Truth? (10/12)
How the 1% Rigged the Debates Against 3rd-Parties (9/20)
How Both Parties Ignore the Majority (9/14)
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