Some Food For Thought

A friend on Facebook shared this thought provoking essay.

This is a must read!!
From Heather Richardson, professor of History at Boston College:
“I don’t like to talk about politics on Facebook– political history is my job, after all, and you are my friends– but there is an important non-partisan point to make today.
What Bannon is doing, most dramatically with last night’s ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries– is creating what is known as a “shock event.”
Such an event is unexpected and confusing and throws a society into chaos. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order.
When opponents speak out, the authors of the shock event call them enemies. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event.
Last night’s Executive Order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it.
Predictably, chaos has followed and tempers are hot.
My point today is this: unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one’s interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people who might otherwise come together so they cannot stand against something its authors think they won’t like.
I don’t know what Bannon is up to– although I have some guesses– but because I know Bannon’s ideas well, I am positive that there is not a single person whom I consider a friend on either side of the aisle– and my friends range pretty widely– who will benefit from whatever it is.
If the shock event strategy works, though, many of you will blame each other, rather than Bannon, for the fallout. And the country will have been tricked into accepting their real goal.
But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines. We could just as easily reorganize into a different pattern that threatens the people who sparked the event.
A successful shock event depends on speed and chaos because it requires knee-jerk reactions so that people divide along established lines. This, for example, is how Confederate leaders railroaded the initial southern states out of the Union.
If people realize they are being played, though, they can reach across old lines and reorganize to challenge the leaders who are pulling the strings. This was Lincoln’s strategy when he joined together Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, anti-Nebraska voters, and nativists into the new Republican Party to stand against the Slave Power.
Five years before, such a coalition would have been unimaginable. Members of those groups agreed on very little other than that they wanted all Americans to have equal economic opportunity. Once they began to work together to promote a fair economic system, though, they found much common ground. They ended up rededicating the nation to a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Confederate leaders and Lincoln both knew about the political potential of a shock event. As we are in the midst of one, it seems worth noting that Lincoln seemed to have the better idea about how to use it.”
If you’d like to share, COPY AND PASTE. DON”T “SHARE”

3 thoughts on “Some Food For Thought”

  1. You saw what happened:

    People came together and…the whole thing fell flat.

    A court got in the way of his shock event, also.

    The worst is yet to come with this bunch.

  2. Now that we have a little distance from the original event, the outlines of what happened seem clearer.

    I don’t believe that the new Administration meant for this to be a ‘shock event.’ Yes, there would be disruption, but the intent was simply to make good on a campaign promise.

    The actual policy decision is straightforward. The seven countries were identified as loci for potential terrorists by the Obama Administration; the law clearly gives the President discretion to deny entry. Moreover, the notion of ‘keeping Muslims out’ is questionable: most of the Muslim world lives in countries not affected by the executive order.

    As far as refugees, the whole notion that we should, at taxpayer expense, import tens of thousands of people from war-torn regions of the world to live here permanently, at the very least, should be a subject for reasoned debate, and not accepted as a given.

    Sadly, though, the Administration went off half-cocked. At the very least, they should have acknowledged that permanent residents (‘green card’ holders) have already been as vetted as they’re likely to be, and should be allowed to return to the US. And the after-the-fact posturing (‘It’s a ban.’ ‘No, it isn’t.’) just made the new leadership look foolish.

    Hopefully, they’ll learn and do better the next time.

  3. Bannon is a racist, there’s no question about that. That’s not making a blanket statement, but rather a fact. Sure, there is a point with restricting who we allow in, I’ve stated that time and again that we can’t let in people who will be unproductive (and this is many countries, I’ve met people from Eastern European who came to abuse the system).

    I’ve said it before, but we need to come together and fight the nasty people. People like Trump and his kind thrive on inciting people so they can rob us blind. That’s what it is, he’s a con artist who uses people for his benefit. Hitler was the same way and instead of showing what was happening was blaming the Jews. Trump blames Muslims and Mexicans. He’s bringing out the racists who blames others for the problems. History shows us this leads to war.

Leave a Reply