I remember fondly some of the professors who attempted to teach me the concepts in various courses that I took when I went to the university I attended as an undergraduate. Several mentioned that changing times would compel us to make changes in the way we live and our roles in the society we inhabit.
I remember, too, confronting the wisdom of those professors, the truths that they were presenting to us as we sat in their classes trying to understand what they were lecturing about.
As I grew older and experienced some of those changes, I often talked to my friends about the problems that I was experiencing in finding a job I had chosen for my career; I was experiencing some of the difficulties that my professors had talked about years before.
I think about all of this when I view how the society in which I live has changed. Just one of those changes was growing up in a society that depended on the radio for transmission of information and moving to computers for that information. That change impresses upon me how this society has changed so much in my lifetime and has required changes in the way I live.
One of those changes requires me to be alert to the way I obtain information. A good example is the Jan. 6 uprising at the nation’s Capitol. Donald Trump has maintained that the election was stolen from him, and took his claims to the courts many times since the election. He did not get any court to agree with his contention that the election was stolen from him; Trump lost each time he went to court because he had no evidence to support his claims.
These consistent losses have not deterred him from continuing to claim that the election was stolen, as columnists Calvin Woodward, Colleen Long and David Klepper point out in a recent article in The Los Angeles Times. The columnists point out that Trump and his acolytes have used basic propaganda tools in their attempts to convince the public that the election was stolen. They write, “It is rooted in the basic formula of potent propaganda through the ages; say it loud, say it often, say it with the heft of political power behind you and people will believe. Once spread by pamphlets, posters and word of mouth, now spread by the swipe of a finger, the result is the same – a passionate, unquestioning following.”
This glorification of your point of view and trashing your opponents’ is certainly not new. The famous novelist and writer George Orwell, many years ago argued that propaganda has been used for centuries to persuade people and to convince them of the righteousness of whatever cause is being supported.
Trump has consistently and constantly referred to the rigged election and other trite phrases to describe how the election was stolen. As so often has happened in trying to convince the public of the rightness of their cause, what occurs with sickening repetition is the acceptance of whatever belief is being put forth – in this instance the idea that the election was stolen from Trump – and then having accepted the truth of those lies about the election, there is no convincing them otherwise. Those who accept the lies as truth will not accept the idea that the lies are falsehoods and often accuse those who are trying to help see them as falsehoods of being duped and as part of the conspiracy.
It now appears what Trump and his supporters will continually repeat the same phrases when describing the presidential election of 2020. Should Trump decide to run for president in 2024, I don’t think it will be a surprise, should he lose, that you will be hearing some of the same phrases from Trump and his supporters again, whatever the evidence about the election shows.
Author and educator Dave Kaplan writes from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.