Confused by political jargon? Flummoxed by terms like “cultural postmodernism” and the “far left”? Trying to figure out what the heck is going on in America to bring us to the point where wearing masks in a deadly pandemic is seen as a political issue? Well, you’ve come to the right side of history! Here at Jay’s Declassified we analyze all the goings-on and what-not in culture and politics and we get into exactly what is happening that has created such a wacky world in 2020. This week’s “declassified” cultural phenomenon is something I like to call the political reality.
Why do Republicans and Democrats disagree so much? Why has it seemed like every year the opposing parties of right and left seem more polarized? We here at Jay’s Declassified have figured it out! You see political reality is a term that, funnily enough, has too much to do with politics and very little to do with reality. When things start to turn downhill, especially in the wake of massive global events such as climate change and economy-collapsing pandemics or even widespread police brutality, it becomes quite easy to convince people that a certain group is to blame. That is, that a certain group meant for this to occur and that this certain group is basically plotting the downfall of your family and/or everyone you love.
The political realities created by the right have come to shape the modern political climate, as numerous individuals on the right claim conspiracies such as “globalism,” or that Bill Gates is behind the Coronavirus, or go as far as to create myths such as Antifa being an organization or that any moderation of the current system that isn’t corporatism is outright socialist. All of these and more, such as conspiracies concerning George Soros, have one thing in common: they are old. In fact, one can date conspiracy theories about communist/socialist insurgencies all the way back to the 20th century.
So let’s look at that. From 1918 to 2020, the US has a staunch record of doing anything it can to prevent what can be perceived as “communism.” For decades the US has dedicated itself to fighting communism both at home and abroad, with 1951 bringing a landmark ruling in the case, Dennis v. the United States. In the case, it was ruled that limits on free speech and therefore censorship could be made legal in the case of work identified as communist, creating a precedent through which civil liberties could be eroded provided the creation of the right kind of fear, lacking reality except within politics. This was because communism presented “a rule threat to the US government” heralded by McCarthyism, a witch trial like situation in which unfounded fear of communism ripped a hole through both Hollywood and American civil liberties in one fell swoop. Since then, a majority of Democrats have tried to distance themselves from communism, given how demonized it is throughout American historical representation.
Forty five days after 9/11, the Patriot Act was signed and legalized, eroding American civil liberties such as the right to privacy as well as due process, to an extent, in response to the political reality that was created in the tragedy’s wake. This isn’t to state that 9/11 itself created a political reality but instead, the president at the time, as well as his willing cabinet, went forth to create a political reality almost identical to that of the red scare: they are going to destroy us if we do not destroy them first. With this “justification,” American blood was bought and sold with the currency acquired from showing individuals a skewed view of the world.
There is a new political reality that is the old paint on the new: “socialism is the new communism” and “Marxism is the new communism.” In reality though, there isn’t some cabal hell-bent on “destroying the country” nor is there any evidence to support mail-in voter fraud. There is no evidence of shadowy organizations funding protests or that Antifa is an organized bloc of socialists trying to subvert Congress.
This isn’t to say that the left does not also create political “realities.” Fomenting such belief is, after all, expedient in order to generate action that helps towards the desired goal. The question isn’t whether a political reality is false or not, as they usually present a slanted view of reality, but rather it’s a question of how slanted is this view of reality? And what is the end goal of the actions encouraged by the political reality created?
Political realities created by the left include the theories such as widespread police violence is a result of a consciousness born from a separation from the scales of justice, from a separation of checks and balances that would otherwise prevent people from acting in such widespread violent ways. Another is that America is built on the subjugation of conquered individuals, both Native Americans and African Americans. That the success of the American way was not built through hard work and ingenuity but with whip and gun, bullet, and stick.
It’s important to remember that political realities aren’t realities at all. They are ways to convince you how to act. They are tools used to generate action and sympathy or contempt and panic. For better or worse we can see the effects of the political reality the president has both risen from and propagated alongside the rise and increased violence from white supremacists and affiliated groups on the right. Further, it cannot be denied that leftist political reality has created friction between communities of citizens and law enforcement, as well as contributed to the alienation of both sides of the political spectrum.
Political “realities” are likely here to stay. They will always exist for either side of whoever desires to argue for this or that because the important part of political realities isn’t how factual they are but how much they can make you feel like you must act. This is the bottom line. Is this good or bad? That’s for you to decide.
Tune in next time for our segment on “dog whistles” or what I like to call “a criminal by any other name would be just a minority.”
Jay Pade is NGP’s Culture and Entertainment Editor–a perfect role for him as he loves to watch just about every movie he can get his hands on. He loves tirades about the political content of films and what they mean about the culture they were created in. In his free time he can usually be found playing a strategy game a decade or two older than he is…