My mind is preoccupied with the misery of the USA Presidential Election which close to half of its population did not bother to vote, leaving the minority of Republicans to snatch away the election from an opportunity to give victory for the first time to a woman. As neither candidate had any great popularity with the public, breaking the “glass ceiling” would have been at least been a great moment in history.
Instead the art of rhetoric became the real winner of the election.
The Oxford Dictionary’s first definition of the word is:
“The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques”
Then came the 1.1 “Language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content”
I would like to offer my version, a 1.2 if you will;
“The art of bold faced lying to anyone who will listen without shame or moral conscious.”
At 91, I seem to remember that lying was one of the most heinous acts anyone could commit. Honesty was part of who you were as a person and in my case, driven onto me from childhood onward.
We always knew that politicians would speak in “half truths” or be “misinformed at the time” or even “to the best of my recollection…” but now the veiled attempt at being honest has completely gone out the window. Society has not only given it’s blessing, but welcomed the ‘rhetoric/lie’ with open arms. We have shared it across the internet, embellished it, rationalized it, justified it, become violent defending it, but won’t call it what it is, lies.
To make the rhetoric/lie even more palatable we have created the “Fact-Check” where anyone can go and check the validity of any statement. The problem with this is, the gullible already believe the lie and won’t bother checking and for those that do look find the Fact-check to be littered with the words true, false or “partially factual” and “Acceptable if you consider…” which just comes down to rationalizing the rhetoric/lie.
So now you have Donald Trump, a business man, billionaire, who masterfully, without shame, used the art of rhetoric to win the U.S. presidential election. Is no one offended? I do not speak of whether you are a Democrat or Republican, man or woman, race or religion, but to you as a human being, do you not remember what it felt like being lied to?
Accepting rhetoric without moral outrage has opened the doors to a decline of ourselves as a society. Remember the phrase, “The end justifies the means”? That is precisely what we have done. We have made the lie an acceptable part of our culture because we became obsessed with our own agenda. We forgot to look out for each other. We accepted disrespect toward women. We blamed an entire religion and a culture because the rhetoric said so.
The damage is done and I wonder how long it will take to recover. For the moment those immortal words on the American Constitution are more a source of embarrassed uneasiness rather than that of an inspiration, “We the people…”
The Americans are not getting the message. The ISIS rebels are murderers, trying to tear the world apart, as jihadists to fulfill Mohammed’s call to fight infidels. There is a split message in the Islam religion, as there was in Christianity centuries ago – a fight against non-believers as a mission sanctioned by Allah.
We are all from the same ancestry of an Abrahamic religion. We recognize the same God in the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Each has fought for the truth, and each, at times, has slaughtered non-believers. But we have overcome, with tolerance and an acceptance of diversity, the same source of moral law. We are not at war with Islam! Why then do we identify it as ‘Islamic terrorism’?
We allow ISIS to use the Internet, to post the cruelest pictures of execution, waving their flag on top of military vehicles and tanks, intimidating the rest of the world, while recruiting immature minds. Everybody knows by now that aerial bombing will not defeat ISIS, but training the local population to become fighting forces is worth nothing if there is not the will instilled into them to defend their people, including women and children.
And there is the most obviously missing part – to build a counteractive Internet program for Western women of all colours and religions, training and educating them specifically to use their acting talents and sweet voices, to become knowledgeable in broadcasting, like the incredibly dedicated CNN anchorwoman, Erin Burnett. The message of peace must be delivered in a concerted mission by women – teachers, theologians, politicians, broadcasters, mothers – in a mobilized, relentless Internet barrage of messages, propagating the rights and denouncing the wrongs of humanity.
It is within the power of womanhood to defeat the recruitment methods of ISIS and to stop their drive of the world towards an Apocalypse Now.
History teaches us to look back and consider what might have been done better. In the nineteenth century, with the Industrial Revolution, international commerce was flourishing, the British Empire was spanning the globe, and territories were ruled by emperors and kings who could all relate to each other. But it all fell apart with the First World War. At its end, the victors created a flawed peace treaty in Versailles, one of the most important and controversial conditions of which required ‘Germany to accept the responsibility for causing all loss and damage’ during the war. The punitive figure, roughly the equivalent of US $442 billion, was excessive and counter-productive, and Germany’s inability to pay the fine led to a decision of an indefinite postponement of reparations due at the Lausanne Conference of 1932.
The decision came too late. The vanquished state of Germany came under the spell of the radical movement of the Nazi party. Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and immediately proceeded to eliminate all political opposition and to consolidate Germany’s heads-of-power titles to one; Hitler became sole dictator and supreme leader of Germany, legitimized by national referendum in 1934.
On the other hand, facilitated by Germany, the Russian Communist Revolution took place in 1917, removing Russia from the war and transforming the Russian state into the world’s first Communist dictatorship, displacing its traditional monarchical system. Following Vladimir Lenin in the mid 1920s, Joseph Stalin became the most brutal dictator in human history.
Nevertheless, after Hitler unleashed his power, starting the Second World War in 1939 against Poland, followed by the invasion of France, and an attempt to defeat England in the Battle of Britain, his invasion of Russia was the beginning of his end. Russia prevailed, with massive military aid from the Allied countries, only to later face its former allies in a Cold War and with the threat of nuclear arms.
The war-weary European nations had but one chance; not to repeat the blunder of Versailles, but to rebuild all of Europe, including Germany and its allies. It was the great General, who later became U.S. Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, who had the wisdom and compassion to commit the United States of America to his plan as outlined in a speech he delivered at Harvard University in June 1947. Marshall said, “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.” As Secretary of State, Marshall devoted the United States to the development of a recovery plan for all of Europe, including its own former enemies, the Marshall Plan, for which he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The German people, appreciating the chance, dug themselves out of the rubble and diligently made the best use they could of the Marshall plan to bring about a Wirtschafts Wunder, an economic miracle.
Now, fast forward to after we have weathered the Cold War with Russia, when the threat of annihilation by their atomic bomb has been peacefully resolved. The Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in a series of summit talks with President Ronald Reagan between 1985 and 1988, improved relations with the U.S. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms limitation treaty was signed in 1987, and by 1989,
Gorbachev had sanctioned the end of the Communist monopoly on political power in Eastern Europe. For his contributions to the reduction of East-West political tension, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.
In the meantime, the Middle East became embroiled in a war, instigated by the dictator of Iraq with the invasion of Kuwait. In March 2003, U.S. forces invaded Iraq, vowing to destroy their weapons of mass destruction and end the dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein. Hussein was captured, tried and hanged, and democratic elections followed. In the years since, there have been over 4,700 deaths of U.S. and allied troops, and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops left Iraq in its traditional condition of tribal dispute. Instead of the necessary pacification between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, animosities flared into a chaotic aftermath. The formerly oppressed Shiites took revenge on the Sunnis, who in turn made the uprisings of the barbaric Islamic state and ISIS possible, to spread anarchy in Iraq and Syria with no end in sight.
The disturbing events in January 2015, brought about the realization that the threat of another world war by Islamic terrorists, with infiltration of suicide bombers, is impossible to defeat with conventional armies. It needs a new mindset, a new Enlightenment, with a universal peace mission, designed and instigated with foreign aid, to rebuild with economic aid, as well as the effort of moderate Islamic communities, to bridge the divides of various tribes.
This concerns the great indignation of Eric Thomas Bolling, a conservative American television personality who specializes in financial news and political commentary. He is the co-host of Fox News Channel’s early evening talk show, The Five.
Bolling objected to President Obama’s comments in an earlier White House Prayer Breakfast Speech, wherein the President compared the current Islāmic uprising in the Middle East, radical Muslim jihadists killing innocents in the name of Allah, to Christians of nearly a thousand years past. Bolling went on to reveal his twisted knowledge of history: “And yet when you take Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, whatever, their combined killings in the name of religion – well, that would be zero.”
Bolling’s ignorance is appalling. Christians fought a thirty-year war in Europe, mainly in present-day Germany, between the years of 1618 and 1648 which killed 20% of its population in a mass slaughter which was not to be equaled until World War II. The Holy Inquisition, the darkest side of Christian history which started in 1478 and raged on for a period of 300 years, is still called the foulest crime and deepest shame of Western civilization. An estimated four million women were killed in witch hunts, burned at the stake or drowned in caged baskets, convicted of being temptresses of men.
Let me tell you, the United States, the most powerful nation on Earth, is not always appreciated for its lack of diplomacy. There have been enough blunders made by hawks which could not be righted by doves. And at home, democratic culture has not been supported regularly. The USA had its slavery, its KKK movements, and today, a creeping culture of university campus sexual assaults and gang rape.
Before I turn this into a long-winded rant, I’ve attached the news reports and let you be the judge. Paralyzing stupidity?