I see it clearly in retrospect and shake my head in disbelief that I used to fall for it. What I realize now, after a mean mugging by reality, is this simple fact: just because some people speak to your anger does not mean they care about your plight. In the age of never ending bitterness and grievances that are peddled to split society apart, demagogues have become as common as smart phones and selfies. These whisperers of antipathy are found on both sides of the political aisle and all sides of the social divide, a system that thrives on dividing people makes it a priority to enrich pyromaniacs who light fires and walk away.
The people I’m talking about are the politicians and pundits who have perfected the art of insincerity in order to incite the public. Injustice hunting has become a lucrative sport to these establishment voices, they selectively push outrage not to ameliorate human suffering but to advance their financial self-interests. I used to think only Republicans and hatemongers like Limbaugh and Hannity antagonized their followers, once I shed my political blinders, I see that this incitement hustle has been monetized by all sides. Opinion leaders are given incentive to stir us into anger and shepherd us into the ghettos of antipathy in order to keep us perpetually divided.
These people are interlopers who pretend to be for us when they are really getting paid by the same excesses they supposedly speak against—they have no problem creating dissension in order to elevate their status. Sadly, too many of us take the bait and run with it as we hurl hatred to other people who struggle just like us. We have become crabs in a barrel who prefer to claw at each other instead of clawing at the barrels that imprison humanity. If the oppressed put aside our differences and demanded equity without bias to any, we would all be better for it. Instead,we expend the precious energy that we have and dissipate our collective power by insisting on fighting for just us and aborting justice in the process.
Donald Trump is not an outlier but a projection of the zeitgeist we live in. People get driven into a collective rage at his hateful rants and derisive rhetoric only to double down on his obnoxiousness by spewing yet more hate into the ether. Martin Luther King once said that hate does not drive out hate, only love can do that. We cast aside his sage advice and emulate the very toxic behaviors that we find abhorrent. Society slowly submerges into the abyss of an revenge and retribution; the few who lord over us cast aside their differences to work on a common agenda of greed while the rest of us are driven into the gutters of distress.
There to lead us into this dead end of acrimony are media personalities who are given a platform to keep us continually enraged. The public flocks to them with the mistaken belief that folks who unleash fire and fury into the public square are truth tellers speaking against power. But if you inspect some of the most renowned wedge issue champions, you would realize that they are speaking half truths through one dimensional prisms. The status quo loves people who limit their indignation to political and ideological lanes, when was the last time you saw a pundit on TV speak against the policies of endless wars, wealth transference from many to a few and the influence of the corporate aristocracy? The root source of most social issues is income inequality, the job of fire starters in politics and in media is to prevent the citizenry from understanding this. Click To Tweet
It is high time we stop feeding into this game of grievance and bitterness. I’m not saying that we should ignore the injustices of the world and put on a happy face for the sake of manufactured unity. There are many wounds we must tend to as people, but healing cannot be arrived at by lighting each other on fire. Moreover, let us resolve to stop getting distracted by politics and red meat issues, people who walk among us are feeling the heat too. If you want to take on injustice, stop aiming sideways because the source of our tribulation is coming from the top. I hope you reflect on these things, next time someone tries to agitate you into anger, ask yourself if that person will be around to help you put out the fire that they are trying to light. #SomeLightFires
“The rich rob the poor, and the poor rob one another.” ~ Sojourner Truth
The Ghion Journal is a reader and viewer funded endeavor. We disavow corporate contributions and depend only on the support of our audience to sustain us. The tip jar is earmarked to go directly to the writer, the link below is customized to directly to the author’s account. We thank you in advance for your kindness.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.