As we near a “historical” election day, the amount of friction and vitriol is increasing to a point of exhaustion. It is nearly impossible to scroll through social media or watch a “news” segment without seeing fellow citizens bashing each other and extoling the virtues of their party while insulting anyone who is not in their tribe. The slicing and dicing of America has reached a fever pitch; people who are struggling are conditioned to blame others who are also suffering while elevating politicians and pundits who sit atop a system that is stepping on everybody’s neck.
When I was in college, I wrote a paper on how European colonizers fomented tribalism in Africa in order to subdue the entire continent. The playbook is pretty simple; fracture a nation along ethnic lines, elevate one group above the rest and then emotionally manipulate all in order to destabilize society and create social strife. The fraction of tribe that is in power is given status and privilege and an implicit deal is made, support the colonizers’ thievery and the elevated tribe remains in power. The “in-group”, even if most are dirt poor and struggling with the rest, nonetheless worship their stature so much that they blindly support the tribal junta in power and in return remain silent as the country is sucked dry by foreign mercenaries and home grown opportunists.
The colonizers then turn to the marginalized tribes and give them guns and hoodwink with tribal grievances so that they fight their countrymen and disregard the vultures who are robbing the nation blind. Liberation fronts, which always end up enslaving their followers, are armed to the teeth and encouraged to topple dictators only to turn around and implement their own brand of dictatorship. While everyone is suffering and countries that have enough resources to enrich all are instead turned into a beggar nation, colonizers make off with billions and enrich multinational corporations. This playbook of colonization is still being used to this day to fleece Africa, including my birthland Ethiopia where “ethnic federation” has literally Bantustanized the entire country.
This weekend alone, over 200 Ethiopians were gunned down only for this heinous act to be condemned through the context of ethnicity. Ethiopians, who were once so united that they were able to defeat would-be colonizers countless times throughout history, have been so indoctrinated by ethnocentrism that they are now doing to themselves what Italians could not do at Adwa. Vile opportunists like Jawar Mohammed and his ilk take to social media daily to inflame the passions of Oromo, Amhara, Tigray, Somali and other ethnic groups and to convince them that their foes are not the ones stealing our resources but the ones who are being stolen from. This is how nations are destroyed, it’s not so much by the bullets of outsiders as much as it is by the cancer of internal hostility.
What I wrote about Ethiopia and Africa writ large is not something that is only taking place in the continent of humanity’s birth, the same blueprint has been used in America for decades if not since her inception. Except here the tribes are not based solely on ethnic groups but on manufactured identities. Labels like black and white, left and right, Democrat and Republican and an endless list of affiliations are propagated by the establishment and then demagogues elevated that cater to the frustrations of each group in order to gin up resentments and splinter the country along tribal lines.
Politics is not the symptom, it is the disease itself. Every four years, our rage is riled up and our resentment stoked by grifters in expensive suits pretending to care about us when all along they are lining their pockets. They campaign on promises that they will NEVER fulfill and cry fake tears for our burdens only to head to DC and forget about us the minute the last votes are counted. The bickering between Democrats and Republicans are all distortions, they fight in the public but in private they are chummy and work for the same oligarchs. How many times are we going to keep falling for the same tricks before we wake up to their lies?
While the wealth gap continues to explode irrespective of which party is in power, as we continue to bomb nations that never attacked us, as our civil liberties continue to erode, as the cost of healthcare continues to skyrocket and the working and middle class are being shredded in order to enrich the 1%, Americans disregard policies and instead attack each other. It’s the damnedest thing, while most are living paycheck to paycheck and the average savings of the bottom 90% is near zero, instead of uniting to demand accountability and a government that actually works for us, most people expend their energies castigating others who are likewise going through distress.
It’s sad, we are fighting about who has the privilege of eating the bigger crumbs or berating the impoverished for being “freeloaders” while the few are literally grinding all of us into financial dust. Click To Tweet Mainstream media are the main drivers of this treachery; under the guise of news, they balkanize America and manufacture animosity. This is not to diminish the fact that outrage is taking place on a regular basis, however we are programmed by opinion leaders to understand these injustices through the lens of tribe instead of realizing that we are all being pillaged irrespective of the labels we glom on to.
People are losing families over politics, friendships are being broken over snake oil salesmen who peddle grievance porn and neighbors are turning on neighbors defending parties that are working behind closed doors for the same billionaire class who leverage their power to mandate policies that favor them and decimate everyone else. America is spiraling into chaos as violent clashes along racial and political lines are being normalized. What once seemed impossible is now talked about openly as a social breakdown that could witness open conflict between Americans seems like a distinct possibility.
Before this tragic occurrence takes place, we should really think twice about where we are headed as a nation. Blaming each other and fighting over affiliations is not a democracy, it a sign of cultism. Just know this, people with blue checkmarks and opinion leaders who are given platforms have zero interest in your welfare, they are just using people’s suffering as props and carving out a following by catering to people’s pains.
The surest way to make a name for yourself and garner an audience is to incite the emotions of people along identity, while this makes money for the peddler, it only makes a solution impossible for we the people. Don’t fall for their lies, the problem is not someone with a different shade of skin or someone who does not think like you, if you want to know the source of injustice and inequality, follow the money instead of lashing out at someone who is struggling just like you.