It’s the damned thing! If you ever doubt the power of conditioning and programming people through group think, what I’m about to present to you in this article should serve as a crystallizing awakening. Do you know why Democrats and Republicans call their most ardent followers and unflinching loyalists their base? It’s a demeaning form of labeling where the powerful cast aspersions at their fanatics only for the people who are being insulted to turn around and wear contemptuous epithets as a source of pride.
I honestly don’t think people think before they accept the labels they are given. Let’s break down the word base for a minute. The base is a foundation of a structure; the bedrock on which structures and organizations are built. When someone refers to you as their base, it’s not an endearing term but a most dismissive ad hominem meant to transform human beings into statistics and abstractions. In other words, Democrats, Republicans and the punditry in the media-politico complex are calling their most ardent supporters the stepping stools of the establishment.
Instead of being repulsed by this type of elitism, the “commoners” embrace these abusive terms as their identity. The level of Pavlovian subservience too many of us have to the ruling class is truly sublime. To wit, we elevate the people game the system to profit at our expense the “elites” while we call ourselves the bottom 99%. Throughout history, the poor, working and middle-class have time and again prostrated themselves only to honor the very people who are the source of our suffering. I don’t know what it is about humanity where the vast majority of the population worship the rich and famous as idols while lowering ourselves into economic bondage.
There are many reasons for our servility to the aristocracy; we are conditioned from childbirth to respect authority and to defer to people who have status. This form of brainwashing starts in elementary school and continues throughout adulthood. As technology evolves, the more we devolve into the shackles of serfdom and dependency. Social media and corporate propaganda that is passed off as a free press steadily feed us a diet of insufficiency and meekness. The end result is breathtaking; our inherent strength as individuals is sucked out and replaced with collective docility. To say that humans are sheep is an insult to ewes and rams alike; the way opinion leaders are able to incite the public through manufactured outrage and galvanize counterfeit movements is astonishing!
I’m not writing this from a place of piety; if I realize how indoctrinated we are as a people, it’s only because a rude awakening sponsored by indigence woke me up to the deception of our politics. After all, I’m the same guy who not too long ago was a most devoted follower of Obama and broke my back to get the “first black president” elected. I used to see everything through a political lens, including calling myself the base of the Democratic party. I look back now in utter disbelief at how much I let political idol worshiping warp my mind. I once traveled to sixteen states as an unpaid volunteer to “turn Congress blue” while donating thousands of dollars to Obama for America.
It never dawned on me how much I was letting the Democrat party use me as a useful idiot as they advanced their agenda while using the plight of the impoverished and neglected as their corporate billboards. I remember phone banking in multiple campaign offices across America and the instructions we were given when staffers gave us names from the Voter Activation Network (VAN) to call. Potential voters were ranked according to their level of enthusiasm for a party or a candidate. The most loyal Democratic voters and Obama supporters were ranked 1 and those who made it known that they had no interest in voting for him were ranked 5.
We were told to treat 1s no different than 5s, to disregard both ends of the spectrum and focus only on registered voters who were given a rank of 3 or 4. These were people who were leaning to another candidate or were ambivalent but were persuadable. In politics, people who are uncommitted are treated like gold while devotees are treated like shit. Alas, there are layers to this absurdity. As more and more people get fed up with the duopoly and realize the corrupt nature of both parties, the only people who remain vested in the brokenness of our politics are the very people who are maltreated by their political gods. The direction of our country and national conversations are being dictated by zealots. The same people who are derided as the base put on their pompoms and lead chants for the parties who are bludgeoning them—ra ra sis boom broke! Click To Tweet
The definition of insanity is to do the same thing continuously only to keep hoping for change. However, I must demure on this front; to call our politics crazy is to be unkind to the insane. We have become a bipolar society where we swing erratically from left to right each time one party kneecaps the public with their malicious policies. Eight years after Bush lied us into two wars and led us over the economic cliff, we were convinced a new day had arrived by way of a historical candidacy only for Barack to out-Bush W. Obama’s audacity was boundless; he saved the criminals on Wall Street while giving empty speeches and meaningless gestures to the victims of the banking mafia. Eight years after the First Bank President gave tens of trillions of dollars to the oligarchy and cratered the earning power of the poor, working and middle-class, we pivoted to a reality talk show clown to be our new political savior.
Observing the lunacy of our politics is at once sad, comical and ironic. When I was in the midst of hopelessness and living on a farm mission in Wellington, Colorado, I read Walden by Henry David Thoreau that became a defining moment in my journey to disavow political tribalism. In the section titled Economy, Walden noted how men, since the days of Pharaohs, have offered their backs as bases on which rulers built their self-serving monuments:
“As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.”
Three thousand years after the Kemet empire disintegrated driven by hubris and nepotism, we see it fit to walk like Egyptians right into the chasm of societal emulation. We refuse to learn from the past; we too degrade ourselves by bowing before Democrat and Republican Pharaohs when we should be throwing both ideologies into the Potomac River and reclaiming our government from the boobies who have turned our country into a pyramid scheme.
During the 2016 elections alone, feminists who supported Hillary Clinton openly referred to themselves as “nasty women” while Donald Trump supporters were proud to call themselves “the Deplorables“. We are so vested in lionizing the upper crust of society that we are willing to debase ourselves if that means we can find acceptance with fellow nihilists. There is no redemption to be found in this, when we put ideologies above ideas and devalue ourselves in the process, what we get is a government that treats us accordingly.
We live in a country where the poor who steal driven by hunger are jailed in and the rich who commit mass theft motivated by greed are bailed out. Instead of focusing on these malfeasance and iniquities that are bleeding our planet, we would rather take each other to the woodshed. So busy focused on what we are, we have forgotten who we are and the commonality of pains and the common hopes that bind all of us as one. Tragically, we let identities and ideologies get in the way of our common humanity. As the upper strata of society thrive through our disunion, we keep suffering apart.
Just pause and consider the following developments. The left is currently agitating for gun control and being stirred into action by political hacks like Nancy Pelosi and the liberal establishment who are concurrently pushing us closer and closer to our collective annihilation by demanding a confrontation with Russia. Meanwhile, the right—who once thought they cornered the market on patriotism—are currently bear hugging Putin in order to defend the treasonous actions of Trump. The only consistency in politics is moral inconsistency; people will jump from issue to issue in ways that would impress kangaroos in order to stay true to their dogmas.
All the while, the gentry laugh at us. We have turned America into the Roman empire as the affluent sit in their private boxes and watch political gladiators declare wars on each other for the sake of defending people we will never meet and taking arrows for ideologies that don’t pay our rents. In your travels through DC, go to Old Ebbitt Grill when you get a minute. There you will find Democrat and Republican lawmakers and their staffers alike rubbing elbows with one another as they sip their Chablis and eat their shucked blue oysters. When it comes to money and power, the establishment don’t care an iota about the principles and ideologies they convince us to fight and die for. The debased in the District of Caligula only care about making more cash and advancing their private interests.
It’s high time we stop being the stepping stones of these two equally bankrupt political parties. As I noted in the “Break the Duopoly“, we must find a way to disband both parties—who are really parasites feeding on our Republic and feasting on our hopes—and empower our communities instead. More importantly, we must stop letting the rich and wealthy impose their ideologies on us and labeling us as if we are their pets. There is a reason I disavow the word black and African after all; I know the origins of these words and the intentions behind why they were given to us. In the same light, perhaps now is the time to stop finding identity through labels. As Bob Marley once said, we must free our minds of mental slavery—we are not the base of anybody! #WeAreNotTheirBase
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
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DMV Event: How Overcome Can Overcome Oppression
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, 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. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
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