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Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power

Photo by Dryhead | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Dryhead | CC BY 2.0

 

Fear is the key word for this presidential election.  There is the fear of the Republican candidate Donald Trump as we all know.  But I also think there is another fear. It’s the fear of accepting what this country has become.

Martin Luther King Jr. accurately described the US government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” As a result, he wasn’t only killed physically, but his legacy as an anti-imperial revolutionary was also put to death.  He was systematically demonized before the killing and his determination to confront the imperial war machine was subsumed (in effect whitewashed) by his  image as a great civil rights leader.  Many of his contemporaries, probably the most brilliant, insightful and humanistic people to emerge from the US, have been assassinated and imprisoned.

A half century later, the US wields over 1000 military bases across the globe while over half of the federal tax goes for military spending.  Currently it engages in eight wars.  It also surrounds nuclear armed Russia and China while aggressively provoking both nations economically and militarily.  There is no MLK or Malcolm X today, but there is the first black commander in chief who jokes about drone killings.

A Nobel Peace Prize winner is responsible for commanding the eight wars mentioned above.  The country of freedom, equality and liberty is number one in mass incarceration, police killings, and mass surveillance.  Perhaps this might be the worst time to wake up and realize that what the government has been doing is the complete opposite of what it’s been saying.

According to Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, such a shift in one’s world view causes fragmentation of the self, which leads to an extreme expression of anger and desperate efforts in protecting and defending the crumbling “reality”.

For some people this momentum of anger and fear seems to merge directly with anger against Donald Trump together with unconditional support for the de facto power of establishment: Hillary Clinton.  They can divert the overflowing anger toward Trump while rebuilding their crumbling world by standing with Clinton, dutifully demonizing the good old cold war enemy Russia, erroneously calling the WikiLeaks founder a rapist, affirming American exceptionalism with conviction, and so on.  It is truly surreal to witness people turning into Russia-hating-angry-Americans who believe that American style democracy is exceptional and the nation should be led by a trusted imperialist with a proven record of spreading “democracy” with undemocratic means. However, it might not be a complete mystery after all.

I wonder if this psychological narrative was considered when the Democratic Party strategists conspired to promote Donald Trump as an extreme right wing conservative, as a “piped piper” candidate who would play the evil candidate against the “lesser evil” candidate Hillary Clinton.

Take a look at a Clinton supporter’s wall. You will notice a few emotionally charged angles that are prominent, which are designed to elicit highly emotional responses while covering up Clinton’s patriarchal policies of colonialism, corporatism and militarism:

1/ Trump’s misogyny, which, of course, functions to elevate “feminist” Clinton while covering up her patriarchal policies of wars and socioeconomic restructuring for the interests of the Wall Street bankers.

2/ Openly Russophobic remarks coupled with an alleged Trump connection to Russia. The demonization of Russians and portraying the Russian government as an illegitimate entity serve to prepare people for continuing economic and military pressure against Russia.  This has been particularly concerning for all of us who have followed the movements of NATO forces encroaching on Russia. It is not Russia exhibiting aggression, but it has been the NATO forces, with 10 times more military spending, provoking nuclear armed Russia. This angle elicits a strong emotional response from people who have been long conditioned with anti-soviet, anti-Communist propaganda long after the fall of the Soviet Union and its communist governance.  It also must be noted that it is simply appalling that Clinton has not presented any evidence for her claim that the Russian government has intervened in the presidential election, while the US has been officially engaging in political intervention of Russia through its Russian Democracy Act.

4/ Trump’s  disrespectful remarks against US veterans. Highlighting Trump’s remarks about veterans elevates Clintons status as a potential military leader. I have been surprised that people, who I thought would be aware of the violent imperialism of the US hegemony, which has destroyed over 22 million lives across the globe while destroying domestic social programs and social safety nets, are so willing to go along with Clinton’s pro war position. Clinton has been literally in support of all the US colonial wars and continues to provoke Russia and China with aggressive remarks.

The US presidential election is a great tool of imperialism to turn good Americans into fervent nationalists dangerous to all humans on the planet.

I urgently ask readers to consider our predicament being trapped in this scheme devised to perpetuate the rule of the extreme minority with enormous wealth and power.

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Hiroyuki Hamada is an artist. He has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe and is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. In 1998 Hamada was the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, and in 2009 he was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He lives and works in New York.

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