The Age of Paranoia

By: Michael Parrish

MIKE PARRISH IS A CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, A POLITICAL ENTHUSIAST AND AN INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR THE US SENATE SEAT FOR ALABAMA IN 2020.

Are we living in the Age of Paranoia?

    Of course, paranoia has been around as long as people have had things to worry about.  We all expereince it to some degree, but for some it becomes the default status. For some, it becomes all consuming.. and it seems that we are seeing it with more regularity.

    If we look at the majority of the paranoia we see today we find that much of it is related to politics.. as does so much else.   Too often a wild accusation or claim will be floated and the paranoia causes some to automatically believe. Automatically fear. And can we expect anything else?  Our politicans run on it. Our media peddles it. Our citizens fall prey to it.

    But how did we get here?  How did we come to this point?  

    In recent years the general public has become enthralled in politics.  Well, not so much politics as political theatre. Similar to pro wrestling enthusiasts, we tune in to find out what mud will be slung.  We wiat to see just how one will try to damage another. We find the facts and details boring, but the infighting enthralling. We pick teams.  We become vested in conflict that is not our own. Beyond that, we have come to take the animosity or our favorite team as our own.

    Knowing this, is it really any surprise that we tend to jump on any opportunity to give ourselves more reason to dislike the other team?  To hate them? When we already have so much animosity from our preconceived notion it’s only natural that we seek out reasons to prove out beliefs.  This doesn’t make it any more factual, it only comforts us by keeping us from questioning our deeply held notions. It also keeps us divided through nothing more than casual insults and insinuations.

    Recently, we say this on display with the Blue Team presidential candidates.  After a rift began to grow between Tulsi Gabbard and the Blue Team national organization over what she saw as unfair election practices it didn’t take long before the absolutely absurd notion arose that she was a “Russian asset”.  This is not the first time that we’ve heard this accusation but it was the first time that we saw it used to attack a Blue Team member. Before this claim Tulsi Gabbard was a popular candidate and by many measures she still is. However, we also saw a considerable amount of people vaicing belief in the story.  Even now, you can check out comment sections and see those who are talking about here Russian affiliations. There is literally no evidence to back this up, but still it persists. This is due to the fact that the last three years have been spent by some coloring Russia as the boogeyman behind every political wrongdoing that has been found or fabricated.  Even during the current impeachment trial which has nothing to do with Russia we find the country being thrown in casually just to keep tensions running high.  

    This is by design.

    It’s a simple plan.  You see, we have a long stretch of time where politicians don’t really have any ideas of what to do to effectively solve any of our countries problems.  So, if you want a position that requires pragmatic problem solving but don’t really have any idea of how to solve those problems.. what do you do? You create an image of your opponent as a boogeyman.  You build a reputation for them that is so vile.. so unacceptable that your followers will not only continue to follow, but feel righteous in doing so. Make them see it as a moral imperative that they stand by your side in casting out those who stand against you.  It’s brilliant.  

    It’s also dangerous.

    The unforeseen consquences, or perhaps accepted consequences, are disruptions of civilized society.  Just what we have now. People who cast out friends and family over political differences. People who now believe others MUST be racist or communist or any number of other things even though they may have known them for their entire lives and have plenty of reason to believe otherwise.  We’ve let our politicians, media and other big voices make us doubt what we know in deference to what we hear from those we have never met. It’s the same propaganda ploy used to tear apart societies for years untold. Even knowing this we are falling for it all over again.  

    This IS the Age of Paranoia.

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