It often happens that we reach a point in the cultural and political realm where changes have to be made. Changes for which there is no turning back. In the past, it frequently took a couple decades for these to take effect—separated by the World Wars for example—but as soon as the culture wars started, some of us knew any changes would be permanent. Sprinkle in 20+ years of a Global War on Terror (GWoT) as well as images and propaganda constantly blasted to your phone, and those cultural and political changes no longer require decades. The 24-hour news cycle has succeeded in obliterating the anticipated decade of relative peace we often experienced.
With the start of the latest conflict between the Zionists and Hamas, we have seen an escalation in rhetoric that goes well beyond what we heard after 9/11. Of course, a good portion of the population wasn’t terminally online at that time as people were not walking around with immediate access to the internet in their pocket or purse. The current barrage of outright lies, half-truths, and vitriol at one’s fingertips allows for the rapid changes mentioned previously. The verbal assaults and bombastic “takes” from not only the punditry but even elected officials are something I don’t believe we can come back from. To borrow a phrase from 2020, this is the “new normal.”
When someone like Ben Shapiro calls for the leveling of Gaza with no regard for civilians, that’s to be expected. Anyone who has paid attention knows he cares more about Israel than he ever will about the United States. However, when sitting US Senator Tom Cotton tweets, “Anyone who claims to support the people of Gaza but not Hamas should remember that Gazans elected Hamas,” you should recognize that significant shifts have been made both culturally and politically. There is no way to interpret Senator Cotton’s statement other than he is sending the message that if civilians support a political entity that he doesn’t agree with, they are now to be considered enemy combatants. In other words, if Israel, or more likely an Israeli/American combined force, goes into Gaza to eliminate Hamas, not only are all civilian casualties acceptable, these people deserve it. They brought it on themselves, just by voting for someone the US deems “bad.” This is the same justification used for the bombing of Dresden, Germany, at the end of World War II, in which court historians report up to 25,000 civilians were killed over the span of three days. “Hey, they supported Hitler, so fuck ‘em!”
Social media “stars,” cable news panel participants, authors, journalists, and even politicians have spent over two weeks calling for the destruction and killing of 2,000,000+ people. How do we come back from that? Sure, people have short memories about many subjects, but the indiscriminate killing of civilians is one thing that tends to stay with people. How does a Ben Shapiro come back down to earth after frothing at the mouth for what will probably be months? How do sitting politicians expect us to forget calls for genocide? If Senator Cotton believes voting for the wrong people is punishable by death, how long before that belief is adopted in our country? Does anyone remember Biden’s famous “Red Speech?” Many of us have pointed out for years that after an empire’s foreign policy gets exhausted overseas, it is eventually brought to the homeland.
Another observation that has to be made is that we are seeing unprecedented verbal attacks on Israel publicly. The Zionist state has grown accustomed to decades of blind support from the American populace, but with the growth of social media, it has become clear that support has diminished. A theory I thought of is that the top-down effort by Progressives to reduce the number of young people going to church in this country and across the West means many young people have never been exposed to the Christian Zionist message so prevalent in many evangelical churches. Polls show that support for Israel declines dramatically if you start with the Boomer generation and move down to the Zoomers (as much as a 55-point drop). Again, how does the old guard that promotes Israel as “our greatest ally” reverse this trend? I don’t think they can reverse it, any more than they can reverse the vitriol that has taken over the political and cultural messaging due to this latest conflict.
I hope it’s becoming clear—wherever you fall on the political spectrum—that we have entered a new paradigm. One in which violence for wrong-think, voting for the wrong person, or not supporting a foreign power the “elites” have decided to support will become commonplace. Right now, there will only be threats, but I would expect that to escalate as time progresses. I will repeat what I said on Twitter a couple nights ago: if there are any potential elites out there biding their time before they make their move on power, now is the time to start those moves. People possessed by anger, rage, and vitriol are bound to make mistakes, ones that you can exploit. We can’t go on like this. We need drastic change. Communicate the right message with honesty and passion, people will line up to support you. We may be headed for disaster no matter what we do; but even so, let’s start building what comes next today.
Categories: Culture Wars/Current Controversies