Friends, this cartoon (above) is the narrative that is being pushed by thousands of pop-up 'alternative' (unknown, corporate backed) websites, YouTubes and the usual right-wing media.
Humans are smart: wise-apes. We intuit that our world systems are corrupt, destructive, dehumanising and out of balance. We are also compassionate. What the worst politicians, the most corrupt, the demagogues do, is exploit these energies of loving care for our planet and people by taking narrative control of the articulation of these feelings into our shared world of words and deeds. With simple, powerful, intoxicating stories encouraging not our best qualities but our fear and despair:
"Bill Gates is the dastardly villain behind everything! He wants to reduce world population*! Trump? The poor, wronged hero. Look he's got lovely blonde hair, like European Jesus!"
But this is gaslighting on a species level.
*He wants to reduce birth rate by encouraging girls to stay at school rather than become child-brides. This reduces poverty, people have smaller, wealthier families. This is an absolutely standard way to reduce extreme poverty and most African countries are trying this themselves.
This cartoonist is perfect to deliver the narrative. He specialises in alt-right, pro-corporate narratives, for example denying climate change, attacking the African American footballers who took-a-knee, mocking homosexuals, praising Trump.
This story is pure distraction.
Donald Trump is not a leader who cares about anything beyond his own status and power. He feared the economy would be effected so didn’t lockdown as quick as advised by scientists and medics. He even called the virus a hoax designed to make him look bad. A narcissistic’s reaction to bad news.
The US was very slow to act and has had the most deaths from Coronavirus. Almost 30,000 people. So far, and far from final. That’s already almost 10x China where the virus began. A country with 5x the US population (figures in China may be downplayed by their government).
Other countries have had more deaths per capita but there is no doubt that Trump’s mishandling meant people died unnecessarily perhaps even in a way that would make him legally accountable for their deaths.
What does a narcissist do when they look bad? Feel bad? They blame.
Trump’s attacks on Fauci are a direct attempt to avoid blame. He advised lockdown super-early. Trump ignored this advice because he didn’t want a drop in share prices to affect his chances of re-election in 2020.
A deeper game, a more powerful distraction is the "look over there!" attack on Bill Gates. In about a week this guy who was most associated with nerdy sweaters and Windows became a Marvel super-villain in a narrative that is taking attention and heat off Trump. The distraction story has pulled in the World Health Organisation (set up after WW2 to reduce needless deaths from preventable disease - it reduced polio by 99%, if you're in your 40s your grandparents would have had kids in their class at school crippled by this disease).
No credible scientists believe defunding WHO is anything but a crime.
But it fits the corporate, Trumpian narrative: 'international insitutions based on nations cooperating are bad, huge corporations are good and should be allowed to do what they want' (the basis for the myths around Agenda 21), 'cooperation is weak, we need to be dominant to be strong'.
Some believe vaccines are an attack on personal freedom. The sovereignty of the body. It’s a clear point and I can understand and sympathise. Nations are also sovereign and will have their own boundaries - they may not allow people in who they judge may bring disease. Like Peru and other countries already do with yellow fever. Scientific consensus is that vaccines are safe. Or at least safer than the diseases they prevent. I’ve had a bunch. So have you probably. We’re doing ok aren’t we? 😉
Whatever your feelings about vaccines let's be clear:
Gates is trying to do good with his money. Most billionaires aren’t.
There are legitimate criticisms of Gates. He is a capitalist. As such his actions have all the problems associated with late stage capitalism, especially in over reliance on and ideological faith in the private sector. There are criticisms of this which are totally valid and which I agree with. It’s a top down, free market model which included big private companies being paid to do work government or cooperatives could do. The progressive and fiercely independent Intercept gives his work a mixed review, though doesn’t criticise the efficacy and intention of the vaccination programme.
I’d much prefer to see these actions rolled out in a cooperative model which empowers local communities. Sadly that’s not on the table. If we want that we need to vote for governments who’ll deliver such a system - Trump is the opposite.
Trump is trying and very sadly succeeding in creating a super-villain in Gates and to make himself out to be a hero who opposes his 'evil plans' (QAnon does the same thing, it makes Trump, a misogynist who has boasted about "grabbing" women’s genitals and makes sexual remarks about his daughter, a hero in a fight against paedogedden, a White Knight defending the sacred feminine: a nauseating irony. I’m not going to link to QAnon. You’d need a hand-sanitizer bath after going there).
If you think Trump is any kind of hero - this orange, plastic, vain, boastful, childish narcissus who lies constantly, who gleefully brought back trophy-hunting, the shooting of mother bears and wolves, who mocked a disabled journalist, who called Mexicans rapists, who filled his cabinet with corporate execs after promising to drain the swamp, who pulled out of the international Paris climate Treaty, who called climate change a 'Chinese hoax', who tweets bile in the early hours, who calls women pigs and mocks their menstruation cycles, who claimed the California fires were a result of poor leaf raking, who is raping mother Earth for oil, who is the archetype of toxic masculinity - then you have been watching a very distorted edit of reality.
Like if the Star Wars movies had been edited to make Palatine the hero.
There are lots of good alternative, pro-environment, pro-human rights, pro-democracy, anti-corporate, anti-totalitarian news sources out there. Double Down News is one. The Intercept (above) is another. The Guardian is more mainstream editorially, though includes radical writers, and in terms of investigative reporting — not Youtube 'research’, that is passively being guided by the nose through a series of increasingly andrenalizing and addictive videos, by an algorithmic master. And being encouraged to narcisstically believe you’ve 'discovered' secret knowledge the 'sheeple' don’t know, but in fact becoming the perfect consumer of the commodification of dissent and fear — actual research involving fact-checking,
witness cross-examination and source
The stories are more nourishing but can be harder to digest and chew than the empty-calorie sugar-rush of sensationalist, Disneyfied sites popping up in your feed (they pop up because they have huge money behind them). Most of these, you won't know the origin of. Would you buy water you didn't know the source of? Food?
What you let in your mind is even more important I'd argue.
You will find criticism of billionaire philanthropy and power in the genuine alternative press. You will find criticism of Big Pharma.
You will not find stories that Bill Gates is an evil super-villain and Trump is a hero. Because it's a constructed narrative which hurts people and planet - and the fizz of fear, the rush of cortisone and adrenalin that accompanies these Disney stories, attention grabbing sure. They're meant to be. Like candy. But they are bad for mental health and sabotage intellectual and spiritual discernment.
The real enemies of this age are the destruction of our natural world, the assault on democracy by corporate power, the poisoning of our culture with misinformation. Trump is on the wrong side on all these battles.
Fear versus love: Trump is clearly inside, a wounded child who needs love desperately. But he's also a grown man who is damaging our world.
We need to stand for love and honesty, to say no to sensationalist narratives pushing fear, to say no to scary stories and clickbait, to the conspiraporn peddlers making money from clicks, to say no to swallowing whatever our algorithmic masters deliver to our social media plates, and say yes to taking the time to look behind the curtains if we want to understand the world: using good
sources. Not fall down Youtube rabbit-holes led by an algorithm and mistaking that for research. To say yes to reason.
We must use discernment. Trust your gut but be wary of how easy it is to manipulate the mind. We do it to ourselves constantly (“I really need that
extra biscuit because of xyz”). How easy it is for corporatations with all their money and expertise to create stories that hypnotize us. It’s propaganda.
What does your gut say about this story with Trump as hero of the world? Does it feel true?