Divide And Conquer In Modern America

I’ve decided to create my own little autonomous zone at my house. I’m going to erect a chain link fence at the end of my driveway and the only people who are allowed through the gate are my mail lady, family members and people who agree with me about everything. And I mean absolutely everything.

You don’t like lemon and ginger tea with honey? Don’t bother stopping by. You like my last haircut better? Don’t even consider expressing your opinion here. It’s not welcome. And hey, if we can’t agree on the best way to roast a chicken, please refrain from ever speaking to me again.

I’m going to tell you a true story today and my hope is that a lightbulb will go off in your mind and that the silly arguments I mentioned above will be put into some kind of context.

I whole heartedly believe that the division in this country has been carelessly sowed. There are two opposing forces in the world right now and keeping us divided serves at least one of those forces very well. When people are at war with one another, they’re too busy and distracted to figure out who the real enemy is.

This exact thing happened in Germany in the 1930’s. Hitler’s propaganda was said to be “trying to set capital against labor, White against Negro, Catholic against Protestant, Christian against Jew.”

Do you remember this? That Hitler’s campaign was to first divide and then conquer the minds of his own people? He used the ‘them’ versus ‘us’ approach as an excuse to divide his own people and then invade European countries. And he succeed because he created two opposing sides.

In part, this was achieved by something called “de-individuation,” which is a group behavior whereby people let go of self-awareness and self-control to imitate others and then collective behavior takes over individual judgment.

Vandalism and persecution in Nazi Germany happened because one’s individuality became lost in the group identity.

But here’s the takeaway–what you most need to know: the ultimate objective of divide-and-conquer is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up groups into smaller and less powerful ones.

Does this sound a tad bit familiar? Aren’t we weakened when we are not unified?

When I was growing up in America in the 1960’s and 70’s, we seemed to agree on many things: we knew that we weren’t perfect, that we were a country that was a work in progress, but that we all loved America, the Constitution and individual liberty and freedom.

I said the Pledge of Allegiance nearly every day I was in school for thirteen years, marched in countless Memorial Day Parades, and raced around my front yard with sparklers every Fourth Of July.

You couldn’t take the patriotism out of this girl if you imprisoned me for life. I consider the United States of America to be the most enlightened form of government the world has ever known, and when run by enlightened and honest people, it is a beautiful thing.

When corruption creeps in-when the people in charge covet riches and their own unbridled power, that’s when the tower falls into rubble. And I believe this is what we are witnessing now. And don’t think I’m picking on any one political party: there’s enough corruption in world governments to last generations–until we simply say “we the people can’t take it anymore.”

I’m just about there. Are you?

I’ve been reading a lot about Nazi Germany lately, trying to understand what happened to the people of that country that made them so submissive.

And some of what I’ve discovered is alarming. For example, the people of Germany and it’s conquered countries got a lot of “free stuff.” Once the Nazis took control in Austria, to give you an example, newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household.

The people of Germany were encouraged to embrace socialism, national healthcare, and an increase in government regulation. The Nazi’s rounded up firearms, and unleashed their secret police known as the Gestapo. The Nazis wanted to know everything about everybody, and anyone that was deemed to be “anti-government” was dealt with mercilessly.

We know that privacy in our own society is a thing of the past, but government intrusion in our lives has become so pervasive that 64-percent of all reporters believe that the government is spying on them, according to a 2015 poll by the Pew Research Center.

And then there was the SA- Sturmabteilung, meaning ‘assault division’ – also known as the Brownshirts or Storm Troopers, which was a violent paramilitary group attached to the Nazi Party in pre-World War Two Germany.

Hitler formed the SA in Munich in 1921, drawing membership from violent anti-leftist and anti-democratic former soldiers in order to lend muscle to the young Nazi Party.

It’s important to know and understand history and keep a check on what is happening in our own society. We are in the midst of great division and angst, and when appropriate, and in appropriate ways, we must help decide the future of our country by speaking up.

And by remembering exactly what it is we stand for.


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