As campaigning for 2022 mid-term elections and the 2024 Presidential race unfolds, it should come as no surprise that the strategy for political parties is “strategic extremism” based on identity politics: we-they, us-them itus. This is nothing more than two wolves destroying a beautiful country from within. As campaigning moves forward, note that there is limited discussion about policies and issues that make a difference; and notice the inflammatory nonsense in a deliberate effort to manipulate, mobilize and separate right-wing voters. Culturally liberal mainstream media will happily take the bait—it boosts ratings—and make Trump’s cultural “illiberalism” a big issue. Because morality is relative and voters like it, it is an easy tool with which to manipulate voters. Every time we are emotionally upset, angry, irritated, impatient, condescending, we are deliberately being set up, and we may not want to acknowledge it at the time.

Lies, deception, conspiracies, half-truths, valueless, virtue less, vision less, leaderless, and cowardice, simply a way of life for Republicans. As Stuart Stevens offers in It Was All a Lie (108),

Republicans have built a political ecosphere that thrives on deceit and lies. It is an industrialized sort of deceit that is unique to the Republican Party. Over the last decades, Republicans have been conducting an experiment to determine how many control rods of truth could be taken out of a civil society’s core reactor of truth without creating a meltdown. It didn’t start with Trump, but Trump may prove to be the meltdown. What few people grasp-because they are outside the system and have normal lives to lead-is just how huge the machinery of deception is that the Republicans have erected and how long it has been in the making. Fox News is unique in American media history as serving more like the in-house propaganda arm of a strong-man dictator than operating by the accepted norms of professional journalism…For decades a certain percentage of those who call themselves conservatives had been cultivating a country within a country, a sort of virtual secession from the United States of America. Like Donald Trump’s election, Fox News was both an inevitable conclusion and an accelerant.

Americans are better than this! We can remain in our seats and watch the show and realize that what is unfolding in front of us is part of a play and that the actors are only emotionally triggering us—deliberately manipulating us—and offering messages. This beckons challenge and opportunity to learn and practice self-restraint, a skill with the reward that we can learn to laugh at how well and how often we get set up and how we react unconsciously to these experiences. A reward: access to endless messages and endless laughter.

  • What specific emotional reaction did this person, place, or event trigger?

Any occurrence in our life that emotionally triggers us in a negative way is always a message from the past being communicated to us in the present. The triggering event is a messenger.

  • When last did I experience the exact same emotional reaction?
  • And when before this incident did I experience the exact same emotional reaction?
  • What does this remind me of?
  • Who used to behave like this around or towards me?

Have fun laughing about the set-ups and manipulations. The Presence Process, Michael Brown, is a nice resource for learning more about how we most likely spend our lives getting set-up or manipulated. Self-restraint is a practical, learned skill and can create access to endless messages-“set-ups”, reduced stress, and endless laughter.

As elections near, reality offers that the choice of citizens is either democracy or autocracy. We need to select and elect democratic leaders who understand and have a track record of leadership, offer vision, virtues, values, and sane policy, and have pride in citizens who acknowledge and face reality and consciously respond to experiences. We can all learn to watch the play in front of us and make good choices about our futures and futures of generations to follow. Political “messengers” manipulate with lies, deception, and conspiracies and the better one becomes at watching the show, the triggers that offer emotional messages are received and better decisions are made by citizens when voting. Watch the show that offers tons of laughter while at the same time grasping the emotional messages deliberately created to manipulate our thinking and pollute our sanity.

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