Is America being remade into the image of a Balkan state?

Do you ever wake up with the realization that with age comes considerable perspective? A more informed perspective than we used to have? The knowing that knowledge is a byproduct of curiosity?

This comes up because of something that was said at a local eating place. It was a comment over breakfast recently from a friend who grew up in an Eastern Europe country under Soviet rule. It was like pieces of information snapping into place to form an image of reality.

And it made me wonder, is America being remade into the image of a Balkan state?

A decaying Soviet government building in Bulgaria. The Buzludzha Monument.

What my friend said was that in his perspective, what’s happening today in our country seems akin to a Balkan oligarch’s form of authoritarian rule, and that it has come to America. By that, he meant politicians who take advantage of strife and turmoil to make vast fortunes and seize control, built on the hardships caused for common people.

What he was talking about was how politicians and business opportunists have used unbridled connections in government to control economic, political, and security structures… while, at the same time, controlling the population by limiting chances for prosperity, wage growth, and benefits, such as healthcare. He sees the old Soviet intelligence tools of propaganda, disinformation, and lies, being used today here at home.

He spoke of power brokers who prospered from economies that failed because of faulty government programs… those who would buy and rebuild whole sections of cities that had fallen into poverty.

A mob of white supremacist bring violence to Charlottesville, VA. They were called “very fine people” by President Trump.

As he spoke, I thought… Yes, perhaps Trump is the most visible evidence of a wannabe oligarch but it’s more than just a president who seemingly takes pride in his own ignorance. It’s much more. It is the purposeful diminishing of U.S. intelligence efforts meant to protect the country from Putin and Russia.

But, there’s more, and it also goes much deeper into the fabric of America today. What are the forces that have been permitted to foment such a level of hatred for our fellow Americans? What’s behind the growth of white supremacism? What causes a person with white skin to enter a restaurant and demand to be served only by a fellow caucasian? Why the virulent level of anti-Semitism and blatant racism that’s cropping up, seemingly on a daily basis? What forces are pitting Americans against each other?

Democrat… Republican… there seems to be unrelenting anger at each other that pushes people into the dark corners of extremism for no apparent good for either party.

Journalists who are just doing their jobs have told me of the real fear they feel at Trump rallies. Trump’s mantra of “fake news media” seems designed to deflect attention from his administration’s own misdeeds and incompetence by creating a bogeyman toward which his mobs of red-hat hooligans can vent anger. As they scream vile insults, are they aware they are exposing themselves to being used and manipulated?

A typical Trump rally.

Why such behavior? Who are they really angry at? Are they, in reality, angry that their perceived position in life isn’t what they had hoped for? Are they making less money than they did a few years ago? Are they still angry that the factory in their town was moved offshore? Have they lost not only their healthcare but their homes? Can they not afford another new Ford F150 pickup, or a bigger widescreen TV? Have they taken stock on whether Trump has kept his promises or have they realized he’s spent more than 300 days of his presidency playing golf?

Or, are they angry because significant regions of America are no longer dominated by white skin but rather by a “minority majority?”

The golfing president.

Anger… fear… divisiveness… Those are the influential emotional building blocks used by oligarchs to distract the masses, while power brokers seize more power, more wealth, and leave us with… well, the crumbs of a broken nation.

What’s my point? I just ask that you think about what we all see. Challenge the source of partisan stories online. Challenge what we’re told is conventional wisdom. When a wannabe oligarch politicians says, “Everybody says that…,” challenge such a baseless remark. And, more frequently ask about it all with a word that is too seldom used by the news media yet so relevant in today’s world: WHY?