Guest Columnist Mark Karpel: Fighting Words: Americans Hate Cover-ups

In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin, launched a campaign to intimidate and silence anyone who opposed him ...



In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy, a Republican from Wisconsin, launched a campaign to intimidate and silence anyone who opposed him in government and in public life. He attacked government officials, military heroes of WWII and countless others with libel and false accusations of treason.

Quarries were destroyed and, for a time, government officials were silenced – until, in 1954, McCarthy went too far; he challenged the United States Army itself. The Army-McCarthy television hearings turned the tide of public opinion against him. This trend reversal is what we need today in the face of yet another campaign of even more dangerous lies, intimidation and threats – and, to achieve it, we need more forceful and focused language.

Former President Donald Trump and his facilitators benefited from the cautious and colorless language his opponents use to describe his attacks on the institutions of democracy – words like “collusion” and “quid pro quo.” When they fail to agree on the names of these violations – “autocracy,” “undemocratic,” “coup” – this further diffuses and blurs their impact, so listeners are more likely to just shrug your shoulders and move on, instead of being outraged and mobilizing to defend democracy.

Trump, meanwhile, used simple, powerful language that, despite its cheeky hypocrisy, easily becomes a rallying cry – “Make America Great Again”, “Stop Theft.” He and his facilitators also defended their opponents with mock outrage over “critical race theory”, “illegal immigration” and (self-inflicted injury) “police funding”. We need lively, consistent language to shine a light on what Trump and his supporters are doing and put them on the defensive.

There was a lot to hide in Trump’s behavior even before the attempt to overthrow the U.S. government on January 6. of Ukraine for smearing Joe Biden, his misuse of campaign funds and his attempts to pervert the Justice Department and other government agencies to illegally support his personal interests, to name a few. But none of this matches the gravity and horror of the January 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol and, more importantly, on democracy itself.

We must call the attempts to whitewash, downplay, or deny these events for what they are: a cover-up. Americans hate cover-ups. They were shocked and angry when the Pentagon Papers revealed the amount of information the government had withheld about the Vietnam War, contributing to a great shift in public opinion against this war. They turned on Richard Nixon when his illegal attempts to cheat in the 1972 election and use the government to silence critics came to light.

Now, every attempt by elected officials and media figures to lie, downplay, evade and deny the gravity and intent of the January 6 attack should be denounced for what it is: “The cover-up of the Capitol ”.

One place Democrats have managed to use powerful and consistent language is in what they call “The Big Lie,” but The Big Lie is only one part of a comprehensive, multi-pronged attempt to rig the recent and future elections. Call this effort “The Big Cheat”. In addition to the Big Lie, it includes: 1) Trump’s desperate attempts to stop the vote count in 2020 and force local officials to fabricate victories for him; 2) the more than 60 spurious lawsuits challenging the vote, all rejected by federal judges and the Supreme Court; 3) more than 400 recent attempts to pass laws restricting voter access (additional scores were passed ahead of the 2020 elections); 4) efforts to transfer the power to certify electoral victories from election officials in non-partisan states to lawmakers in strongly partisan states; 5) gerrymandering; and, finally, 6) the attempted coup of January 6.

This coordinated effort is the Big Cheat and should be called exactly that. Americans hate cheaters. A comparable effort to rig the results of a Little League game, for example, would spark near universal outrage.

Given the utter devotion of Trump supporters to one man, the instinctive efforts to destroy anyone who disagrees with him on anything (see Jeff Sessions and John Bolton), and the attempt to preempt the power of Congress to certify elections in order to push it back into power, there is no ambiguity here. They won’t admit it (and some may not realize it), but Trump and his supporters inevitably call for dictatorship in America. The clearest early indicator of this has been the Republican Party’s unprecedented decision in 2020 to forgo any party platform. Rather than a set of beliefs, aspirations and policies, it boiled down to “Whatever He Says”. Let’s replace the multiple, bland terms currently in use and call it what it is – a push for dictatorship in America.

Even though America has lost more than 600,000 lives to COVID-19, Trump supporters in the public service continue to downplay the importance of the virus and resist public safety measures, such as masking and blanketing. vaccination. You heard them: “COVID is not that bad. “” 99% are recovering. “The masks don’t work.” “The vaccine costs money.” “It was rushed.” “It will make you sterile.” We have to call it what it is: deadly disinformation that preserves personal power at the expense of the lives and well-being of millions of Americans.

In addition to sharpening the attacks on Trump and the lies and power grabbing of his enablers, voters (and funders) can use them as criteria to assess officials and candidates. Find out the position of your Representative / Senator / Governor / Secretary of State on these issues and if they support a cover-up, lend their voice to the big cheater, defend the dictatorship in America and encourage deadly disinformation that perpetuates unnecessary suffering, hospitalizations and death, vote them out!

Mark Karpel is a psychologist and writer who lives in Northampton.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Guest Columnist Mark Karpel: Fighting Words: Americans Hate Cover-ups
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