We are all primed by evolution to enjoy a good story and stories are one of the primary ways we learn. Unfortunately, such stories need not have anything to do with the truth.
For example consider the Christian narrative about the history of Christianity. They refer all of the Bible stories and then basically indicate that the power of the ideas in scripture were so potent, that Christianity grew strongly, even through a period of persecution. Uh, hunh.
It makes a great story but there are a few holes in it. For one Jesus was clearly killed by the Romans occupying Palestine for criminal behavior. The “persecutors” of Christianity then turn out to be … Romans, of course. And then we end up with … wait for it … the Roman Catholic Church by the end of the fourth century. WTF?
The actual history of Christianity is that it didn’t spread like wildfire, in fact it barely survived the first couple of centuries and only did due to immense efforts to create new scriptures to support the movement. Early Christianity also was comprised of many, many sects, none of which agreed over much of anything.
The breakthrough came when a Roman Emperor saw that Christianity was a tool that could support the failing Roman empire, by supplying a narrative of hope for the future that none of the pagan sects did. Christians then began fighting tooth and nail to get as much as they could in the way of perquisites from the Roman administration and at the same time were warring with other sects to see who would have the Emperor’s ear (and bend it they did).
This process went on for decades and through several emperors until the Christian bickering just got to be too much (if you consider false testimony, beatings, murders, and lies bickering) and a bull was issued “Nullis Haeriticis” (No Heretics). This sounds like something a pope would issue but this was issued in 380 CE by the Roman Emperor. This followed close on the heels of the Emperor defining true Christians as those who believed in the holy trinity, the fact that as many as half of all Christians were Arians not very long prior to this point notwithstanding. Arians believed Jesus to be the son of god and not god himself, just like it said in scripture. So, they had to go. The Roman emperor outlawed all heretics and defined Christian orthodoxy. (I guess the Catholic Church sold naming rights to the empire.)
So what did all of the “good Christians” of the time do … bleated like sheep I guess, because they let their former arch enemy define who they were and what they would believe. I turns out that the biggest persecutors of Christians were other Christians.
Now consider the election ordeal we all just suffered through. Yes, there are false narratives galore, but not the ones you think. The underlying narrative that no one is paying any attention to is the meme that states that the U.S. is a classless society, that we acknowledge no classes. This narrative has never been true and is not true now.
Americans tend to snigger when we are told that Australia was colonized by criminals. We don’t then turn to look at who was “sent” to the American colonies. We are “told” in school, that those people were fleeing religious persecution and came here to be free. Bullshit. The vast majority of the shiploads of English to America were considered, well, today, we refer to them as “white trash.” We were sent England’s “surplus population,” the indigent, the lazy, the criminal, “rubbish” they were called, human refuse. For them they were told the streets were paved with gold kind of things, while the elites were receiving reports of swamps and disease and hardships, the kind of place you want to send your refuse to.
We are told that the first settlers were fleeing religious persecution but they actually came as apart of a corporate effort (yes, there were corporations and all on the Mayflower were signed on to one) designed to exploit the natural bounty of the New World. (Yes, send gold back, please.) That a very large percentage of these “colonists” died from exposure, hunger, disease, etc. was sloughed off back home in England because their lives weren’t all that valuable. For Pete’s sake, look at the skill sets possessed by those on the Mayflower manifest; few had any practical value in surviving in a wilderness. America’s underclasses have been with us ever since.
So, in this day, we have the “deplorable” supporters of Donald Trump. (Jeez, Hillary, where did you learn politics? You just had to come up with your own 47% tag.) Guess who they are? They are the U.S. under classes … and a great many more. Several decades back the Democrats decided they didn’t need “working people” as the core of their constituency and so dumped them. The consequences? After unions helped get President Obama elected, for example, he couldn’t be bothered to help the unions with an effort to restore the old perfectly legal recruitment card system that conservatives in Congress had eliminated to undermine the unions. The GOP hasn’t done anything substantive for any of “those people” for decades and, instead, chose to fling social wedge issues their way as sops (without actually making any “progress on them, mind you) while supporting effort after effort to give huge benefits to the rich.
The Tea Party was unable to jar the GOP out of its rut and the Democrats were clueless at to what was wrong in their camp, and so the result is: a presidential candidate who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat gets elected. The sad thing is Mr. Trump was mistaken for a populist when there was a true populist available, one who had almost no baggage and a flaming passion to help America’s under classes, Bernie Sanders.
If a flaming Molotov Cocktail thrown through your front window doesn’t get your attention, what is going to happen next time if the needs of America’s under classes continue to be not met? (I will take bets at any odds that those needs will be ignored in the mad rush to get more and more benes for rich individuals and corporations over the next four years. Any takers?)