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Learned Apathy – Why people don’t react

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“Recent polls show that 43% or Republicans and 76% of Democrats believe…” 

B***s**t! Headlines like the above are meaningless.

The Apathy of Numbness: Public Opinion is a useless measure.

Watch major media for a week, then conduct a survey about how people feel or what they believe is true about most any issue and all you’ll find is that news works. What they report and how they spin it is what the opinions will reflect. If George Floyd’s conversion from career criminal to honored martyr is the only thing people hear about for a month, then they will believe much of what they hear. When that shifts to the Border Invasion, a similar shift in opinions will occur. Educational Pollution, like Critical Race Theory or the “1619” myth, will dominate next month. Then we will return to Demonizing and Neutering Police, or Climate Scares, or the Debt Crisis/Budget Deficit, or China’s Increasing Dominance. Next comes Election Reform and Voter Suppression.

If all you play is Beatles music then most music opinions will be about Beatles music. Well, yeah!

Likewise, if you make Race observations about everything then people will start to see Race in everything. This is not only not “rocket science”, it doesn’t even require contemplation. Want to know what people think today? Read last week’s news reports. Yet our media persists in measuring the obvious as if it might finally provide some insights. Not likely.

The Apathy of Numbness.

When someone hits you, your reaction is immediate and strong. But when they hit you repeatedly, there will be a point where you simply adjust to the pain and stop reacting. For example; many people almost faint from fear when they get an injection. They say they fear the needle, but that’s not true. What they fear is not knowing how much it will hurt. If you have received many injections in your life then another one is no surprise and therefore not a source of fear. Discomfort, surely, but not fear.

Long ago I took a spill on my bike and the nurse at the hospital had to pick the debris out of my wounded posterior. An embarrassing but necessary experience. The nurse, Larry, said, “Are you sure you don’t need a sedative before I do this?” I replied, “No, I’m not sure at all. But I don’t want anesthesia if I can avoid it. Would you promise to pause if the pain is getting too much for me?” He said, “Yes.” So, I told him to proceed. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. I was afraid of not knowing how long it would last. It is the unknown that scares us most.

The same is true about bad news. The degree of “badness” isn’t the activator, it is whether it was unexpected and how much it affects you personally. That is what determines your response to the news.

When the news says, “Murders are up 800% in Portland” (actual May 2021 report), surely that would alarm anyone! But, no, most of us have become so numb to the reports of abuses, crime, violence, riots and murders that we just shake our heads. This is the apathy of numbness.

Apathy is a stage of Depression. It starts with Boredom. Boredom is evidence of a lack of purpose or sense of connection. If we are not personally involved and don’t feel threatened then it alarms us, but it doesn’t activate us to do anything about it. Boredom becomes Apathy over time. The more we hear awful news or see gory images on TV the less it affects us and so we become detached. We say, “What’s the use in trying? All you get is pain. When I needed sunshine I got rain.” (from Neil Diamond’s song “I’m A Believer.”)

What happens when we lose our sense of Outrage?

If no bad news is bad enough to get us to scream, “I’m not going to take it anymore!” Then we don’t reach out to get others involved. We don’t marshal resources to mount a response. We don’t call our elected officials. We don’t start a petition or a fund raising campaign, or organize a resistance movement. We don’t turn out to vote the bums out of office. That is when government control becomes absolute. That is when Democracy dies.

The next step from Apathy is Depression and that is a clinical state that needs treatment. The symptoms of Depression can be severe and even fatal. Our nation is on the verge of Depression right now. Not just Emotional Depression, but also Financial Depression.

The Democrat Party is truly just that, having a party! They are spending in ways that drunken sailors never aspired to. It’s as if they never learned that money must exist before it can be spent. They acknowledge no limit on the amounts. Their “cause” justifies it.

This is not a zero-sum game. 

Something we don’t hear is this: all these emergencies that require zillions of new dollars are ALREADY being addressed and have some existing funding in place. These are not new causes or needs, they are existing issues that aren’t completed yet. We’ve always been fixing roads and repairing bridges. We’ve always had people who need healthcare but can’t afford it. We’ve always had energy needs, educational needs, border intruders, climate impacts, international missions, and military needs.

But if they call it the “Family care act” or the “fix the bridges near grandma’s house act” then people react as if nothing has ever been done about this and all new funding needs to be found, or borrowed if we can’t afford it. So they print new money (inflation).

The National Debt is so great that it may be impossible to ever pay it off.

Once you are dealing with Trillions of dollars, there will be a point where the interest on the debt is so great that we can’t earn enough to ever pay it off. Our politicians have become the Loan Sharks who are charging us exorbitant amounts for benefits we never really receive. But they benefit from it, in Washington D.C. all is well.

We see the “National Debt Clock” on the news and hear numbers like Thirty Trillion Dollars! But that’s meaningless to most of us. When did you last notice the bill for your part of the national debt? You didn’t because it isn’t isolated like that. It shows up everywhere else: in home prices, at the gas pump, grocery store, restaurants, lumber costs, appliance prices, increases in personal service charges, addenda in your phone and TV and utility bills. Extras on invoices after the taxes and delivery fees. We pay all right, just not in separate billing. Sometimes it’s not a bill at all, it is just a shortage of something we need. Compare 2021 to 2019 economically.

How come the free world has been in lockdown and recession while China has not? Commentator Mark Steyn said recently, “China’s economy… grew 2.3 percent in 2020, and first quarter growth for 2021 in China set a new world record—it was up over 18.3 percent. The COVID pandemic has been hugely profitable for China.” They thrive while we suffer from debt and economic infection, how can we be OK with this? We aren’t, we just don’t feel that we can do anything about it, so we don’t. Again it is Apathy.

We are numb, so we don’t act.

The 10,600 violent riots during the pandemic became so familiar that we adjusted to it through numbness. “People killed? Where? Oh. That’s a shame. What’s on the other channel? Let’s watch a movie.”

When we lose our sense of outrage we are fast-sliding into bondage. Democrat politicians decided that they needed for us to feel outrage against Trump so they started touting January 6th as the worst riots ever and blamed Trump for inciting them. Not true, but don’t ask for public opinion polls to discern the truth. The media has convinced people that the riots at the Capitol were “an assault on Democracy” and “worse than 9-11.” Neither of those claims is true, but people are numb so they just accept it unchallenged.

What’s the remedy for Apathy?

Action. As my drill sergeant often said in Basic Combat Training in the Army, we need to “Get off your ass and on your feet, out of the shade and into the heat!” Yes, we need to act, react, interact, and stop the beating. Don’t let them get away with the lies and distortions. Call their hand on misstatements and half-truths and spin. Challenge them when they encourage you to speak “Woke.” Do not allow the numbing down of America. 

Don’t wait for a leader, Be One! 

 

 

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Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is an Executive MBA Professor, Author of 21 books, Hall of Fame Professional Speaker, Top 1% TEDx video (2.4 million views), US Army veteran, Singer/Songwriter, and Lifelong Motorcyclist. He is known as "Your Virtual VP" for his Advisory/Mentor work with organizations worldwide. Based in Texas...and proud of it!



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Minaj, Paul 2024!

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William F. Buckley once wrote “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.” His point being that he did not believe academics made the best legislators. Perhaps the elite intelligentsia are not best suited to govern our affairs. I have long been of the opinion that a highly competent and successful small business owner , a one man (or woman) auto-shop, a Plumber with his own van, or a house painter would be better suited to set economic policy than most of the stuffed suits who have been failing at this task for years. The former has had to beat the ground, provide top-notch customer service, and balance the books every month or risk going broke. The latter was more than likely born with a silver spoon in their mouth, been brainwashed with “theories” at the university, and if they fail, can still write a book, give some interviews, and leave Washington with a pocket full of cash. Similarly, a charismatic mid to large sized real estate agent or most large comprehensive High School Principals likely have the skills to be President of the United States.

When you look at the track record of the people who have been running our government for just the past 20 years alone, the catastrophic foreign policy misadventures, the national debt, the rise of the police state, the failures of the criminal justice system, the fraud, the waste, and the abuse; there is little reason to think that we could be any worse off by plucking average citizens from everyday life to serve in the federal government. Unfortunately, most average citizens do not have the name recognition, money or ability to raise it, or general “star power” to build a national profile. Accepting the premise that any competent adult with a bit more character, intelligence, and integrity than a rattlesnake can serve in the highest office of the land opens a plethora of possibilities.

It is for this reason that I think Nicki Minaj should be the next President of the United States with Rand Paul as her running mate. Unfortunately, the US Constitution would have to be amended to enable Mrs. Minaj to run, as she is not a “natural-born citizen” (given the significant influence foreign agents have on most of our current politicians, one must wonder how relevant this clause still is in 2021). In a previous article I expressed some disappointment with Minaj for her initial response to the criticism she received for her vaccine hesitancy. I did not think she was rebellious enough. Since then, she has doubled down on her position and defended herself aptly against her critics. As an African American, she has every right to be suspicious of the US government pushing free vaccines or any other type of medical treatment, considering what the same US government did in the Tuskegee experiment. Dr. Fauci and crew would like everyone to forget that the US government INJECTED 600 African Americans with syphilis just to see what would happen.

Minaj grew up in NY and waited tables at Red Lobster before she became famous. She is tough, smart, and a successful businesswoman,and a philanthropist. She would win the black vote and possibly turn some major cities out to vote for her. Rand Paul would be the perfect running mate. Paul has been the only national politician who has consistently and bravely questioned mask and vaccine mandates. He has taken Lord Fauci to task more than once. Paul has served in the Senate long enough to be the perfect person to help navigate Nicki Minaj through the swamp. While both she and Rand Paul may hold differing political positions, none of that matters now. A crisis is before us and they are united in a more pressing and common cause; the defense of individual liberty. As I have written before, bodily integrity, informed consent, and our 1st, 4th, and 14th amendment protections are all on the line. As Tucker Carlson has articulated regarding forced vaccines, “If you can do that, why can’t you sterilize me or give me a lobotomy? What can’t you do to me if you own my body?” The elites in power spend a great deal of effort keeping us divided along the lines of race and social and economic class. A pairing of two leaders with different ideas could be the start of bringing people together and taking back the power.

Minaj is an excellent entertainer with a stage presence eclipsing that of Donald Trump. She would easily win a debate with Joe Biden or Kamala Harris. Her ability to act and freestyle rap means she will be quick-witted and articulate on the debate stage and she can connect with her audience better than any politician. She has the charisma and star power to win and, other than opposing vaccine mandates, she does not have to provide specific details on any other political positions. I recall in 2016, Donald Trump ascended to the White House with no details, just phrases like “we are gonna have great health care, we will build a beautiful wall, we’re gonna have the best military…” There were never any details. At this point, the only thing that really matters is that people like Minaj and Paul get in power so that people like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Anthony Fauci are NOT in power. We can figure the rest out later.

Vaccine mandates illuminate clearly the core issue before us today. It is the same question that we answered in the revolution of 1776. Are we citizens or are we subjects? In the 1770’s, South Carolina historian David Ramsay explained the difference between the two: “The difference is immense. Subject is derived from the Latin words, sub and jacio and means one who is under the power of another; but citizen is a unit of a mass of free people, who collectively possess sovereignty…” Nicki Minaj translated and modernized this line of thinking in her response to Meghan McCain’s attempt to shame her into taking a vaccine by tweeting “Eat shit you.” This might be an appropriate campaign slogan for the elite to hear in 2024! It certainly encapsulates the mood of over half the country who refuse to be treated like subjects and who have been told not to test the patience of their daddy in the White House.

Assuredly, many will want Trump to run again in 2024. Ironically, the same problem that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton had in 2016 now befalls Trump, albeit to a lesser extent. People were tired of “Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.” Enough people could have “Trump fatigue” by 2024. Larry Elder’s landslide loss in the California recall after he was (fairly or unfairly) painted as another Donald Trump is a concern. Further, Trump presided over enormous deficit spending, is the father of the Covid Vaccine, and made the fatal mistake of surrounding himself with a cabinet of Washington insiders who undermined him at every turn from day one. Trump may have had good intentions at some point. He and his brand are now compromised. His enemies know him too well. Trump showed us that Washington hates a disrupter, but needs one – and the citizens need a fighter. Nicki Minaj could be that fighter. Plus it would be cool to see her and Rand Paul on the inauguration stage with balloons and confetti raining down while “Super Bass” or “Starships” played in the background.

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The Era Of Approved Dissent

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Guns N Roses Frontman Axl Rose was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of property damage for the role he played in instigating a riot in St. Louis in 1991. He dove headfirst off of the stage and into the crowd to attack a man with a camera and then left the stage mid-concert. This angered the crowd and sparked a rebellion. Months later, when Rose returned to the states from a European tour, he was arrested at the airport. Axl Rose came under fire again in 1992 and was accused of homophobia for having used the word “faggot” in one of his lyrics. In the late 80s and early 90s, Rose was notorious for the use of controversial lyrics, getting arrested, and being a rebel.

By the early 2000s, as Axl Rose’s star faded, rap star Eminem ascended to take his place as the new controversial lyrical artist and troublemaker. What both men had in common is that they were probably the last true mega stars to have been true rebels. Neither artist was readily associated with any cause or social movement. In fact, like Madonna most of the time, it appeared they were being controversial, just to be controversial. Some of it may have been immaturity, drug induced behavior, or the result of a toxic combination of the trappings of fame and misguided youth. Certainly marketing was part of the mix. The result was that the controversy sold records. The polarization of their songs and actions is what stood out.

In 2021, one can’t help but realize that far too many artists have replaced polarization with conformity. Take the latest “controversy” over the news that Nicki Minaj is hesitant to be vaccinated. She revealed she is waiting and doing more research and she shared a story of people who she knows who have had adverse reactions. She has every right to feel however she wants and to express herself regarding this matter in whatever way she chooses. That her very reasonable response to not getting a vaccine is controversial is laughable when compared to say… starting a riot or sending a Native American woman to accept your Oscar award as a protest the way Marlon Brando once did.

Minaj’s tweet about the subject left those longing for the days of rock n roll and artistic rebellion a little disappointed. She wrote: “If I get vaccinated it won’t for the Met. It’ll be once I feel I’ve done enough research. I’m working on that now. In the meantime my loves, be safe. Wear the mask with 2 strings that grips your head & face. Not that loose one.” A missed opportunity for sure. Our increasingly conformist and authoritarian society longs for a time when artists were controversial and didn’t try to softly land their positions as Minaj does here with a nod to mask wearing. What happened to the Rage Against The Machine Mentality of “F&#Ck You I Won’ t Do What You Tell Me!” What happened to the music of liberation, the sound and lyrics of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, James Brown? Where is the spirit of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and NWA?

While most rational people understand that the actions and words of such artists are frequently grounded in hyperbole, and just plain offensive, most also understand that there are usually one or more kernels of truth in such works. This makes it entertaining. Some of the best art illuminates an injustice, uncomfortable truth, or articulates someone else’s hypocrisy uniquely. Until recently, it seemed rather common for an artist to lambast a national politician, a corporate figure, or law enforcement. One is hard pressed to find a recent song questioning our 20 year misadventure in Afghanistan, the militarization of the police departments, election fraud, lockdowns, social distancing, mask mandates, or forced vaccinations. We know that people, and certainly artists, have strong opinions on these matters, regardless of their position. Eric Clapton and Van Morrison recently collaborated on an anti-lockdown tune, but to little attention from the corporations. Perhaps many artists have found it easier to send a tweet than to write a clever lyric.

Today’s radio waves don’t have a Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind” or a Joan Baez protesting for social or political change. Everything just feels corporate, quadrate, as if everything we see and hear has been approved in some boardroom. The truth is, it probably has been. Dissent is quickly purged from social media and the major television networks. We are living in an age of “Approved Dissent.” If you are protesting perceived racism, sexism, or police brutality, the protest is parroted by the mainstream corporate and social media. Protest an election result, a mask mandate, or a forced vaccination and you will get very little to no air time unless it is to paint you as a deranged conspiracy theorist.

Perhaps artists have figured this out. In the year 2021, the age-old question of “does life imitate art or does art imitate life?” has been answered. As approved dissent devolves into approved art, we see art imitating life.

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