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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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News

Can the Party of “No” Beat the Party of “Free?”

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Have you noticed the rhetoric, “At least we have the House to stop some of Biden’s crazy plans!” The GOP’s keyword is “STOP.” Have you noticed that the Democrats have positioned themselves as the party of more “FREE” gifts from the government?

The GOP wants to cut budgets, cut government jobs, stop abortions, stop illegal aliens crossing the border, stop election cheating, stop student loan giveaways….and the list goes on. The Democrats have effectively positioned the GOP as the party of “NO!”

With a small margin in the House, Biden’s veto, and a likely Democrat Senate virtual majority, the Republicans face a difficult challenge. How do you shape a narrative that can win in 2024 and minimize the damage that the Democrats can do until then?

It starts by capitalizing on an issue that Republicans have been reticent to exploit-school choice. Have you noticed that the youngest voters went Democrat in every state? We have let the Democrats control public schools. Teacher unions have used their money and influence to ensure adequate funding. The result is clear-the youth under their influence have rejected the responsible values of their parents. The young lack confidence in their ability to make free-enterprise work, and they like government entitlements, rent relief, and promises of student loan forgiveness. In short, they have settled for the party of “FREE”-the Democrats!

School choice wasn’t even part of the Republican’s Commitment to America. Our leaders missed its role in Youngkin’s win in Virginia. It’s time to start becoming the party of “YES” to school choice. Many minority parents feel trapped in underperforming schools, and they want better schools for their children. Conservatives want an end to the indoctrination of liberal values that public schools provide. In short, it’s time to embrace school choice as a central focus in the GOP’s 2024 campaign.

There is no question that the issue of abortion also played a key role in impacting the Republican gains in the November election. The Democrats were able to turn fears over the Supreme Court reversal of Roe vs Wade into voter turnout in key races. It’s time to be the party of “YES” to reasonable limits on abortion and responsible support for adoption for unwanted children. Most Americans are supportive of reasonable limits on abortion. House Republicans could introduce federal legislation to make abortion after the first trimester illegal. Let the states take the role of considering even more restrictive measures. Make Democrats the party of “NO” to sane abortion limits.

Be the party of “YES” to government support for organizations that provide vulnerable women with support and material resources to help them consider both parenting and adoption. Democrats would have women believe that abortion is their only option. There are parents ready to adopt, and it can be a beautiful experience for all involved. It’s time to convince women to support life for their unborn child by providing loving options instead of trying to force the total elimination of abortion. Abortion disproportionately impacts minorities. To meet the needs of the future, America needs all the births our citizens can bring into this world.

Say “YES” to responsible citizenship-every citizen working to find a satisfying career in pursuit of their true American Dreams instead of settling for government dependence. The Republican message must be strong and clear-we belief in all Americans’ ability to gain their mojo and take back their future. There is no future in dependence-Getting “Free” entitlements are not “Freedom!” Let people know that America is still where the “pursuit of happiness” is not just something to justify a revolution. It is what has made America great and the envy of the world. It is by improving your skills and earning advancements or starting one’s own business that true dreams are achieved. No citizen should settle when she can soar.

Say “YES” to a secure border and legal immigration. America remains the land of opportunity, and we need immigrants. We don’t need millions of illegal immigrants unvetted and unprepared to add value to our country. Stand for completing the building of our Southern border wall and increasing our focus on expanding legal immigration. Republicans must not be against immigrants; we are only against welcoming illegal immigrants who do not honor our immigration process. Americans want a secure border, and they want to be known as a country that welcomes immigrants. Have the strength and wisdom to stand for both.

Say “YES” to law and order. Stand in support of law enforcement and accountability for criminals. Yes, we want fair treatment of all Americans, but citizens are tired of criminals having the upper hand. They want to feel safe in their homes and their businesses. We need DAs who will prosecute criminals instead of letting them go. There is a simple formula for the GOP to reflect most Americans-“Do the crime and do the time!”

Say “YES” to energy independence and an all of the above approach to energy policy. Instead of saying “No” to climate change paranoia, affirm the importance of developing all of our energy resources to be independent of foreign dependence. Capitalizing on all available energy options will also strike a blow at inflation, since the cost of energy impacts all facets of our economy.

If you want to beat the “Party of FREE,” we need to become the “Party of YES” to the things that Americans truly value. It’s time to begin preparing a narrative that can win in 2024. May it be so.

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Elections

Three Things Republicans MUST Do Now

The Republicans have a very important job to do!

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Now that the Republicans have taken the House, they have a few VERY important jobs to do. In this short five minute video, Chris Widener, Founder of PolitiCrossing, makes the case that there are three things the Republicans must do to be successful through 2024 and take back the Senate and the White House as well.

1. Investigate
2. Defund
3. Cast a Positive Vision for America

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