By Seana Sperling
It’s become commonplace to accuse a Teacher of being a pedophile, racist or something equally heinous, however there appears to be little or no accountability for the accusers. The people making the allegation should at least have to take a Polygraph test, because an accusation is as good as an indictment in our hypercritical society. There is no accountability because of our reactionary, Amber Alert mindset and the fact that people are eager to believe the worst about others. This is a fertile seed for the destruction of our democracy.
I imagine this would suit the current regime very well. They have been gaslighting the public and using negative campaigns for a long time to control the political arena. Suppose our government would use something as simple as gossip to achieve their agenda. It’s been done before. The SS vilified the Jews, Gypsies, Gays and Lesbians, anyone that didn’t fit into their Aryan ideal. They united the Germans by rallying against/mobbing minorities. History repeated itself during the Cultural Revolution in china and students were manipulated into violence against their Teachers. The Soviets used community spies and the spread of propaganda to keep their Scholars and Writers in line. How do you get rid of the Activists and Writers, the dissenters—spread rumors.
We are immersed in an age of mob mentality once again and gossip has become a national pastime. Look at our penchant for Reality T.V. We like to see people behave badly, so we can group-judge them over coffee the next day. In the 80’s people would discuss evening soap stars in the same manner, but now people prefer to take pot shots at real people. I’ve heard people denigrating some of the contestants of Survivor, American Idol and America’s Top Model as if they were intimate enemies. Is this a natural evolution of fads and tastes or was this carefully manufactured? We have been duped before and Manufacturing Consent, by Noam Chomsky illustrates the patterns and methods used to manipulate our desires.
Other people’s business, A.K.A. spying has also become the hip thing to do nowadays. There are films like, Spy Kids, Civic Duty and Disturbia, where the participants in the spying feel they have an important cause, which permits them to abuse another’s Civil Rights. What if the government is following in Mao and Stalin’s footsteps and creating little units of people to spy on Activists, Writers and Teachers. Of course they would need some propaganda to recruit their spies. Let’s see. Shall we say Mr. Something or other is a drug dealer or a pedophile?
Neighborhood Watch groups could be persuaded to orchestrate surveillance. A little man with a real or fake badge goes around the neighborhood with a file on the Teacher that lives on the block. A photoshopped image of the target could be the cement that unites the team. Like the game Telephone, the propaganda can get even more distorted as the stories fly through blogging. The group discusses what to do in the situation and a decision is made to keep an eye on the person. There could be a decision to drive the person out of the neighborhood with noise campaigns or street harassment. How much proof would a Watch group need to begin surveillance? Would they need any or would a slanderous statement suffice?
I used to think Community Policing was a good thing, however, as with everything, good ideas can be corrupted over time and Neighborhood Watch groups can turn into angry mobs given the right motivation. Secondary School Teachers are especially vulnerable as they are grooming the young for adulthood and if the Teacher questions our government or especially the misdeeds of our multi-national corporations, they can risk angering people that are opposed to free speech. There are a lot of them out there, especially if they are getting huge tax breaks from a corrupt system. Welcome to the United States of Industry.
We need to think independently and not go along with the mob. Question everything you see, read and hear. This is a lesson hard-learned by ex-Soviets and one we need to heed. Our gullibility and greed for gossip could be our downfall.
It shouldn’t be career ruining for Midwestern Teacher to tell her class, “I honk for Peace.”