2020: The Year of Hate
Shôn Ellerton, October 15, 2020
In all my fifty years, I have never come across a year of such rampant hatred.
Many would not disagree that the year of 2020 has been one filled with confusion, paranoia, and most of all, sheer vitriolic hate. If anyone who had read George Orwell’s dystopian novel or its excellent movie version starring John Hurt and Richard Burton, Nineteen Eighty-Four, may remember the daily mandatory 2-minute moments of hate that all the members of the Outer Party had to exhibit after being rounded up in an auditorium while some fictional enemy of the party was blabbering away from the giant telescreen. The blue-clad Outer Party members were required to shout and hurl abuse at the telescreen while the black-clad Inner Party members quietly sat in the front and not required to take part in the frenzy but, rather, to oversee if any members of the Outer Party were not voracious enough in their anger. In the story, the enemy of the moment was a character made up by the Inner Party of Eurasia (the nation state in the novel) and this character that they had made up had the name of Goldstein, who was characterised as an intelligent-looking dissident with the sole aim of subverting the State. Move ahead to 2020 and in today’s reality, it is not Goldstein, but rather Trump, and as for the inner party and the outer party, I would say they could quite easily be represented by the media and the masses respectively. Naturally, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, telescreens, a way to spy on the public, are practically everywhere in people’s lives. They are two-way and cannot be turned off, except by those owned by members of the Inner Party. Thankfully, we do not have telescreens, but we do have CCTV and mobile phone cameras and let us not forget, the ubiquity of social media.
The Orange Man
Let’s start off with the orange man. I honestly do not believe that I am exaggerating to suggest that Donald J Trump is, perhaps, the most hated figure on the planet. Naturally, there are many supporters, but they, along with Trump are almost equally reviled by those who dislike Trump. Most mainstream media outlets equate Trump to be as evil as some of history’s most controlling and authoritarian characters including Hitler, Nero, and Napoleon, but oddly enough, not Stalin or any leader of China. The very fact that one can vote for an American president but not the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, the most powerful position in China–or, perhaps, the World–discounts any need to display all this vitriol because, frankly, no one can do very much about it.
Let it be clear. I am not a Trump supporter or a Biden supporter, although I have become more alienated from Biden by recent events. I do not like either of them and I, personally, feel incredibly frustrated that we do not have any independents in any of our debates, nor will we likely to see them in the future. I am more frustrated that most Americans are not aware of who their running independent candidates are, and to be fair, I cannot blame them because our mainstream news outlets simply refuse to cover them. To understand who the independents are, one must actively hunt them out and those who do so represent a very small slice of the population. Now as for the sheer hate and demonising, I am going to throw this question in the air. If you were forced to go to a Trump rally wearing a blue Biden cap or if you were forced to go to a Biden rally–if you can find any–wearing a red Trump cap, in which scenario would you feel safer in? It’s a serious question. I know which one I would choose, and I suspect you do to.
Social media, as toxic as it can be, also offers an incredibly interesting insight into the mindset of those who post and comment material. I find it fascinating that most circles are so vehemently anti-Trump that anyone vaguely hinting in a comment of something which Trump might have endorsed or any action he had undertaken, regardless if the outcome was good or bad, will brand that person as a veritable witch and should be burned at the stake immediately. How this pans out in the privacy of the poll booth could be interesting. For those who may not be aware, all states will have a third candidate in the poll booth, the Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, and a selection of other independents depending on the state. I secretly harbour this crazy notion that many voters, when entering the poll booth, will look at Trump and Biden on the ballot paper and ponder over the fact that we have two totally incompetent candidates and say to themselves, ‘You know, what about the woman called Jo? Never heard of her, but I’m sure she’ll do a better job than either of these two clowns!’ Can you imagine the ruckus this would create if the duopoly of the Democrats and the Republicans could be broken?
This will not happen of course because the Democrats and the Republicans will not allow this ‘sort of nonsense’ to happen. After all, they are both deemed as being right-wing and authoritarian (sorry Democrats, but I read up on that recent political compass survey) and both crave big government, big spending and big power. Only the other day, I was listening to one of my favourite 1970s Randy Newman songs, called Baltimore, about dreadful conditions in the city of the Baltimore and I was reflecting, since the early 70s, if conditions got any better with the duopoly of Democrat and Republican governments since then. It appears not. I will be candid here. Regardless whether Biden or Trump is elected for 2020, I envisage no difference whatsoever in the lives of the ordinary Americans during the next four years. Will I eat my words later? Time will tell.
And yet, the hate is rife on social media against anything that Trump does. It’s an extraordinary thing how easy it is to be banned or suspended from social media for being pro-Trump or revealing startling news about the Biden camp. For example, the recent suspension of Kayleigh McEnany’s Twitter account when she shared a story concerning Biden and his involvement with a Ukrainian businessman. Yet, news of Russian collusion by Trump seems to be held as solid factual news and safe from being censored from social media circles. The logic is incredibly odd. Social media gets its fair share from many who simply want to stir up as many people as possible to get them angry. A great example I came across is by an author by the name of Robert Reich, a political commentator, economic advisor and prolific writer of many books and articles, who served in the administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. This is a career which many would aspire to in his field and, to be fair, I hold a great amount of respect to anyone who achieves this. However, Robert Reich has contracted the one-liner post any-sort of crap disease on Facebook and, presumably, Twitter as well. And this is not your now-and-again let’s post something, but rather, let’s post something every damned hour because I want to be the Jim Jones of the anti-Trump masses who are blindly following me syndrome. Like Trump, Reich should be barred from social media! I don’t mean that seriously, of course, because everyone is entitled to free speech. But indeed, by grazing through Reich’s Facebook posts, of which there are a vast number of which he posts seemingly by the hour, and by the token that he is raking in nearly ten thousand comments for each simple post, the Jim Jones brigade is self-evident. Who could not be, at least, a little bit brainwashed by all this? Robert Reich is like a hammer that bangs on and on and on and on never ceasing until his message gets through.
On the other side, it is a little different. When Trump supporters or Republicans get a bit antsy about Biden, the focus is not so much on Biden in terms of hate, but of the radical left Democrats or, often, Progressives. Biden sure gets his share of attacks but usually that of an elderly guy who should be out of politics altogether and fishing with his friends and family. It’s quite easy for many of us to overlook the fact that Biden’s history is a very long one in politics and we must not forget that much of our younger generation are learning about Biden through the narrow lens of our mainstream media. Biden’s hopes on winning the election may be hinging largely on the younger voters. Attacks directly on Biden are normally those of ridicule. For example, Weekend at Biden’s (instead of Bernies) or the popular Sleepy Joe Biden and his bunker which he hardly steps out of. To be honest, no one (I sincerely hope), wants Biden dead or hospitalised, even the hardened Trump supporters. However, I was disgusted, but not surprised, to find many a post proclaiming that Trump should die after he contracted his own ‘kung-flu’ China Plague. And this is the thing. Media have been ramming all sorts of hyperbole into the heads of the masses that Trump has destroyed the economy and has killed thousands of people with his mishandling of the virus, which is why I did not find it much of a surprise when seemingly good people, or so I thought, want Trump dead. What kind of animals have we turned into?
Floyd and White Supremacy
2020 has seen some of the most vitriolic hateful episodes of the public going haywire, some of the worst of which must be from the deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor, and other people of colour who got slaughtered at the hands of white supremacy, at least, from what we are led to believe by the mainstream narrative. With respect to George Floyd, the public reaction was, of course, of such a fury that it sparked worldwide riots, which, of course, most of us are all too aware. My social media feed was rife of comments suggesting that Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing Floyd, should be charged with the most severe of penalties for murder in the first degree. One even went so far as to suggest that the police officers responsible should, at least, commit suicide, a bizarre and incredibly morbid comment, especially considering that the comment came from someone I take as being reasonable and intelligent. Just think of that for a moment. We have allowed our press and social media to become so powerful and influential as to strip away reason and rational thought from the most intelligent of us, something I thought only ‘ice’ and other hard drugs could achieve. These men have not even been tried, yet the witch-hunting public has already summed out the verdict.
I am not going to go into any personal thoughts as to who is right, who is wrong, should it be considered a murder, or whatever. However, it is prudent in any just society to judge those accused in the fairest way possible through the letter of the law and through due process. Many may not be aware that full bodycam videos are in circulation including the toxicology report which stated three times the fatal dosage of fentanyl found in Floyd’s blood. There is a link to the full bodycam video below which, at time of writing, is still available.
Before I watched the video, I confess that what I saw on third-party video cams posted appeared to be, what looked like, a particularly brutal handling by the police. However, I never made any intentions of forming personal judgments before a proper trial is held, which I made quite clear on many of my comments on various social media posts. After watching the video of the police bodycams, I was personally mortified by my own thought patterns as to what I mentally held as being a particularly brutal event. The video was complete in that it showed what happened when the policeman walked into the store. When the cashier at the store held up a counterfeit bill pointing out to the policeman that the guy who handed the forged note to him was sitting over there in a car. When the policeman asked the man behind the wheel to step out of the car. The erratic and strange behaviour Floyd was exhibiting. How the policemen were confused as to what this guy was doing and perhaps, he was under the influence of drugs. How they called medical support (twice). When Floyd said he couldn’t breathe before he was on the ground. When a bystander asked the policeman to check his pulse when he stopped moving. When the policeman finally checked but could not find a pulse. When the ambulance came, and they could not resuscitate him. And so on.
After watching the video, and if I pretended never having known about the case before, I could only remark that what I saw was standard police protocol in a very unfortunate case that the victim died from choking on his own fluids caused by the high levels of fentanyl. For over three months, this evidence was withheld from the public. A long three months where more than half the world believed what they witnessed was a racist brutal attack on a black guy. The anger festered to amazing heights creating a series of extraordinary worldwide episodes, at least those in our better-off first-world nations, like statue-toppling and protesting in crowds during a pandemic of which any involvement by government officials was scant, presumably on the fear of those in power being branded as beacons of white supremacy if they so intervened. So many following the events of Floyd could see no justice unless the policeman involved were committed for murder. Even today, the bodycam video coverage recently unearthed has not been watched by many of those who seem quite content that what they viewed from the third-party videos and by persuasion from others is enough to warrant the death sentence for the officers. The scarier aspect to this is that, even if the video was presented to some of these people, they would refuse to watch it. That thought scares the hell of out of me.
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who held George Floyd on the ground with his knee has been allowed to leave the state of Minnesota to await trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter. The evidence is being collected and I hope that these officers get a fair trial. We must not forget that a large amount of money was paid out to the family of Floyd, but we all know that all the money in the world will not bring him back. But should we send these officers to the death chair? No. If anything, they are probably innocent. But if justice is to be served, it should be served in the best interest of everyone by reviewing police protocol, the aim of making such future occurrences less likely to happen again. As for the bodycam cameras. Can you imagine if the policeman were not wearing them? Can you imagine if they were tried for murder? As of writing, they have not been tried yet, but I certainly hope they do not get convicted for murder. As for their personal lives, the hatred is putrid enough to make the rest of their lives a living hell regardless if they are innocent or not. The safest place for them to be is in custody, frankly.
During the height of BLM protests and statue-toppling, the infestation of blind hatred went rampaging throughout social media. I think that this hatred is somewhat subsiding by gauging from what is being posted in my social media circles, but a few months ago, it was like a festering sore. If I said anything remotely suggesting that toppling a statue of someone who just happened to own slaves at the time is wrong without going through the proper channels, I was practically branded as a white supremacist. No debate was allowed because it was usually ended by either blocking me or the other person deleting the thread. I ask reasonable and rational questions with never a swear word or insult but some of the responses I got were either completely irrelevant or downright abusive. Such hatred because I ‘didn’t get it’. But now, on the back of the recent National Indigenous People’s Day in the United States, statues of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt have been defaced or toppled. If there is one statue of someone I deemed would always be safe from the angry mob, that would be Abraham Lincoln. How wrong I was. Now who’s not ‘getting it’?
Let’s All Hate Sweden!
My story would not be complete without mention of the ‘evil’ nation of Sweden, a country that killed thousands of people needlessly because…. Well, because they chose not to lock down and many other nations, many of which have been doing especially badly, like the UK, have locked down and changed tactics several times leaving its citizenry totally confused. It does not matter that the front-loading initial deaths of Sweden, comprising more than ninety percent during the whole period up to now could, essentially, be treated as a separate issue from the handling of the virus up to the present. Mainstream media still love to make that childlike simple extrapolation that if such and such a country had the same deaths per million as Sweden, they would be far worse off. Without looking at the whole data and the timeline to now, this is utterly infantile logic and reasoning. Yet, the mainstream media have been very successful in making the world hate Sweden for its seemingly nonchalant attitude to the virus, whereas, in fact, Sweden have had restrictions in place throughout the whole time. But. They did not lock down and this makes people very angry because they had to endure a lockdown. As of writing, the World Health Organisation had announced that lockdowns should not be used as a primary method of virus control, which, of course has created further confusion and chaos between sparring experts and politicians. Yet still, the city of Melbourne in Australia has developed into a sort of East Germany where it is punishable to go away further than five kilometres from where you live unless you have a special work permit.
There has been so much in the sphere of hate this year that writing this article seems like it could go on forever. Therefore, in the interest of my own sanity and for the sake of the poor reader who got this far in the article, I will bid you all goodnight and farewell until next time!