Remember the Trojan Horse? Achilles was dead and the ten-year Trojan War was at a stalemate when Odysseus sent the Greek ships into hiding so it appeared they’d given up. He presented a big wooden horse as a gift—a peace offering—leaving it in front of the city walls of Troy. Fascinated, believing they’d finally won, the Trojans dragged the startling creature into their city and celebrated. Inside the horse, however, were Greek soldiers who slipped out of it’s belly and destroyed Troy from within.
Fact or legend? Doesn’t matter: the symbolism should put us on our guard. We’ve been warned of late that McCain trolls out are out and about. They’re easy enough to spot, spouting their Republican talking points. What's more difficult, and more insidious are the infiltrators who lay low and try and fit in, doing their business in a quite a different way. I say this not to be awarded a tin hat or drummed out of the dialogue for my paranoia, but because I think it’s worth considering that DailyKos has undoubtedly been infiltrated by clever PsychOps types who aren’t going about things in an obvious way.
This diary started as a response in a post about Rush Limbaugh smiling. It grew from a comment I made that several people told me should be turned into a diary. Here’s what I said:
I think Rush is smiling because he's succeeded in getting people like "us" saying things like, "there's no difference between Rush and Hillary".... I was over at Taylor Marsh last night for awhile, reading. It was a startling, shocking, sad kind of experience. When I was done, the only way I could make sense of the hatred coming off the page was to think about the Right Wing and how odd it was to see people proclaiming to be Democrats acting just like Right Wing extremists. I've experienced the same thing here too, some of the hatred is breathtaking. I believe it's kind of like a disease and it's contagious. It's also like a Trojan horse was pushed into our midst. It's very strange. It's a kind of mob mentality, really, like a public execution when everyone starts throwing excrement at the "criminals."
I'm afraid that people like Rush have poisoned the well and drove us all mad. Seriously. The lies that get said on both sides—the spin, the vicious exaggerations, half truths, non truths—are not what I expected from my fellow "liberal" and "progressive" friends.
Those who support Hillary and hate Obama are rabid, it seems. And those who hate Hillary and support Obama are becoming more so all the time.
I've been holding out for quite awhile now, thinking about the fact that at one point Hillary apparently said that even a "refrigerator" could beat the Republicans this year, but as the hatred—the cries for revenge, the concept of getting even at the ballot box by voting, not for, but against, the desire to destroy the other candidate—builds, I wonder.
I'm worried that the Republicans, especially Rove and his gang, are privately laughing their heads off about the success of their little venture.
I say this because I think that many of the voices writing here and on Hillary's blogs are really stealth -- Trojan Horses -- spreading the hate, like the way the FBI infiltrated the radical movements in the sixties and promoted violence, essentially stirring the pot, getting everyone primed for doing violence. I mean, it's classic strategy. It's called divide and conquer.
A couple of nights ago I wrote a diary about Bobby Kennedy. That's really where all this began for me. It took me back to seeing him, to remembering his assassination, to the recognition of loss and lost opportunity. It was especially amazing listening to him talk to a crowd of his supporters the night Martin Luther King was shot. Among other things he said:
In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.
We have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
I'm offering the video again, because Bobby's talking about hatred and the choice we're presented with when bad things happen. His words, even after forty years, have really got me thinking, remembering why it was I thought him an exceptional being.
In the spring of 1970—barely two years after Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been assassinated, a little over a year into Nixon’s administration, the National Guard fired on the students at Kent State, killing several, shedding the blood of unarmed young people who were simply exercising their right of free speech. I was outraged. So were others: demonstrations exploded across the country.
I was living in Detroit at the time, in college at Merrill-Palmer Institute. I made my way to an S.D.S. meeting. (Students for a Democratic Society, a militant anti-war group) at nearby Wayne State University. The campus was covered with flyers announcing the gathering—it's purpose, to discuss options of response to the outrage.
I don’t know what I expected, but certainly not the gun-totting, Red Book quoting fanatics who were running the show. Scruffy-looking white guys dressed with military flair, thrusting Mao’s Red Book into the air and shouting, "This is a tool!" Brandishing automatic rifles, and shouting, "This, too, is a tool!"
I was sitting on the floor in a large room, filled to overflowing with young people. I averted my eyes as they spoke, hoping no one would notice me. I was afraid if they did, if the guys with the guns really took a close look at me, it would be obvious I was no savvy radical ready to take up arms. I was afraid of their anger and their desire for violence. I was angry; I wanted the world to change, but I didn't really want to shoot people or see people shot.
It was strange, but what's even stranger is that to this day, I have no idea if I was at a meeting with "real" S.D.S. leaders or if I was experiencing the results of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program, Cointelpro, in action.
Launched in the Cold War 1950s, Cointelpro was intended to, according to the FBI, "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalists, hate-type organizations and groups, their leadership, membership, and supporters." By the FBI’s hazy definition, "hate-type organizations" could include just about anyone who threatened the status quo–the Black Panthers and Communists, of course, but also anti-Vietnam peaceniks, labor leaders, and Native American groups. These "subversives" were to be secretly investigated and their activities disrupted.
I'm not trying to say that the S.D.S. wasn't militant all by itself. I'm just pointing to the fact that many of these groups were infiltrated and, among other things, encouraged to be violent. These were the days of J. Edgar Hoover, and it wasn’t until years later, after documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act, that we understood how thoroughly and methodically and successfully the student peace movement had been corrupted by undercover agents working exactly to that end.
So. Am I expecting gun totting crazies to show up on DKOS? No, not exactly. But, we do know that the neocons use American tax payers money to present government propaganda as news. We know they use the major networks to sell their propaganda. We know they stage events to make it look like certain things happened, which really didn't. And we know that the military, like John McCain, has started hiring bloggers to spread their propaganda.
All I'm saying, here, is heads up! The next time you see right wing talking points coming from a Hillary supporter, hurled in such a way to make your teeth grind with hatred, ask yourself if you're sure the person on the other end of the insult is really a 58-year-old feminist who has just lost her mind. Maybe it's someone pretending to be, and maybe they're doing it with the hopes of setting your teeth on edge and filling you with hatred. Maybe returning the insult, or hurling your own freshly baked ones, is not the way to win the election this fall. (I say that because maybe part of the goal is for DKOS to be more like Bill O'Reily wants us to be—hatefilled—so we'll be less effective, scaring people the same way the S.D.S. scared me.)
Maybe some people are spreading lies, causing confusion and chaos—on purpose. Maybe they're even getting paid to do it. Maybe they're part of some 527 political action group. Maybe they're friends of Karl Rove's. Maybe some of what's going on around here is a little like the example Patrick Fiztgerald gave when he compared himself to an umpire who, while attempting to determine whether a pitcher intentionally hit a batter, had sand thrown in his eyes. Remember that?
I just want to keep the people who believe in progressive causes, who believe in a woman's right to choice and in ending the war and bringing about economic justice in this country, on the same page—not fighting each other, but fighting the common enemy. And one last thing, in that other diary, the one about Bobby Kennedy, I said that
I realized this morning just how deeply I have been moved by the youth coming out for Obama, and how much I don’t want them to experience what I experienced back then, including the election of a cynically dishonest Richard Nixon (who brought many of the neocons who have served Bush into power).