The Enemy Makers

How many of you have recently said, “I’d vote for anybody but Donald/Hillary?”

By Diane Smith

“It’s not your friends that get you elected, it’s your enemies that get you beat.”

A U.S. senator said that to me a long time ago. Now, everybody in politics has figured it out; well, everyone but us average Americans who consistently get played by the “enemy makers.” You know the enemy makers, the politicians who build animosity in order to defeat their opponents, media moguls who sell more ads with winners and losers than winners and winners, and not-for-profits who demonize others to raise money for their causes. Folks, we have got to stop being suckered.

Every time there’s a gun tragedy folks immediately move to their camps. “Stop Assault Weapons,” “Give a Good Guy a Gun,” “Ban Muslims,” “Spread Peace.” While I’m sure folks who share these slogans mean well, they’ve become unpaid workers in an adversary building empire. Exactly what the enemy makers want.

Here’s the deal, in politics today, creating enemies pays. Big. Our political, media, and not-for-profit leaders get a pay-off from us turning on each other. Yep, that’s right. We have political strategists who’ve taken the senator’s observation to heart and want us opposed to each other. On both sides. It’s just good for business.

“It’s not your friends that get you elected …”

So, if your friends don’t get you elected, who needs friends? What you need is enemies. You need enemies that hate your opponent enough to give you money to fight them, put up yard signs, and go out and vote against them. Right?

How many of you have recently said, “I’d vote for anybody but Donald/Hillary?” See, it’s working. You’re not voting for someone, you’re voting against someone.

If you’ve said that (don’t lie, just about everyone not living off the grid has at least thought it), you’ve been played. Along with all the rest of us.

“It’s your enemies that get you beat.”

So, how to turn it around? Dang, I’m not sure. But how about this? How about if we acknowledge that making enemies is the current mother’s milk of politics? It’s a sales strategy. And, if you’re smart, you won’t buy in to a slogan that sounds good to you and was probably said by someone who makes you feel good. Like Rush, Rachel, or your high school classmate on Facebook.

Attacking an opponents’ patriotism or character is a strategy that ranks right up there with big-pharma’s campaign to peddle opioids or “raise our awareness” about restless leg syndrome. They bank on us not listening to the warnings, never doing actual research or bumping into someone with a contrary point of view. Expensive, yet effective. That’s why they do it.

This election cycle, when you hear an attack on someone’s patriotism or character, see it for what it is, building and selling enemies. And then change the channel. Be done being played.

Learn more about Diane by following her column here or visit American Rural at AmericanRural.org.

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