Hollywood taught us to blame the villain: the one with the mask who is killing civilians for pure joy. But the line between social realism and fantasist in modern society seems to be more blurred and inexplainable than ever before.
So we blame ISIS. We blame ‘terrorists’, our perception of terrorists. We blame the mentally ill or the once criminals and whoever else we perceive as “evil.”
Friday, in the New York Times, the husband of Jo Cox, who was brutally murdered during the Brexit chaos, condemned populists who “share a strategy based on exploiting divisions between people.” This includes extremists like Donald Trump, who entice hatred and fear. He went on to write that the murder of his wife happened within a context of anti-immigrant rhetoric. He went on to attend the ‘New York United Nations’ summit of refugees this week.
Ms. Cox was murdered on June 16th, in Yorkshire, just one week before the UK voted to leave the European Union, leaving two children without a mother. Mr. Cox went on to say that the current political atmosphere contributed to his wife’s death, rather than the suspect’s reported mental illness.
“This is not just a British problem. The rise of the populists and extremists – who tell people that the problems they face are because of some other group – is a global phenomenon.” he said.
The context in his words deepens and shadows a rather harsh reality to the game of politics in general as he went on to say:
“In France, The National Front leader, Marine Le Pen, smears Muslims. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban peddles hatred of refugees. In Britain, the former leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, spreads prejudice toward Romanians. And in the United States, The Republican presidential nominee, Donald J Trump, insults Mexicans and Muslims.”
That paints a nice picture. History repeats itself, and there is no secret that similar behaviour that quickly normalized hatred can spiral out of control. This whole mantra of ‘good guy versus bad’ has us completely silent. There is a particular danger in staying silent, especially when the media knows how to formulate ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ better than Hollywood does. The devil you do know is always a little nicer than the devil you don’t know.
Maybe American politicians genuinely want an ‘uglier America’? Candidates, including Ted Cruz and his infamous ‘carpet bombing’ promised to bring back the ugly days or torture. Same sex marriages were eventually settled by the Supreme Court last year, but Mark Rubio still ran his joke of a campaign on “believing deeply that marriage should be between one man and one woman.”
This is the way society is now. These aren’t satires, these are facts, and it seems that the link between the rise of these extremists and bigots are incredibly linked to violence all around the world. Who we point the finger at is who we are told to point the finger at, and when it comes to who to vote for we are more confused as ever.
One of the most intelligent points that President Obama had pointed out about the terrorism and gun violence problem is:
“Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they are defeated by better ideas, a more attractive and more compelling vision.”
The problem with our very own society, especially the youth, is that we are vulnerable to be compelled to “newer” or “better” ideas, hence the staggering development in recruitment. The real scare is within the development, and how easy and accessible it has become to be brainwashed. Journalism itself used to be just subjective and objective, but now it seems that even the most reliable source can be subjective and persuasive.
The ultimate mind game of the entire conflict is the result of conflict that has been thrown upon our own inner community. The racism and hate crimes that are results of other hate crimes have given ISIS more power and platform than any webpage. The belief and desperation that has swarmed our own social platforms and sense of self is what gives us the vivid imagination that we all have about ISIS. We shouldn’t be giving them the power to manipulate us, yet we seem to fall short to really research their roots and masterminded orchestration. Our own country has divided itself in a way that isn’t civil, and reeks of genocide and even more hate crimes. Similar to George Orwell’s infamous 1984, we find ourselves living in similar paranoid and misunderstanding to the truth behind the radio station or television.