To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Friday, July 19, 2024


A House Divided



“Have you ever seen the country so polarized?” the newswoman asked the historians, one conservative, one liberal.

Even historians have to take sides? Yes, and I blame Edward Bernays.

Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, perfected the art of emotions-driven advertising.

In 1917, at the behest of the U.S. government, he convinced us that we should “fight a war to end all wars.” In the ‘20s, he helped tobacco companies turn women into smokers. He used alluring, thin models in his ads, urging them to “reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.”

Edwards wrote a book called Propaganda. In it, he said, “The astounding success of propaganda during the war … opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind.” And this: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it?”

One of his stunts was to have nice-looking young women lighting “torches of freedom” in an Easter Day Parade in New York City in an effort to make it acceptable for women to smoke in public. The press was invited, of course, and like now, they are used to spread the propaganda.

Now the stunts make us want things we don’t need, from artificially flavored and colored water to politicians on puppet strings. They would have us believe that it’s wrong for everyone to have access to quality health care. They want us to think it’s OK to use tax dollars to pay for private schools.

They push our emotional buttons, but we have to use our heads.

Take the gay marriage issue. Will someone else’s right to marry make your marriage less stable? Will it cause you an economic hardship? Who loses and who wins if two gay people can enter a legal contract to be responsible for each other until death … or divorce … do them part?

Take religious freedom. Do you choose your church and your religion? Does your neighbor have the same right? Would either candidate affect your choices?

And gun rights! Can you hunt? Can you protect yourself? Do you honestly believe any president can do away with the Second Amendment? And if he could, how many of us would give up our guns?

Let’s make our own decisions, people. Consider real needs – jobs, health care, education, safe neighborhoods. Everything else is just propaganda.

On the real issues, the American people aren’t that far apart.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer


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Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.