#OurWorld: The Straw [Haired] Man: A Story of Propaganda & Deceit

Sam av

We’re being played.

I mean, let’s be completely real for a bit here. I’m not an expert. I’m not old and wise. I’m not a politician. Nothing in this discussion is going to be one hundred percent, irrefutable fact.

But here is what I do have going for me. I am an intelligent human being with an education. I paid attention in history class. I have a fondness for scheme, plot, and story, and I have a special affection for tales that are especially twisted, fucked up, rife with betrayal and shitstorm.

It’s kind of my thing.

So while I won’t claim that what I say here is absolute fact, I will say that my opinions and perspectives are not impossible. And the real possibility that I might be correct is…scary. So consider the cost of all things, not just the thing that seems most pressing at this time.

Before we begin, I feel the need to point out (because I know some of you will freak out if I don’t), that I am in no way, shape, or form endorsing Donald Trump, nor am I dismissing the horrible garbage he spews from his mouth. I won’t be voting for Donald Trump.

But my wild claim of the day is that he is not quite as bad as people have painted him to be. And I’m not convinced one way or another that the man is even a serious candidate for President. It has been a favorite theory from the beginning that he isn’t, that he was put in play by the Clintons to ensure that she wins.

How does that even work?

This is what is called a “Straw Man.” The candidate vilifies the opposition to make themselves look like the only viable option. The speech goes a lot like “Well, I’m better than that guy! I think we can all agree that he would be a disaster, am I right?!”


In Donald Trump’s case, he does a pretty good job of making himself look terrible. He has said some terrible, awful things. Hateful, spiteful things about Muslims, women, Mexicans, Democrats, etc.

I’m going to challenge your perception a bit…and remember, this is all just speculation. We’re having a conversation and keeping an open mind…

Because you’re brilliant, right? We’re smart folks.

Have you ever said something you didn’t mean?

Why did you do that?

No, I mean, really…why did you do that? What was your motivation for saying the thing? Did you perhaps have something to gain? Or stand something to lose?

Donald Trump has had wins and losses as a businessman, but it’s clear to most that winning is important to him. He said some things…here and there. And he got a variety of reactions. Like brand testing, if you will. If you say five things and people boo you on one and cheer you on one and are lukewarm on three, then the one that was cheered becomes your brand, and you don’t ever say the thing that gets you booed again. Trump built a campaign of cheering points. He learned his demographic…and it’s a large, unhappy demographic that he’s had a hand in screwing over. He knows what they are primarily upset about, and he gave a voice to the fears…fears that have been quietly but steadily growing since even I was a child.

They are taking your jobs.”

They are destroying America.”

They hate us.”

And the word ‘they’ is only a placeholder for the particular demographic that you, in particular, are afraid of.

On stage, he has offered no real solutions for these problems.

“I’m going to bring jobs back.”

“We’re going to make America great again.”

“I guarantee. Trust me.”

And his target audience, his target consumer, gobbled it up. I’m not saying they are stupid…in fact, I think that people who write off these millions of voters as ‘a basket of deplorables’ are completely naive to the concerns of those voters. They care about America. They’re hurting as we all do. We’re merely in disagreement about the root cause.

So he won his primary by presenting a popular set of values and fears. He read his audience better than his competitors and he business manned the shit out of that election.


Does anyone remember that one show a long time ago…?

Seems a bit like a different kind of Donald Trump. Still quite stubborn, very alpha male, not a person I’d like to meet, surely.

Donald Trump loves the TV screen. He participates in far more media than any other candidate. He takes interviews on phone, on television, on radio. He loves giving speeches. He loves hearing himself talk. He loves the cheering and the crowd. He thrives on that energy.

So what the hell is this?

Over the past 40 years, the labor force participation of women with children under 18 has grown from 47 percent in 1975 to 70 percent today. Raising a child is now the single greatest expense for most American families—even exceeding the cost of housing in much of the country. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of mothers with children under 6 are working outside of the home.

Government policies are stuck in the past, and make already difficult choices regarding care arrangements even more difficult. Outdated policies in many cases cause women to make choices that are not the best for either their families or the economy.

Today’s workforce includes 73.5 million women representing 47 percent of the entire US labor force. Over 24 million of those women have children under age 18; almost 10 million of them have children under age 6. Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of American households with children under the age of 18, but hold 62 percent of minimum wage jobs. The number of families headed by single mothers has doubled in the last 30 years; about two-thirds of these mothers work in “dead-end, poorly compensated jobs without flexibility or benefits.” Government policies must be especially helpful for these women.

Current federal policies regarding child and dependent care do not reflect either the needs of American families or the contributions of women to the American workforce. The high cost of quality care burdens working families while the tax code provides disincentives for women to reenter or enter the workforce.

Our plan will transform child and dependent care to meet the needs of 21st century families, empowering parents—not bureaucrats.

It’s an excerpt from his website. And includes one of the major policy changes I have badly wanted to see: paid leave for new mothers. It also includes something major that has been warped in the public eye: Donald Trump’s respect or lack thereof for women.

Does anyone out there remember Omarosa? When she was on The Apprentice, I thought she was an awful person. She’s mean-spirited and competitive. However, one cannot dispute that she’s a driven, ambitious individual. She was the first winner of The Apprentice and has worked for Donald Trump ever since. So I’ll give her a moment here to tell you how she feels about his views on women, because I think she’s more qualified than I am.

So, here’s what I think about the character of Donald Trump.

I think he’s a bullshitter. And I think he is very good at it. 

I don’t think he has any trouble at all saying whatever words he thinks are necessary to achieve his ultimate goal. I don’t think he means even half of it. He has boldly lied and he has said things he can’t back up. And then when he’s backed into a corner he flings insult without hesitation. He’s already walked back several of his statements. If he were to achieve the White House, I think he’d leave the work primarily in the hands of others and simply trust them to do what they need to do, but wouldn’t hesitate to throw his executive weight around if there was a problem. I think he’ll follow through on a few of his promises and then work on what he secretly believes the real issues with the nation are.

It has been highlighted multiple times (as Omarosa herself said in the video above) that Donald Trump’s positions have changed since he started running for President, and I think that it’s because he’s garnering votes in much the same way as Hillary Clinton: saying what the people want to hear and harnessing the energy of the crowd.

While we’re on the topic, look at the difference in crowds that they draw:

Hm. She looks like she needs some help.

Some quotes from the Twitter:

I would vote for unconscious Hillary before I’d vote for Trump. She could be on life support and better than that evil clown.

When u think Trump can sink no lower… This is so dangerous for US democracy.

And then he hires white trash to run Trump campaign. Sticks to his own kind, lying bigots.

Trump’s election would mean the beginning of a 21st-century era of McCarthyism; it’s vital he is kept far from the White House.

And these ppl would be the next owners of the US power alongside Trump. Not in this life!!

Racist Trump has the audacity to think we don’t remember what he’s done!

Or there’s this one from a newspaper in Oregon:

Think of this before you vote in November. Donald Trump has made disparaging remarks about women, war heroes and mothers of a soldier killed in combat. He has mocked a disabled person.

I grew up with a disabled little sister and witnessed her being ridiculed as a child. These were children, of course, and they hopefully grew up to know that this was abhorrent behavior. Trump apparently did not.

We cannot let this truly loathsome person anywhere near the White House.

You see, what the media, her supporters, and anyone who speaks on her behalf has done is shift the focus off of Hillary Clinton and onto this Evil Madman. It’s like “Don’t look at me! What about the Second Coming of Hitler?!”

All she has to say is “I won’t let that happen!” and she basically wins.

Now, stay with me…stay open-minded. And think. When you are so blinded by your fears–because let’s face it…he’s been made out to be Hitler 2.0, and he has said some stuff to back up the claims–you have to question who you are as a human being. What can you do to stop this madness? Because really, you don’t have a lot of choices here. You can vote for the person most likely to defeat him–Hillary Clinton–or accept that you may deny his opposition your vote by voting for someone else, or not voting at all. It’s up to you. You’re a German citizen during the rise of the Nazis. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?!?

That’s fucking powerful.

Because you have to. You HAVE to vote for Hillary Clinton. Morally, you have no fucking choice at all. You’re certain our country will burn itself down if we elect him. And then you are blind. You’re fucking blind. You can’t even help it.

NOTHING else matters but that he be defeated.

How fucked up is that?

Okay. Now let’s walk it back.

Who made you do this?

Was it him? Or was it her?

Are you sure? Like, really, really sure?  Are you willing to risk your future on the concrete value of your ‘best guess’?

Did you forget some things? America was founded on a system of checks and balances, with three branches of Government:

  • Executive Branch – President
  • Legislative Branch – Congress
  • Judicial Branch – Supreme Court

The President doesn’t have as much power as we assign to him or her. They cannot pass law without Congress, and they can be put in check by the Supreme Court (“Hey, you can’t do that…it breaks our fundamental American code.”).

He can appoint Supreme Court Justices, but Congress has to approve that…otherwise Merrick Garland would be a Justice right now.

He can create Executive Orders and push his will, but the Supreme Court can strike that down as unconstitutional.

He can’t just Go To War. Congress has to approve that.

He can piss a lot of people off, but…honestly, we’re not doing too hot with our buddies already.

If he became the fearsome dictator everyone seems so concerned about…do you have so little faith in our people that you don’t believe we’d stand up and do something about that? The ripple of discontent is rough and ragged right now. The whole world is watching.

Do you have so little faith in our military that you believe its officers would blindly follow nonsensical, inhumane orders and break the Geneva Convention?

If you ask me, the only thing at all fearsome about Donald Trump is the millions of voters that want him to be President, and they aren’t going anywhere whether he gets elected or not. They’re scared, angry, poor, and desperate, and a lot of other adjectives that aren’t stupid or racist (hey, we have those in every party, honestly).

But hey. At least they voted for him, which is more than I can say for Hillary Clinton. 

I like to use relationship analogies a lot. Probably because they’re so relatable. By now, pretty much everybody has been in a relationship that hasn’t gone well.

So stay with me here…this is going to get deep.

Do you remember when you first fell in love, with that first lover? How the sky opened up, and light shone down from the heavens, and flowers bloomed where your lover walked? And then, you got the first inklings that something might be amiss. A yellow flag. A caution flag? You ignored this first flag. Probably justified it. There was a reason, or you were being silly. Maybe you were just being too paranoid. Too jealous. Too clingy?

Do you remember when the switch flipped? There came a day when you were just all kinds of done with that.

The ‘done’ happened over something stupid. For me, it was because he put my iPod through the washer without checking pockets. It would have been a small thing by itself, but it was just the 123498th time he just didn’t care enough to take some extra time to do things right.

Right now, we’re all in different stages of our relationship with Hillary Clinton. Look at everyone who ever talks about her as if that person is your very best friend in the most fucked up relationship ever, and you’ve been trying to tell them that they need to GTFO but they just won’t listen. What stage are they at? In love? Denial? Or so fucking done they can’t even…?

Bernie’s supporters are So Fucking Done.

And when you reach the point of So Fucking Done, what you find is all of that stuff you let slide when you were in love. Those might-have-been lies are just lies now. Those maybe-she-was-just-trying-to’s are just “She fucking lied to me again!”s. Those Right-Wing-and-or-Russian-Conspiracies are “Do you ever tell the damned truth?”s. When you learn to be suspicious and question everything, you see a lot more.

And yeah…maybe we’re seeing more than is there.

But we still haven’t seen her fucking Wall Street Transcripts, and she said she’d share them. And I don’t want to hear anyone’s fucking “But what about HIS–”

I don’t give a shit. You want to talk about issues? Let’s talk about issues. She has yet to prove she isn’t cozy with Wall Street. *I* want to know. I have wanted to know. I have wanted to know since it was asked in the debates last fall. I wanted to know when I was firmly in her camp. And her repeated dodging, lying, and covering up every time someone questioned her actions is what made me fall out of love. She’s nothing but a scumbag Ex now. Qualified? Maybe.

But once you lose the trust of one who loved you, it’s really fucking hard to get it back. I mean…can I trust anything she says now that I know she’s lying at least some of the time? Abso-fucking-lutely not. That’s how you end up in shitty failing relationships your entire life. Done with her. And I never did like that Trump guy.

But let’s face it…she’d never have a hope in hell of winning if she weren’t running against Donald Trump.

Let it sink in again.

If it weren’t for Hitler 2.0, she simply could not win. 

Do you trust these people, any or all of them, not to deceive you? How well do you really know them? How well do you know him? Or her? What motivates them? What are they afraid of? Who are they in this for? Where do their interests lay? How does money flow in and out of their plans?

Just keep thinking, people. When you feel this strongly about something you don’t want to do but feel obligated, you are being manipulated. Start asking all of the questions.

But at the end of the day, you have to live with your decision…you will do what you feel is right. And that’s perfect.

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).



About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on September 14, 2016, in #OurWorld and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: