More information continues to come out in regard to Russia’s interference in the election. They have proved to be adept masters at manipulation, not that it was particularly difficult to manipulate a good portion of the American people. Really, all it took was playing to the implicit and explicit bigotry of many white Americans, and playing on the fears of the rest. There was a time, decades ago, when America in general didn’t have a problem with intelligence. Intellect was considered to be a good thing, along with the tools to use it. There was a push to get everyone into college, and I think that was a mistake because it was done for the wrong reason, it was promoted as college = good job, rather than stressing the opportunity to learn, to expand your personal horizons, and simply to instill a lifetime love of learning.
There’s always been a serious strain of resentment bubbling along in America, the resentment of colonial minded people who are always prepared to think they’ve been denied their big ol’ piece of the pie, here in the land of the self-made man. That goes hand in hand with the idea that “lesser” people (non-white) have no business “taking jobs” away from them. This was at the bottom of the massive shift to anti-intellectualism, the eschewing of intelligence as a good or desirable trait. I’d place the serious start of this around the time of Reagan. It was slow to start, but rapidly gained ground.
Throughout the years, people got sleepy and apathetic, on all sides. We suffered through a number of years of remarkably bad leadership, this just being one of them:
Ignoring intelligence briefings can have real, disastrous consequences. In August 2001, President George W. Bush was handed a memo entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” But after receiving that briefing, Bush downplayed the intelligence, reportedly telling the briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” Just over one month later, Bin Laden struck with the September 11 attacks.
Pretty sure most people know the consequences of that instance of lousy leadership. That consequence so scared many Americans, who were living in their insular bubble, that they voluntarily started giving up their rights, one after the other. We’re still dealing with the fucking snarled mess created in the aftermath, and none of it is right. We took rights away from citizens, but gave every right to militarized cops. Citizens are expected to be under constant surveillance, but cops are not expected to have visual records of their behaviour, and no one seems to care if they tamper with what records do exist. So, Putin takes a good look at his buddy, Trump. Then he takes a good look at all the money which could be made if Trump were to be elected. Then he takes a look at the mob. A mob fueled by bigotry based hate, with a hard on against intelligence and critical thought, but enamored with conspiracy theories. People soaking up fake news with nary a thought to flex their index finger a couple of times to verify. Not difficult to manipulate at all. The timing was exquisite, and the hack worked exactly as planned. Time for homework: