Meddling With Our Minds, Too
Virtually all the attention on Russian manipulation of Americans has focused on Moscow’s attempts to hack into politicians’ and election system computers. Very little has been said about the much worse damage being done by Vladimir Putin’s minions.
Perhaps a few dozen people in this country have been involved in election meddling. Millions of Americans are cooperating with the more effective campaign.
Which is worse, I asked someone with knowledge of Moscow’s attempts to get into our computerized election systems, that or Russia’s work in setting Americans at each other’s throats? Easily the latter, he said.
We’ve always been good at rousing ourselves to anger over politics, without any outside help. Think 1860.
But for at least the past several years, we have had plenty of help from abroad in setting ourselves at each others’ throats. It comes from Moscow.
Have you heard about U.S. intelligence agencies funneling $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president? Many people have, thanks in part to Russian computer “bots” saturating the internet with the claim.
Many in this country — including some in the news media – picked up the story.
Just one problem. There’s no evidence it’s true. It’s a Russian plant.
The Russians are equal-opportunity aggravators. They make up stories to appeal to liberals, too.
Technology helps them get the fake news out at the rate of thousands of tweets, posts, etc., a day. If you doubt that, google Hamilton 68. It’s a service run by an outfit that monitors internet traffic originating in Russia and aimed at fomenting discord.
And, as I’ve written previously, they don’t stop with the internet. They also have funded some organizations and rallies related to politics, in efforts to stir up our passions. One rally against hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells was organized by Kremlin operatives here in the United States. That’s a proven fact.
We go right along with it. Millions of Americans have concluded that those who do not agree with us politically or socially cannot merely be wrong intellectually. No, those who disagree with us must be evil. Surely God will punish them. The Russians are feeding that frenzy. Perhaps our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, understood — and in contrast to many politicians today, refused to label even those he disagreed with strenuously as evil.
At some point, he wrote the following:
“The will of God prevails — In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is somewhat different from the purpose of either party …”
During his second inaugural address, Lincoln made this observation about North and South: “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”
And, he added, “it is quite possible that God’s purpose is somewhat different from the purpose of either party…”
Indeed. At least in part because of Russian meddling with our minds, not our election computers, many Americans have forgotten that.
They don’t need to influence elections. Hardening our hearts against each other is much more effective.
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.