We learned in school that repetition is one way of helping us to remember a key fact or principle. Many of us have also learned that it’s a way of persuading people of the truth of an otherwise questionable assertion.
Take “baseless claims,” for example. Within a week of the election that phrase appeared in every news article about Donald Trump’s insistence that fraud had stolen his re-election out from under him. News outlets in print, television, the internet, and radio all adopted the alleged truism that his claims were baseless. How they determined that without an examination of the situation in all the states Trump lost was not reported. Thus, the “baseless claims” term represented an assumption on the part of the media, notwithstanding that over the past several weeks it has become apparent that it was accurate. But well before that, “baseless claims” was made part of the American consciousness.
Please raise your hands if you’re sick and tired of being manipulated by the media. Whoa, too many to count!
Even more worrisome is the phrase, “systemic racism.” Gaining traction during the 2020 year of media-justified rioting, looting, murder and mayhem in cities across the country, “systemic racism” became the blanket explanation for criminal behavior. I’m not convinced that racism is systemic in this country, simply because I haven’t seen proof or even strong evidence that racism has infected our entire American way of life.
Unfortunately a large portion of the ruling class seems to have accepted that racism is systemic throughout our government, economy, spiritual life, family life, political life. “Systemic” in this context means that the entirety of the United States is rife with racism, presumably including you and me.
This is worrisome because those in a position to legislate remedies seem to have bought into the constant repetition, hence reality, of the ubiquitous phrase. More unfortunate still, the party that institutionalized welfare in its most damaging forms, creating today’s permanent underclass, is again in power. And since racism is more likely to be seen as systemic by the party coming into power, every aspect of life in this country is subject to legislative attempts to reverse it. Hence my fervent hope that Republicans retain control of the Senate.
Does racism exist in the United States? Of course, as it does in some form or other in virtually every nation on Earth. However, many of us try daily to minimize the negative effects of racism in our own behavior. Nonetheless, some of the readers of this piece will see racism as its motivation. That’s too bad, but that’s one of the effects of the unrelenting repetition of the phrase, “systemic racism.” And that’s not a baseless claim.
James Sherry is a resident of Frederick County.