The Habits of IndigNation
Most Americans are now aware that we live in an essentially surreal political environment. A concerted team of political reactionaries guides the national conversation from crisis to crisis, all the while demanding further expansions of federal government power and the repudiation of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. A special group of professional complainants has taken over. Let's call it IndigNation. Its members' sense of "outrage" at every perceived slight and misinterpretation drives them into ever greater commitments to their increasingly autonomous IndigNation.
In IndigNation, there are no immigration laws. In IndigNation, the president will be impeached. In IndigNation, the opposition is known as the Alt-Right, white supremacists, and Nazis. In IndigNation, the news is manufactured to fit the narrative. In IndigNation, the enforcement of laws is conducted in agreement with the ideology of blue privilege.
At present, IndigNation has as its propaganda focus the deaths of 17 teachers and students in Broward County, Florida. Their deaths can mean only one thing: more gun control. IndigNation has had it. Its members are fed up, and they will not take it anymore! Rallies will commence, and the media cameras will be turned on, and the minders of social media will allow the narratives to coalesce around the grand theme of gun control. The killer, Cruz, wore a "Make America Great Again" cap while he practiced with his firearm. ABC News falsely reported that he was a member of a white nationalist group. It all fits together for a mob mentality against the injustice of the crime.
IndigNation does not blame the government. Only political figures seeking to limit the government are a threat and worthy of demise and removal. President Trump is the unspeakable center of IndigNation's rage. IndigNation believes he stole the government from IndigNation's rightful heir: Hillary Clinton. She should be president! He cheated in a conspiracy with the Russians to overthrow the politics of IndigNation. President Trump, along with the NRA, wanted those children and teachers to die. They have blood on their hands!
There is no reasonable limit to their rage. What is wrong in their minds goes beyond reason. Pure emotion must be unleashed, and what better rhetorical vehicle than "the children"? They were so innocent, and the Enemy is so guilty. This is the terminology that escalates and spirals. "Thoughts and prayers" are a conspiracy against the innocent. No one should say such things! People who say Jesus speaks to them are mentally ill.
IndigNation is always ready and waiting for the next basis of rage. Why should these people hate the president further? Why should they distrust their fellow citizens with an ever deepening resentment? These questions can be answered by watching CNN, NBC, ABC, Rachel Maddow, Hollywood movies, Jimmy Kimmel, and too many college professors.
In many respects, Broward County is the forced capital of IndigNation. This is the county that unleashed the outrage of Bush v. Gore on the wings of butterfly ballots. This is the home of "Jesus-stomping," where a local professor asked students to write Jesus's name on a piece of paper, throw it on the ground, and stomp on it. When a student said "no," the student was expelled. The professor was an adjunct professor whose full-time job was leader of the Democratic Party for Broward County. This is the home of Trayvon Martin and the NYT's "white Hispanic," George Zimmerman. This is a community that helped lead the way on limiting the power of police to arrest high school students guilty of crimes. In response to 2010 federal rules saying arrests were too frequent on high school campuses, school boards like Broward County's began to discourage arrest, and police began to dismiss the evidence of serious crimes they found among these high school students.
Broward County is an epicenter of the kind of governing corruption that pervades the political preferences of IndigNation. The gross favoritism to the corrupt and criminal over the faithful and innocent community of the beloved characterizes the political preferences of IndigNation. #MeToo, unless your chief law enforcement officer rapes Juanita Broaddrick. The FBI can enforce laws against foreign interference in elections, but it is too busy to be bothered with the expressed concerns of residents of Broward County who thought Cruz was going to commit a mass slaughter with guns. Local authorities had more than 30 complaints against Cruz, and yet they could not seize Cruz the way they did his brother mere hours after 17 innocent people were killed at Parkland High School.
The governance of IndigNation is corrupt. Those who run it know that this is true. This is why there must be another crisis, another distraction, another spectatorship. The spectacle will draw all eyes away from how government works – or does it?
These are the habits of IndigNation. We all know its habits, but as individuals, we seem unable to arrest its work.
Thoughts and prayers to IndigNation.
Dr. Ben Voth is an associate professor of corporate communication and public affairs and director of debate at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is the author of three recent academic books on the power of communication and argument to shape a better world.