I just listened to a discussion on MSNBC among Latinx and Black leaders regarding the current social media attempts to discourage their people from voting.
Creating confusion, it’s called. Creating distrust and division.
Which reminded me of my reaction to the segments in the Mueller Report detailing the Russian anti-election operations designed specifically to suppress votes in our multitude of minority communities.
Or, rather, the designation of “minority” will be transferred to me and others like me. As it is now, huge swaths of my city are majority Black, Latinx and Asian. Since I always use public transportation when I travel distances beyond the capacities of my feet, I’m so cool with this I don’t really notice it anymore, except when I want to. And when I do, I love it.
When I read the Mueller Report, what most alarmed and offended me were the Russian social media operations specifically targeting U.S. minority groups believed to vote overwhelmingly Democratic or progressive, seeking to create antagonism to Hillary Clinton, encouraging them to vote either for a third-party candidate, or to support Bernie Sanders, or to be so disgusted they wouldn’t vote at all.
Here are a few examples of many Russian postings constructed to stir up anger among specific minorities, as recorded in one Mueller indictment:
“On or about November 3, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators purchased an advertisement to promote a post on the Instagram account “Blacktivist” that read in part: ‘Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it’s not a wasted vote.’”
My comment: It wasn’t a “wasted vote.” It was a catastrophic vote.
“By in or around early November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the ‘United Muslims of America’ social media accounts to post anti-vote messages such as: ‘American Muslims [are] boycotting elections today, most of the American Muslim voters refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton because she wants to continue the war on Muslims in the middle east and voted yes for invading Iraq.’”
I had a reaction:
We as a nation have a disgraceful history of slavery, of segregation, and of denigrating and mistreating new ethnic groups who migrate here. We also have a parallel history of complex assimilation into an American “culture,” which grants each of us a self-determined and fluid multiple identity beyond stating “I am American.”
I, for one, am a second-generation American, a New Yorker, a secular Jew, whose grandparents emigrated from Poland, Ukraine and France. That the Russians would perceive my identities – and the multiple identities of Blacks – as exploitable weaknesses infuriates me.
Our multiple identities are our strength and should be our ebullience. Never should our self-identification be corrupted, manipulated, turned inward into a passive object for cynics, let alone foreign entities, brandishing fake news and agitation through fake names.
Do you sense I’m still furious?
And now that Blacks and Latinx are being targeted again…I’m even more furious. Boiling, raging mad.