Propaganda is a modern Latin word, ablative singular feminine of the gerundive form of propagare, meaning to spread or to propagate, thus propaganda means for that which is to be propagated. Originally this word derived from a new administrative body of the Catholic Church (congregation) created in 1622 as part of the Counter-Reformation, called the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Congregation for Propagating the Faith), or informally simply Propaganda. Its activity was aimed at “propagating” the Catholic faith in non-Catholic countries.
From the 1790s, the term began being used also to refer to propaganda in secular activities. The term began taking a pejorative or negative connotation in the mid-19th century, when it was used in the political sphere.
The tincture of propaganda in politics in the United States of America has never been indiscernible. The man who has currently wheedled his way into the White House is however making an exhibition of it. Trump’s television “reality show” personality threatens to become the modern elixir of the Republican party. Given Trump’s outlandish rhetoric and his endless sarcastic and nasty comments directed at anyone whom he perceives a contradiction of him, the Republican party’s sycophantic subservience to Trump has seriously eroded the public perception of the Grand Old Party. The danger that now pervades the GOP is its alignment with the regular and conquering diminution attributed to Trump.
Contrasting Trump’s patently mindless promotion is that of the Democratic party which itself has become allied with socialism as opposed to capitalism. Bernie Sanders is starting to look like the indisputable front-runner for election as the DNC’s presidential candidate. Whether the vulgarity of Trump or the social democracy of Sanders will triumph in the end is a burning debate among all political pundits and interested electors in the United States of America. The survival of the GOP or the Democrats will go a long way to signalling the future of either of them. The United States of America is for the first time in modern history on the threshold of changing the political face of America from “winner takes all” to “common good“.
The disparity between the two parties paradoxically represents an almost impassable divide. The contradiction is unexpected because both parties purport to have the interests of the common man at heart – the one (GOP) through racism, vulgarity and maintenance of present standards; the other (DNC) through public health care and education. Perhaps the truth of the matter is revealed more incisively by the fact that Republicans generally support Trump because his actual function is to protect the interest of the privileged classes whether by sustaining current energy production, denying global warming or affording tax advantages. Sanders has an uphill battle to convince Americans that the cost of social reform will not unduly dilute the historic affection for profit and self-improvement (both theoretical mysticism having the strength of religious conviction).
The success of Barack Obama as the first African American to be elected President does not compete with the alteration to the face of American politics precipitated by Trump. Obama stood for the future (“Yes We Can“); Trump stands for the past (deceivingly touted as “Make America Great Again“).
More critically the essence of the DNC is hope; that of the GOP is walls. Unfortunately the contrast is developing as a quarrel between the needy Republican base and the intellectual DNC – a not uncommon separation between disparate economic groups. Trump’s advantage in this narrow fight is supposedly that he speaks the language of his supporters (which is considered by Democrats a small compliment); while the Democrats (except perhaps Bernie Sanders whose legitimacy is indisputable) struggle to surmount the obstacle of social propriety. Even some Republicans (in the prior GOP presidential race) have mistakenly undertaken an attempt to confront Trump on his own school-yard turf as a bully. The confrontation is poisonous. It was Confucius who said it. He stated that, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
In the result the outcome is highly unpredictable – unless one ascribes to the proposition that Trump never had the popular vote. Sadly however whatever the evolution it may entail blood-letting on either side of the tug-of-war which is not exactly a favourable outcome for Americans generally. If one relies upon the mercurial behaviour of electors the conclusion may remain polarity – either hanging onto the past or taking a leap of faith. Whatever the result of this arm-wrestle it is unlikely there will be sensible discourse over a beer afterwards. The stakes on both sides are potentially unsettling and uncompromisingly decisive.