Gwen Hope

El Paso and Dayton: Case studies in media bias and propaganda

Gwen Hope examines propaganda and media bias surrounding the El Paso and Dayton shootings as case studies that illuminate a common trend. -promoted by Laura Belin

Nearly a month has passed since the country and world was yet again shaken by news of mass shootings in the United States. The shootings were so chronologically close to each other that our survival instincts want to forever link them in our memories.

Yet the two incidents are much more different than our evolutionary psychology would have us believe. While the wounds have hardly begun healing, these recent tragedies, now twins in our social consciousness, provide perfect case studies into propaganda and the social reaction to these events.

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Hy-Vee's largest political donation in a decade preceded Trump event

Editor’s note: Hy-Vee’s PAC provided a comment on June 24, which is enclosed in full at the end of this post.

Great catch and great digging by Gwen Hope. -promoted by Laura Belin

Hy-Vee is one of those companies we often associate with small-town, everyone-knows-everyone “Iowa Nice” culture. Yet it’s important to remember that while some major Iowa businesses started small, many are no longer those small-town startups of yesteryear. Hy-Vee is no exception, having just made a conveniently-timed donation that was its largest single political contribution in a decade.

Like many livestock farmers, state businesses fill their animal troughs with corn and silage, but the resulting pork is of the political persuasion variety. In this vein, I looked into the fundraiser1 for the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI), held at Hy-Vee’s Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines. President Donald Trump headlined the June 11 event.

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Society, socialism are collectivist concepts

In the turbid arguments of screen socialists and comment-section capitalists, Gwen Hope elucidates the ironic truth behind society’s collectivist roots. -promoted by Laura Belin

Socialism, along with its typically-juxtaposed companion, capitalism, are virile terms capable of inciting endless vitriol. Meaning countless different things to nigh-countless different people, these terms can singlehandedly turn friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and online threads ablaze like another of one of history’s great fires.

However, if you wade into those frothing comments sections, you’ll find more is similar than it appears. Most, if not all, of the systems and positions typically argued-for exist within the context of a society with formalized organization, a government, yet most of my fellow keyboard-tappers are oblivious to the true irony of the situation. For, in fact, the idea of a society itself is a collectivist notion which makes it kin to socialism, which also finds root in the collective.

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"Wall" and white fear - a step-by-step guide to understanding racism

Gwen Hope examines the deeply-embedded racism surrounding President Donald Trump’s “Wall” and those who typically advocate for and support it. -promoted by Laura Belin

The president’s emblematic “Wall,” while envisioned to become physical, is more accurately a political symbol – an ideological device. It is a symbol of power and might for the traditionally quintessential U.S. citizen – the white Protestant.

This especially goes for men, who have traditionally led the patriarchal U.S. society. This illusory power is summoned and bolstered to defend against what that quintessential citizen typically fears the most – diverse, multicultural society, and those they see as the harbingers of their fall from power most typically – the Latinx and the Muslim. This originates from an ethnocentric and racist mindset of a group of people would would prefer a homogeneous society.

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Cannabis: A greener way forward for Iowa

Gwen Hope unpacks the economic and social possibilities that accompany legalizing cannabis, demystifying the oft-maligned psychoactive plant. -promoted by Laura Belin

Since the middle of the 20th century, cannabis has been a hot button issue, particularly since the Nixon Administration began the War on Drugs. Often political, the criminalization and demonization of the plant and substances derived from it has a complex, but living history in the United States.

A microcosm of the country incarnate, this issue is attached to almost every other issue and stance imaginable: from political party to patriotism, convention to community, race to religion, humanity to harm, morality to medicine, and everything in-between was and is attached to cannabis – the United States’s most popular illicit substance.

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Civic religion and political priesthood

Gwen Hope argues that “the U.S. has its own civic religion. Born in pews, raised by wars, and cemented by money. An abominable worship of state and capitalism fused.” -promoted by Laura Belin

The United States has a religion problem. Primarily colonized by various factions of Puritan Separatists in the 17th century, this isn’t surprising. However, these original colonists’ faith in the Abrahamic deity has mutated over time – monarchic “divine right of kings” became democratic “divine right of nations.”

In place of worshiping the Judeo-Christian god, they instead worship the nation (or, rather, their conception of the nation.) This is the issue we have seen developing for some time now – civic religion – society in which the state and its history is regarded as sacred in the same way as sacraments and saints.

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