Manipulating the masses

Bacon’s Rebellion. 1676. It could have been straight out of the news today. A member of the elite seeking to gain power, money, recognition, the upper hand over other elites. And does so by pretending to be one of the people. One of the non-elites. And whips the 99% into a mad frenzy. All for his own gain.

Somehow the masses fall for it. This member of the elite pretending to be one of them. Twisting things around so the masses act against their own best interests, rallying instead for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Bacon used the masses for his own ends. He manipulated the poor just like the English manipulated the elites in Jamestown in the 17th century. Class oppression.

In the US, we have a phobia about anything relating to class. It cannot be mentioned without accusations of Communism rearing their ugly heads. Nothing in the US—nothing—can be about class, but actually, in reality, lots of things are. (Just like nothing can be about racism, but racism still besmirches so much in the US.)

The elites using the less fortunate. Manipulating them for their own ends. Exploiting them for their own gains. Class oppression is as old as the sun. Whether we want to admit that class oppression exists or not.

Something else about Bacon’s Rebellion made me stop and ponder…How often is “Communist ideals” at the heart of American rebellions? Communism defined as the redistribution of wealth. Communism as in the concentration of wealth needing to be rebalanced. Redistribution of wealth is such a dirty word. Despite its prevalence in the Bible. Ironic considering the concentration of Christians in the US.

Bacon’s Rebellion initially dealt with Indian policy. The use of frontier whites as a buffer between the Indians and the economic elites. Echoes of Jim Webb’s book, Born Fighting, reverberated in my mind. Bacon’s Rebellion morphed into leveling, the equalization of wealth in a society where wealth is unduly concentrated. The 99% percent had had enough and were channeling their ire towards the elite, which just so happened to be the target of Bacon’s beef too. How convenient. Bacon had an axe to grind and used the wrath of the masses to fight his battle.

The masses rising up, rebelling for redistribution of wealth. How often are we blind to the economic causes of movements just because we must be blind to anything that smacks of economic class and inequality in this country? And how often are the masses being manipulated by the elite for their own gain?

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