This week has been a parade of entertainment in the Western world, as we continue to gawk at the spectacle that is the Trump candidacy. Colbert and Stewart are back in full form, Trump’s entrance song at the RNC was written by a gay man while the platform singles out the LGBTQ community, and Melaina Trump decided the best way to give a speech was to give someone else’s speech a go. Right now, everyone is having a bit of a laugh at the whole spectacle, while crossing their fingers that the next president of the most powerful nation on Earth isn’t a reality show celebrity with zero political experience.
At the same time, Turkey has declared a state of emergency.
Recently, the Turkish army staged a coup, an attempt to overthrow the government. If you understand anything about Turkish history, you’ll know this happens somewhat frequently. Turkeys military has often intervened in the governments affairs, in 1960, 1971, 1980, and a half-coup in 1997. This is somewhat to be expected, as the military in Turkey doesn’t have to answer to politicians. In the case of civil unrest, weak civilian leaders, or in a state of emergency, the military is allowed by law to step in and take control of the government, albeit temporarily. It’s written into the Turkish constitution.
There was another attempt at a coup recently, and it failed.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has declared a three month state of emergency after the failed coup, and has began a purge of civil service staff and security forces. More troubling is that any member of Academia is barred from leaving the country, and Erdogan has demanded that all the Deans of 1577 Universities resign. Understand that when a country decides to go after everyone who went to University, you know the country is in some serious trouble.
And it’s not just those who oppose Erdogan who are being targeted. A number of his closer staff have been arrested or have been given the boot. These moves are incredibly paranoid, similar to the purges of other regimes such as Russia during the Stalin years, or North Korea every time a new Leader is given the seat of power.
There’s been a lot of talk comparing it to other dictatorships, which is certainly what Turkey is looking like these days. People mention Stalin, the rise of Hilter and the Third Reich, the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot, the Chinese cultural revolution of Mao Zedung. All of these revolutions have something in common, which is an attempt to control the populace by limiting the knowledge they have access to.
Anytime a mention of science or reason getting pushed aside for a political reasons, I get a little nervous. It’s the first step in having a less educated populace. A less educated populace can be convinced to support a system that doesn’t have their best interests in mind.
The truth is, almost every government in some way wants to limit the amount of information you have access to. The former Conservative government in Canada barred environmental scientists from discussing their findings. The current Liberal government is keeping tight lips regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The battle between Hillary and Trump is the battle of two people who have absolutely no problem lying to the populace, whether it’s about classified emails or the dream of a massive wall with no hope of getting built.
If you’re a regular citizen, you might feel hopeless at the current prospects of the planet. First, I want you to know that things aren’t nearly as bad as the seem. If you’re reading this, then you probably have shoes on your feet, some food in your stomach, and most importantly an internet connection. You have the power to be informed. I don’t want you to get angry, I don’t want you to be upset. Politics already has enough passionate people, and as far as I’m concerned, the only place passion belongs is your trade, your art, and what you do in the bedroom. If you see something that makes you mad, whether it’s a meme, a news article, or a video, understand that someone worked at that to make you feel that way. They manipulated you into feeling something by not giving you all the information.
If you want to make a difference, a real difference, then stop buying into the bullshit. Stop letting your heart make decisions regarding politics. That’s what your brain is for. Start asking questions, start researching what you read, start talking about it. If you’re really worried about what’s going on in the world, start by getting the facts first. The facts are out there, you just have to wade through the bullshit.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. My entrance theme song would be silence. Man, THAT would throw people off.