These Caricatures Are Not Humorous

Guest Post by Michael Chambers (guest posts are moderated, but not approved or endorsed by the CCA Steering Committee)

A few weeks ago, I was watching one of Bill Curtis’s Investigative Reports about The New Skinheads movement in the United States. Curtis, a graduate of Washburn University School of Law, presents reports on crime, gang-style organizations, terrorism and hate crimes. His topics are sensationalistic, but his reporting is generally well-founded and interesting. On this particular Investigative Report, Curtis identified one of the propagandists who gave the embryonic neo-Nazi movement quite a growth spurt among young, European whites. Recruitment into the Skinheads spread to the United States and has become one of the hate groups of special interest to the FBI.

The propaganda technique that seemed to have worked successfully in bringing in the highly impressionable youth in Europe and the United States involves the depiction of Jews, Asians, and Blacks as sub-human threats to the existence of the white population. The depiction of these minority groups was in the form of caricatures and I am sure we all have seen such depictions in our lifetimes, but thankfully not in recent years. When this form of propaganda was brought up in the investigation, the propagandists stated that this was just humorous and not hate-related. As a society, we generally have moved beyond the simplistic, demeaning characterization of minorities or other cultural groups. We have moved closer, even if only by inches, toward a more perfect union. Unfortunately, as Mr. Curtis points out, there are those in this country who cannot abide by a multi-cultural society and seek to dominate their environment through divisive, hate mongering and ultimately violence.

What I found interesting and what I felt had a close connection to what is happening in our lives here in Charlestown, is the use of degrading caricatures and divisive rhetoric to demonize those who do not agree with the Town Democrats. I have seen certain members of the Town Council – those supported by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) – depicted through demeaning caricatures. Other supporters of CCA have been denigrated, lied about, insulted, and also made subjects of caricatures. The Democrat’s Progressive Blog is replete with these propaganda tactics which, as luck would have it, their editors refer to as just being humorous. Such a parallel with the Curtis Investigative Reports was enlightening to me and my neighbors. The Blog editors are engaging in a mild form of social bashing, bullying, and hate mongering. I only hope that the readers of this Blog and the members of the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee understand how regressive these tactics are and remember that the people, whom the bloggers are insulting, are their neighbors who have demonstrated their concern for the well being of Charlestown.