One of the most effective, and oldest, ways to gather a tribe around your cause has been in strong evidence over the last decade or so.
It is a technique that has been in use for centuries but appears to me to have really put down roots in politics and society over the last few years.
The technique is to tell your listener that there is a common enemy whose object and purpose is to put down the listener. A ‘them and us’ situation.
If there is a ‘them’, there can be an ‘us’. And we can be on the same side, we can coalesce and become stronger.
For the likes of Trump and his followers, the ‘them’ ranges from the Democrats to socialists to communists to some conspiratorial group with Bill and Hillary Clinton at the head.
For others in society and politics the ‘them’ could be feminists, women, men, globalists, builders, property developers, bankers, governments, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael etc.
‘Them’ could also be medical professionals, what is described as ‘big tech’ or ‘big pharma’ or a conglomeration of these malign actors.
But the simple message that ‘it is not your fault, the difficult conditions or experiences you have had are not your fault, it is their fault, they are out to get you’ has a compelling simplicity and power for many who are searching for answers.
Don’t fall for it. Make up your own mind. Inform yourself and choose your own beliefs based on your own thinking and experiences.
Choose to be a liberal or a conservative. A Republican or a Democrat, blue or red, capitalist or socialist or communist.
Choose to believe in a God or choose to be an agnostic.
But you choose. Choose freely having gathered facts, not conspiracy theories on social media.
Don’t be led astray by individuals and groups telling you that you are a victim of some massive conspiracy by malign actors to put down people like you.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book.
Don’t fall for it.