Professional virtue signalers drive Americans’ anger towards the Current Big Thing
Americans are being shepherded to the next emoji crusade – the latest being Russia’s special operation in Ukraine – like consumers waiting in line for junk food and Happy Meals. Is this the end of mindless virtue-signaling?
While some Westerners may find a kindred spirit with McDonald’s and its anti-war posturing against Russia, a little more consistency on the issue of war and peace would be a most welcome development.
The fact is, nothing screams ‘Russophobia’ more than the spectacle of McDonald’s abandoning the Russian market amid Moscow’s conflict with Ukraine, especially when it is remembered that Ronald kept flipping his burgers all the while as George W. Bush and Barack Obama were indulging themselves on a killing spree in numerous ill-fated countries.
Aside from the question of America’s flagrant double standards when dealing with Russia, there lurks an even more mysterious and disturbing riddle: How is it possible to continue triggering Americans into a non-stop virtue-signaling crusade on behalf of various causes? And if Americans didn’t know about the Next Big Thing because the media wasn’t there, how would they even be able to find it?
With whiplash swiftness, Americans have gone from taking a knee to Black Lives Matter (even as this group was going on a billion-dollar, 20-state rampage, which entered the record books as America’s most expensive protest ever), to demonizing those wary of new Covid-19 vaccines, to lining up on opposite sides of the Roe v. Wade abortion rights showdown.
Russia is always at the center of these increasing frequency domestic earthquakes. It’s a bit like the Chris Rock of countries, getting slapped in the face every day without rhyme or reason. There is a whiff of a slick McDonald’s advertising campaign at the heart of America’s perennial obsession with Russia. Just like those wonderfully deceptive TV ads that show a deliriously happy (and mysteriously healthy) family gorging themselves on Big Macs and Happy Meals, a trip to McDonald’s tends to always leave behind a bitter aftertaste, if not outright intestinal issues. This means that corporate promises rarely live up to their reality.
Since many years Russia has seen a similar type of campaign, though in the reverse. Not unlike Edward Bernays, the ‘father of public relations’, and his ability to convince American women in the 1920s that smoking cigarettes was a symbol of feminine empowerment, propagandists today have successfully peddled the fake news to an unsuspecting public that Russia is the root of all evil.
Unless people ditch these carefully crafted stereotypes and physically board an airplane, they will probably never know that Russia’s portrayal by Hollywood and the mainstream media is quite simply the worst form of propaganda. Once an individual experiences the reality of Russia without the second-hand smoke and mirrors – as millions of sports fans did during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, for example, where dozens of football matches were held in 11 Russian cities – they quickly understand that the doom and gloom stories about this part of the world are a wicked pack of lies.
However, not everybody can go to Russia to experience the real thing. Unfriendly foreign countries, in cahoots with a venal media, perfectly understand this handicap, which allows them to portray Russia as the ‘evil empire’, something straight out of a Bond flick. And then one day, when Russia finds itself in a situation where it is forced to say ‘enough!’ and resorts to what it considers to be a legitimate act of self-defense – certainly no less legitimate than the military offensives undertaken by the Western hemisphere over the years – a vicious virtue-signaling campaign against Russia and Russians begins in earnest, and to great effect.
It is clear that the US government and media have the ability to channel all of their self-perceived virtues to any part of the world. This was evident in the US reaction to events in Ukraine. With the help of the Western suspects, the US could have used the same strategy to support other countries, such as Yemen. Yemen has been under constant siege since seven years. UNICEF (the UNICEF humanitarian agency for children) says that UNICEF has a total of 57 countries. “more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured” since the start of Riyadh’s military blockade, which has led to disease, famine, and death throughout the country.
How about the long-suffering population of Donbass in Ukraine? The Russian-speaking region has been under attack by pro-Kiev militias for over eight years. How many Americans know that this tragedy can be traced back to a US-led coup that ousted Ukraine’s democratically elected government in 2014? There could well have been peace in Ukraine today if the virtue signaling crusaders would have shined the spotlight upon the suffering of the oppressed and asked why the Minsk Protocol for ceasefire was not being consistently respected.
Self-serving companies like McDonald’s and countries like the United States shout from the rooftops that they are the ultimate defenders of the oppressed. More sobering is the reality. It is clear that virtue-signaling by these individuals tends to be very narrow and aligned with Washington’s foreign policies, instead of serving the real needs of the less fortunate. Virtuosity should know no political master, otherwise it’s just cheap virtue-signaling on behalf of ulterior motives.
Statements, opinions and views expressed in this column do not reflect those of RT.