Circa early spring 2020: What once was a typical, mundane trip to Lowe’s to buy supplies, seemingly transformed overnight into some sort of strange science fiction experience.
As we entered the doors, we were immediately confronted by an acting bouncer who demanded that we muzzle our faces with paper masks. The loudspeaker loop overheard from above warned us to keep our faces covered and to remain six feet apart from everyone at all times – over and over (and over) again. No one made eye contact or dared to speak, we scurried about like mice in a maze, obeying the repetitious voice indoctrinating from above. Posters on the wall reminded us that “my mask protects you and your mask protects me” and “we are all in this together.” Stickers on the floor enforced our distance from the other possibly infected faceless humans as we stood silently and rigidly in line.
In an instant and without warning corporations had suddenly joined forces with government agencies, news departments, Hollywood, politicians and social media platforms – micromanaging the behavior of the peasants and creating a massive marketing machine, unlike the world had ever witnessed.
You couldn’t turn on your radio, television, or surf the web without being inundated with an unending barrage of soundbites warning us of COVID-19. It was being amplified by every news station. Corporations were running non-stop commercials with emotionally manipulating slogans. Opinions and testimonies that questioned or contradicted “the new normal” or attempted to dampen the apocalyptic tone were silenced or deleted by the all-powerful social media gatekeepers.
There was no escape.
It didn’t end with COVID. This newly perfected mass-marketing machine was now fully churning on all cylinders. Whatever was poured into the machine, immediately saturated the consumer’s senses to such a degree that many would helplessly succumb to its message, whatever that message may be.
The formula was then used for voting by mail, BLM and vaccinations.
This massive machine that possesses the power to bend the minds of the masses will now be the standard form of indoctrination by the powers-that-be. Social issues such as LGBTQ+, climate change and gun control, all have a new, mammoth platform to influence opinion and control thought.
Whether you agree with the specific issue being amplified by the machine or not, it’s important to understand that it exists and realize that we are being exploited and emotionally manipulated by it.
For me, one of the most curious aspects of this “marketing machine” is the corporate element.
In 2021 Coca-Cola had employee diversity training in an attempt to teach their employees to “try to be less white,” whatever that means. A little earlier Nike hired Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign that focused on police brutality and glamorized kneeling for the national anthem and amplified a message that America is a racist nation. Disney became a political activist when their CEO publicly condemned Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill that reasonably banned the discussions of sex and sexuality between teachers and students from kindergarten to third grade (I guess waiting until fourth grade to indoctrinate young minds is too long for these people).
More recently, the Hershey Company printed a transgender biological male on their chocolate bar wrappers to somehow celebrate Women’s History month.
The thing about these monstrous political statements by these “woke corporations” is that they instantly marginalize at least half of their consumer base. Why would a business jeopardize revenue for their products by amplifying extreme political positions? Are these just the knee-jerk reactions of politically driven CEOs? Or is there some other motivational force, compelling corporations to suddenly want to draw political lines in their pursuit of profit?
I remember the days when businesses avoided politics like the plague and were strictly focused on generating revenue for their shareholders. What has changed and how have so many corporations been so seamlessly assimilated into “The Machine”?
Charles Stouff lives in Pequea and is a lifelong resident of Lancaster County. He is the owner of A+PC LLC, a computer services company and also serves as a township supervisor in Martic Township.