It would become one of the most bizarre political issues in America’s history. It started as a post on several social media sites and went viral. Zach Meader, a local city councilman, speaking on behalf of his constituents was outraged at the excess use of cauliflower, broccoli, and turnips on school menus. His campaign began with the slogan: No CBT in Our Schools.

Outraged citizens in other states picked up on the No CBT campaign. School Board elections were often decided on the CBT issue. CBT became a meme in which few people knew of its origins or even what CBT even stood for. They just knew that CBT was an example of government overreach.

The No CBT campaigns were incredibly effective and school boards became dominated by anti-CBTers. Once in office, the anti-CBTers began to impact curriculum, textbook selection, teacher standards and other aspects of the academic aspects of local schools.

Seeing how effective the No CBT campaigns were in local elections, politicians running for statewide elections began to adopt No CBT campaigns. They too were incredibly successful. The result was legislatures in many states with super majorities of No CBTers. Since No CBT had taken on a life of its own and lost its original meaning, the No CBTers used the initials to oppose other issues where they could whip up public sentiment. There was nothing that thoughtful elected officials could do to stop them.

Democracy as a concept was threatened by propaganda around just three letters. All one had to do to defeat a proposed change in society was to link the change to the three letters. The response by a large segment of society was largely Pavlovian. Mention the letters CBT and the frothing of hatred and disgust was immediate. There was virtually no way to avert the anti-CBTers because they had skillfully built a base of support that could squash anything they disapproved of.

While the above is obviously a fictional story, how far is it from the truth of where our democracy is heading? Unfortunately it’s much easier to build a base of support against something than for something. This is especially true when the base can be so easily persuaded by propaganda than facts.

Just imagine how we can restore the practice of democracy as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution? Has our ability to shape an individual’s beliefs become an all power threat to democracy? Have the forces in opposition to new ideas become so powerful that we have lost our ability to evolve as a society?

* * *

“When it comes to persuasion, emotions usually trump intellect.” – Ray Kroc (Founder of McDonalds)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.