In this 21st century, we find ourselves navigating our lives in an ocean of manipulation. Manipulation, commonly understood as the ability to influence people's behavior is a mega-industry expanding in speed beyond which is fathomable. Business and politics pay for the best research, hire the best people to code algorithms to find out about you and your spending and voting inclinations. The mathematics would baffle Einstein. All while investing a plenitude of time figuring out exactly how to put their bull's-eye on you. You cannot avoid it.

From politics to consumerism, you are incessantly bombarded with manipulative media attacks every grain of which is launched at you rapid-fire in the attempt to handcuff your heart and mind. The manipulation industry has boundless funding and is highly motivated.

A company wants your money to buy their product. It really is not an imperative to them if you need or even like what they sell, as long as you buy. Politicians pander you for money and your vote in some circuitous PAC-involved way playing to your moral compass and inherent values as determined by their monolithic research mechanisms.

Politicians want to instill fear of the opposition rather than your confidence in politics. Fear is easier to sell.

Fear is Goliath and untamed. Confidence is fickle and fleeting.

Politics has become the spinning of fear. Hardcore and nasty manipulation is coming at you from those who report and those whom are the subjects of the reporting.

It is as though the Fifth, Sixth and 14th amendments to our Constitution have vaporized before our eyes as fear and the continual drone of manipulation has eliminated "ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat" one of our most insightful and equalizing democracy mandates gifted from our founders, presumption of innocence, from existence.

We have lost the ability to find any propitiously far-reaching topic that an aggregate of our populace can agree upon availing common sense support to leverage attainment of a systematized common good.

The engines that drive the manipulation industry can only survive if we continue to surrender our common sense, critical thinking skills and free will, leaving those soft spots unprotected, vulnerable. Our pulpous underbelly will remain targets of every temperament on any issue.

Polarizations consciously driven by protracted manipulations of untruths, while creating confusion, uncertainty and questions of propriety have stunned American conviction and confidence nearly dead in their tracks. This basic theorem applies to all current issues of the day and will, for the foreseeable future, cloud truths of all critical local or global issues that are at the forefront.

However, for this column let us look at one issue; immigration policy. Whether you personally think it is a top-five issue in 2018 it is reported, spun and re-reported and re-spun ad infinitum.

Unfortunately, immigration policy has been used as a manipulative issue since before the signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620.

Occasionally, I refer to America's original sins. One, the treatment of peoples of different backgrounds or status by the ruling class; subjugating immigrant or indigenous populations', cultural, social and human rights goes back to the first immigrants to the continent.

Even then, at the heart of the discussion one finds manipulative fear mongering by the ruling class driving the chasm existing between them and non-ruling class populations.

To illustrate how this issue has continued to be an American hot button for over 400 years, let us look at the words regarding immigration from two great presidents both on Mount Rushmore:

George Washington: "My opinion with respect to immigrants is, that except of useful mechanics and some particular description of men and professions, there is no use of encouragement for it."

Theodore Roosevelt: "We have room for but one flag, the American flag. ... We have room for but one English language ... and we have room for but one loyalty; that to the American people."

The Earth is and has always been a pretty rough neighborhood.

J.W. Sayles is a retired university professor and U.S. Treasury agent and also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He lives in Mason City.

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