“Mythical Obama” – artist Lucas Ketner exagerates Obama worship here quite effectively

We all watched the wrenching political struggle of the last presidential election, but we didn’t really see it. Most of the fare dished up for television, newspapers and the Internet was only the public face of one of the largest propaganda campaigns ever waged in America.

By its nature, propaganda is often subtle, even secretive. Using information, it changes opinion, sways, frightens, heightens emotions, invokes action, informs or misinforms. It always has a purpose, good or evil, and has been massively used in modern times to the point of becoming a real art form in the former Soviet and other Communist nations.

In fact the entire “change” mantra is right off the Marxist handbooks. Friedrich Engels spells it out in a preface to the “Communist Manifesto”: “Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of total social change, called itself communist.”

Because of its fruitfulness for communism, the left seized the chance to mount a massive propaganda and public relations campaign in the effort to place one of their own in the last U.S. election. Wisely using the combined talents of writers, singers, poets, newscasters, filmmakers, Internet gurus and artists, they crafted the “manifesto” of Barrack Obama.

“Ron Paul Hope for America”: Permission from artist Leah Tiscione

In 2009 I did an Internet survey from the 2008 election, and the results were staggering. I found thousands of images, poems, songs, gushing movie stars and just like Lil’ Kim of Korea, fictional life stories, to make Obama look mystically important. The same search found comparatively little about McCain and other Republican candidates. You would hardly know they were running for president – maybe a few photos and a flag. The exception is Ron Paul, whose legions of young, hip supporters came out with some interesting stuff.

This imbalance in Internet presence is especially true in the arts. You could easily conclude that almost all artists are liberal by the evidence, but I know this isn’t true. The real coup by Democrats was to even consider enlisting artists in a political campaign in the first place.

Intense propaganda campaigns have been waged for U.S. war efforts, but never drafting so many private groups to elect a president. The results of their handicraft run from ludicrous to terrifying, with some good art thrown in at times.

“Long Live Germany”:
Permission by Randall Bytwerk, Calvin College

An ugly reminder of the effectiveness of propaganda was the thousands of items commissioned by the Nazis. I am not claiming ties between liberals and Nazis, only noting they both truly understand its power. Hitler wrote at least 2 chapters on propaganda in “Mein Kampf” and had huge government agencies devoted to it.

Do the following sound familiar?

From Chapter 4 of Hitler’s book: “The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget … all effective propaganda … must be persistently repeated.”

Look at the samples of propaganda in art – from the past and present – throughout this column. An appeal to divine rule or immortality is often employed, and to significant effect. Notice the nifty nimbus and saintly radiance in some examples over the years.

Used with permission of artist Alex Grey

If the 2008 election is any portent of the future, propaganda on all levels will just keep racking up, and artists of all types will be enlisted in the effort. Some modern artists on the left proudly use the U.S.S.R. moniker “Agiprop” (short for Department of Agitation and Propaganda) for their art genre and are fully aware of what they are doing.

Word to the wise campaign manager: Counter their efforts with anti-propaganda and reveal it for what it is. Use artists and other creatives to make information catchy, fun and very public. Show the world that “conservative” isn’t a synonym for boring!

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.