By Wallace Bruschweiler and William Palumbo

Is the American population at large capable of independent thought anymore?  With politics going the way they are today, it’s a question worth asking.

As the 2016 election season progresses, it becomes more and more apparent on a daily basis that a vast majority of Americans on both the left and the right require their news to be ruminated, masticated, hashed and rehashed prior to consumption.  Instead of using their brains to consume and synthesize facts concerning their country’s politics and politicians, Americans – more often than not – have consigned themselves to a state of cerebral laziness.

For such people, what the news says is the truth, period.  Should you be mentally engaged reading this right now, “sheep” may come to mind.

Let’s take, for example, the latest kerfuffle involving Donald Trump and a certain judge.  If you were to gauge public opinion by what you see and hear on the news networks, you would conclude that Donald Trump has been outed as a racist after criticizing the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump University case.

Yet according to the judge’s own CV, Curiel is affiliated with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA).  In July 2015, this organization issued a press release boasting of its intentions to target ultimately Trump’s business interests.

The judge’s flagrant inability to rule impartially is even acknowledged by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who wrote in defense of Trump:  “These circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered.”

If you ever find yourself wondering why your friends, family, colleagues or peers cannot digest a basic factual political truth despite being otherwise intelligent, consider this: intelligence has little chance in overpowering regular and systematic brainwashing.

On the right, conservative pundits in the media have conditioned millions of loyal listeners and viewers to hang on and eat their every word.  Their daily appearances amount to a priestly sermon for far too many conservatives, and it is absorbed, sans critique, as Gospel.  Should the fickle media gods decide to turn on an issue or individual, however threadbare their reasoning, they surely bring the majority of their jelly-headed listeners.

On the left, the mainstream media has conditioned millions to selectively disregard inconvenient episodes (i.e. Benghazi, State Dept. emails, etc.).  This intellectually dishonest environment creates lopsided narratives: e.g., despite Hillary (and Bill) Clinton’s seemingly endless scandals, a few malcontents who attended Trump University overshadow Benghazi, the Arab Spring, the Clinton Foundation, Bill’s philandering, mysterious deaths, and decades of ongoing lies to the American public.

What happens when a country’s citizens lose their ability to think for themselves?  The media and political class are applying the methods used successfully in the past by Communist regimes and Goebbels; they mold and shape minds to accept things uncritically and unconditionally.  What is presented today as supposedly newsworthy are politically pre-selected events.  This creates the inevitable end result of cerebral torpor and mass-media conditioning.

Come November 8, 2016, we unfortunately will see if the brainwashing was too widespread and too deep to be overcome.  Amen.