The Gaslighting of America Has Begun

Understand your power, my friends. Business and government do.

Julio Vincent Gambuto
Forge
Published in
9 min readMay 1, 2020

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Photo: Kyle Reid/Getty Images

The crisis has already taught us much, my friends. Primarily, it has schooled us in the power of scale — a concept every big business in the United States has mastered yet so many of us have never fully grasped until now. If you pitch your new app idea to any tech company or if you’re lucky enough to interview for Shark Tank, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is: How does your idea “scale up?” That means how do you take your idea and make it apply to all of America, all of the world? No one is ever interested in a product, service, idea (or screenplay, trust me) if the only people who love it are your friends and mother. Seeing the potential of your idea in the modern marketplace means seeing how it can be bought, used, or communicated to millions and billions of people.

With scalability comes great power. We have seen that power in action over the last month. Simply by staying in our homes, we have collectively lowered the death rate from a projected 2.2 million American deaths to 63,538 confirmed deaths as of this post. To come out of this collective trauma as better people and as a better country, we must fully understand that same power and use it against the great forces that are already manipulating us into going back to “normal.”

This lower death number is not evidence that this was “no big deal.” Quite the opposite. You and I made that lower number happen. It is confirmation of the power of scale and our own personal power to change the world. You saved millions of lives all by sitting on your couch and watching Netflix. So as the commercials and the gaslighting begin — in truth, they are already in full swing — we have a choice to make. Plainly put, we can either honor those 63,538 people by getting our collective shit together and forging ahead anew, or we can go back to clearing the shelves of Walmart, drinking every sugary Coke, and “liking” every duck-lipped Insta post of our favorite Armenian makeup moguls. The choice is ours.

Little did any of us know that we would spend the better part of 2020 roaring into the geeky details of charts, graphs, and the inner workings of an upside-down parabola. But here we are, flattening the curve, and the glaring takeaway is…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto
Forge
Writer for

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com