Can you tell us about the Empires propaganda machine?
Later, after, in all the holonews segments and all the long ‘net articles furnishing further analysis, they—and here ‘they’ is vaguely defined, reporting is is too scattershot in a galaxy marked by lightyears and hyperlanes—will not be able to pinpoint the place where they went wrong. Where it was all tipped from earnest republican v. separatist reporting to laying the groundwork for imperial v. everyone else. When they stopped, or when their blades met with armor they couldn’t pierce, or—
But by then it’s too late. It’s too late, the Empire is already wound itself through every word spoken and every reference made; it’s in everything, a dark undercurrent of emotion and justification—don’t you love the Republic? don’t you care about other galactic citizens? don’t you want to follow the laws and reward those who have justified their existence as you have justified yours? you have worked so hard, the day is long and the rewards few, why would you give those to others? why would you share?
(’Sharing’ is a dirty word, under the Empire. To each according to his strength, that is the Imperial motto. But ‘strength’ is a narrow gate, and it cuts many off at the knees, the ankles, those unguarded places—)
There is no question that human beings are afraid of difference
they have been afraid of that since whatever primordial swamp they crawled out of but—they have always put it aside, they have always at least pretended to the idea of recognizing other species, the claim of xenos to homeworlds. the equal right of existence. Et cetera. Never mistake how hard human beings will try, when confronted with tentacles, if there is profit or benefit in ignoring any difference.
But humans also reproduce like orburs in spring, and they colonize, multiply out into the galaxy like a plague. Like a—spore. Like something biological and not, because nothing in nature moves without regard to the animus they generate. And they are a tetchy species, measuring everything in relative value. It doesn’t matter if—
Luke does not stop to question the holoradio adverts he hears, the faded propos papering the Toshe public hall, saying ‘JOIN THE EMPIRE TODAY! FLY FOR THE EMPIRE! BE BRAVE BE TRUE BE STALWART!’ Anywhere is better than here, right? Get closer to that bright center and anything is better—
(It is still hard to find that bright line between the Republic under the tyranny of the Clone Wars and the perpetual state the Empire embodies. That is just how these things go.)
Leia is on the first line of defense for the Rebellion, she watches propos and listens to senators argue, quoting lines from holodramas—ironically, but also as illustrations. (She learns very young that a well-told story, even fictional, has quicker legs than one badly told and true. She disapproves, but that is the way of things.) It is amazing how many late Republicans would have supported he Empire despite explicitly stating they did not support the Empire, its agents, or any move toward a less democratic structure of government. It is amazing how weak it makes them seem, given what she knows about the inner workings of the capitol. It is—
Han is good at finding cantinas where, if the Imperial propos cut into he grav-ball match, everyone groans aloud. He smiles a little against the curve of the mug as everyone curses out the poor bastard who has to—
(Han always feels a little bad for him. Her. Whoever—he knows what it’s like to have your neck under someone’s boot, to know you don’t really have choice in this. At least he’s busy smuggling, can’t be much a spokesperson that way.)
The Resistance does not have the access the Empire does, but the Rebellion has feed hackers, holonet ‘ware corrupters. The Alliance blasts every inbox with public reveals of complaints, salaries, donations. Saw Guerra’s people de-encrypt transmissions, and release them to the ‘net in vicious anarchic fashion. (Make of it what you will, that Tarkin sent a transmission to Krennic saying ‘stop being so gentle on your workforce,’ after Krennic’s 12-hour days resulted in its first overworked, dehydrated, malnourished death.)
Regional reporters dump their findings onto the holonet, saying, look at what the governor is doing, we buried the jedi but we found, we—
look, they say in unison. look at this. you are not alone. you are not crazy. something has shifted, something significant has changed and you are not alone in thinking this. We are here, together, and this is dangerous, this is—
you are not alone. you are right, your perception of the world is—there is an objective reality, and they depart from it. you are right. you are sane. it is the galaxy that has gone insane in the interim.
“Senator?” the holonet reporter asks, when Mon Mothma falls silent, and she is smiling down at the podium. “Senator, if you could—”
“According to the study conducted by the Galactic Agency for—” she begins, and the briefing room falls so quiet she is afraid she has lost them. But there is a holonet reporter in the first row who has pressed her hand to her mouth, even as her eyes are wide, fixed on Mon’s face; and out of the corner of her eye, Mon can see Leia Organa (so much Bail and Breha’s daughter, even now) pressing her lips together, her eyes shut. And this is good. They are good, they are better. Here is the study. Here is the definition. Here is the closest she knows how to get to objective reality.
She justifies. From the root word, meaning justice. Meaning to make right. Meaning, more than what is what is available on the surface, more than what is unquestioned. More.
So much more.