And when you throw in the main stream media as a partner in crime, you have the perfect storm for a misinformed and malleable public.
It goes without saying that Americans are constantly bombarded with stories and images provoking fear. Just in the past couple months, we’ve had ISIS sleeper cells, the certainty that Ebola would be spreading like a plague across the land, a cyber attack by North Korea on our sacrosanct movie industry and our freedom of speech, last but not least, the threat of a reconstituted Soviet Union under the rule of that barbarian Vladimir Putin, raining nuclear-tipped ICBMs down on us.
These are what I would call the “pro-active” distractions, ones which disable our ability to think rationally and turn us into trembling bowls of paralyzed Jello.
But I’ve decided that perhaps the most insidious distractions are the “passive” variant, the on-the-surface innocent ones that monopolize our attention with crises which are beyond trivial, drain us of energy and focus better directed to important issues that makes a real difference, make a mockery of anything resembling meaningful conversation, and upend and distort both our personal and national priorities.
I could go on for months on these distractions. We all know what they are. They include everything from celebrity gossip, to scandals involving iconic figures in sports, politics, business, and so on.
Just last week, there was a “scandal” which monopolized huge swaths of American media. Everyone had to weigh in, even allegedly serious journalists like Ed Schultz. Frankly, I was tempted to throw my hands up in the air, throw my hat in the ring, maybe throw up.
This was the whole business about the amount of air in the footballs thrown by all-star Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. I don’t have to explain this “crisis” in technical detail, because if you had your television on at any point, you already know that America demanded to know whether there was the legal minimum amount of air pressure in the footballs Mr. Brady used in his glorious ascent to football stardom.
While one third of America’s school children are now officially living in poverty . . .
While despite the rosy figures spewed by our government, the truth is America’s economy is in decline and a major economic crash is coming, probably sooner than later . . .
While we as ordinary citizens are being treated as the enemy, with constant surveillance and spying, and a militarized police presence which is often brutal and not adverse to killing innocent people, especially people of color . . .
While the planet is heating up at rates far beyond the most pessimistic predictions, boding unparalleled depletion of food resources, displacement of millions of people, setting the stage for massive global conflict over water and arable land . . .
While the banksters and Wall Street criminals go unprosecuted for their prior malfeasance and fraud __ e.g. the crash of 2008 __ and continue to loot the national treasury . . .
While TTP and TTIP, so-called “free trade agreements” which will be the nail in the coffin for an economy which serves the needs of the majority of citizens in our country, are being rammed down the throats of good, decent, hard-working people to serve the interests of the oligarchy . . .
While the neocon lunatics now in control of America’s foreign policy are busy rallying the nation for an unnecessary, unjustified, lethal confrontation with Russia __ a major war, folks, as in World War III! . . .
We are wringing our hands over the amount of air in a football?