Donald Trump and the Art of Distraction
We’re doing exactly what they want us to do.
It’s not our fault. No reasonable person could blame us. Hell, it’s part of the plan. They shotgun enough scandals and harebrained policies and potential light-to-moderate treason at an already fatigued public who, on a good day, views being informed as more of a luxury than a right. What else would we do but splinter and focus on the hilarious gaffes?
“Can you believe they made up another terrorist attack?”
“God, Kellyanne Conway is in over her head. She just looked so confused.”
“I wonder what they think of those SNL sketches?”
I can, she is, they hate them. But this is exactly what they want us talking about. They want us focused on the minutiae, on the little cultural artifacts, on the jokes. And I’m not innocent. Look at my Twitter feed. I’ve been bugging the President for photographs of his semi-erect penis for like two weeks. I’ll probably do it again today. It relieves stress and makes me feel virile like a Brahma Bull.
This is not the point. I am not taking our jokes away. They are important and they hurt the President because he is a vain and feeble man who cannot handle anything less than drooling adoration.
The point is that while we talk about the terrible speeches, the rambling press “conferences”, the high-dollar Russian Piss Parties and the Pussy Grabbing bus rides, Donald Trump has allowed an un-elected, un-vetted, unapproved antisemite to have the kind of access normally afforded to Generals and career civil servants. He’s appointed a former Exxon CEO and business chum of Vladimir Putin as Secretary of State. He’s appointed a woman who routinely and viciously attacks the very concept of public schooling as Secretary of Education. He’s appointed a skilled and patient racist with a longstanding history of intolerance and discrimination to the office of Attorney General. He’s tried to institute a travel ban on Muslim countries that have historically done nothing to us, which we the people called him on and the Federal Courts struck down. But he also followed through on one of his campaign promises that those of us who live in the real world, the one populated by Bryan Adams and the Cleveland Browns, assumed was full of more hot air than a space heater factory. Namely, that for every regulation added, two must be struck from the books. It’s insane, it makes no sense, it’s thoroughly damaging to literally every industry in our country. And we all talked about it for something like forty-five minutes before it was back to how tiny his stupid hands are and how poorly his suits fit.
We need to do better. We need to BE better.
All of us have friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, friends of acquaintances, acquaintances of friends, and fellow bus or train passengers who don’t pay attention. It’s not a personal failing, it’s human nature. We are wired to wander through the savanna throwing sharp sticks at lions. Most people are not wired to juggle the precarious nature of our healthcare system with the rise of a newer, younger, but somehow too familiar antisemitism. Most people read news like this and get sad, so they stop. Or, worse, they go to illicit sources to get their news and are misled by purveyors of dangerous and regressive ideologies. Whatever the reason, they fall into the huge category that most Americans fall into. They are underinformed.
So those of us who do pay attention, who have the stomach to keep diving into the trash compactor again and again and again until we find Luke Skywalker, have a responsibility to do so for the betterment of our peers. We have an obligation to provide information, and in this new world we find ourselves in, where the highest seat of civilian government attacks the press and questions our right as Americans to be informed, that obligation becomes more solemn and crucial.
We have an obligation to The Truth, whatever form it may take.