Trance Politics: Are We Completely Distracted Yet?

cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Maybe the Rethuglicans think that no one in America will think about any serious issues until after November if they continue to provide tons of distraction, both intentional and unintentional. If that’s their strategy, it’s working unbelievably well in both Left and Right Blogistan and the traditional media.

Two quick, recent, simple examples of the phenomenon:

Example 1. There has been lots of blogging about Sarah Palin’s not being the mother of her youngest child, the claim being that her daughter was actually the mother.  And now, today, the refutation of the story.  Not that photo of an obviously pregnant Palin.  Oh no.  Nothing like that.  Instead, a story that her daughter is pregnant now, that she’ll marry the baby’s father, and so on.  This is worth at least a week more of distraction, during which we’re not supposed to look at Iraq, the economy, energy or health care.  Instead, we’re supposed to debate and/or scream at each other about whether or not Sarah Palin’s daughter did or did not have access to contraception and compare Sarah Palin to Hillary Britney’s mother.

Example 2.  Hurricane Gustav takes aim at New Orleans.  Embarrassed about Katrina, the Rethuglican’s decide it would be unbecoming to have arch villains Bush and Cheney in public a coronation celebration while a natural disaster strikes America.  They say that on this occasion they should act like Americans rather than Rethuglicans.  Great. So we turn attention to how that will change their planned convention, and how they’re getting briefed in Mississippi and Tejas.  But why is it, if it’s not ok to celebrate a coronation when there’s a natural disaster, that it is ok to celebrate it while there’s a continuing man-made disaster in Iraq, which has left thousands of US troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead and tens of thousands more maimed or seriously wounded.  It’s ok to celebrate when thousands of nation’s youth are dying, but the mere chance of deaths or injuries or loss of property from a storm makes the celebration inappropriate.  Does this make any sense?  Only if you care about providing innocuous material to discuss instead of real issues.

Enough, I say.  Enough.  

Now I’m going to an American barbecue.  I’m going to drink lots of globalized beer.  I’m going to celebrate what labor in America has brought the nation.  Things like the 8 hour day and the weekend. I’m going especially to celebrate the triumphs of the UFW and Cesar Chavez.  And the IWW. I’m going to think about Big Bill Haywood and Woody Guthrie.  I’m gonna hum labor songs.  I’m taking a break.

While I’m gone, I hope folks will start to figure out how to break the trance.


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  1. Thanks for reading.

  2. this is the antidote to what you’re talking about.

    Not enough, I believe, to tell folks not to be distracted.  We also need to re-direct, and I think this essay does a damned good job of it.

    Good essay, david.

    • kj on September 1, 2008 at 20:20

    hesitate to brag about our early adapter-hood to tivo (i think we’re on their second to last version, we had their first model and are 7 or something in) because it is so blatant consumerish, but hey, am all about honesty.  LOL  so, um, i can now watch youtube’s on the tube via tivo.  hee.  

    and a good day to you and yours, davidseth. 🙂  

    • robodd on September 1, 2008 at 20:36

    is that a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for TMZ.  OMG!

  3. posters are rising to the occasions and there are many. Distractions rain on my head political, spirtual, financial and cultural all are just taking our minds off the real issues to long to enumerate and so vast your mind swims. No wonder even those of good spirit get caught in the flotsam that gets thrown in your face with no direction home.  

  4. Does the continuous electronic din deliberately focus on the most debase of human issues and does this continued focus lower the mentality of those in the target audience prompting all to focus and think along scandalous lines.

    Or is this just what happens when Bilderburg tells McCain who he should pick.

  5. … I’m going to hotlist this essay so I can steal your term “Trance Politics.”  I think that’s a great descriptor of a whole lot of political phenomena we’re seeing.  I think you’ve coined a great term, and I plan on using it.

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