America’s Red Herrings

Do you know the term “red herring?”

Dictionary.com defines it as “something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.”  The concept, removed from argument context, should be familiar; we’ve been exposed to it every news cycle since the 2016 election process began, though examples can be found throughout history.

But back to 2016 and our present. It was an efficient distraction to say “look at her emails.” It may now be worth it to the President to sacrifice a son to media frenzy in order to make darker moves behind the scenes. The red herring has to receive notice, it must be given attention to be effective.

That process is made easier with reduced access to information. The media and public are ready to pounce on any morsel delivered by POTUS via Twitter, even when the tweets don’t make any sense. That’s what happens when he controls the message. From the ranks of dubiously moral Mad Men character Don Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” That’s exactly what we’re witnessing. The conversation keeps changing. “Alternative facts”  have ascended. The term is part of popular vernacular and explains why Kellyanne Conway still has a job despite never saying anything relevant.

This shift is worrying, but dig a little deeper below the surface distraction. The big, bold red herring headlines aren’t always what’s important to the American people, the stuff of daily life. What does impact us? The little things hiding behind Don Jr. ‘s turn at e-mail scandal, or what’s been swept under the rug of America’s consciousness:

These examples brings me back to the point: the surface craziness of Team Trump serves as distraction from the larger agenda. It’s the flash that hides the impact, allowing the Trump administration to dominate news cycles with loud, hollow clamor. Meanwhile, the shady bits are happening outside the average citizen’s social media or news feed. It’s not just POTUS engaging in this charade. Congress is complicit as well,  as with 2016’s non-appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. In 2017, it’s secretive discussions on healthcare reform that are meant to strong-arm support while introducing massive, decimating reforms under a arbitrary deadline.

This kind of flimflam is completely unacceptable, particularly from men and women elected to  lead America through an increasingly complicated 21st Century. This is not the America we were promised, and local elections are beginning to show impact from concerned citizens awake to the con. Long declared party loyalties are disintegrating – with good reason.

As easy as it is to place blame on a distant and cynical Washington D.C. for the easy circulation of red herring news, we are equally culpable.  We must overcome all-too pervasive apathy toward staying informed and engaged. We don’t have the luxury of avoiding tough challenges that can depress the mood. The health of our nation is like work, oxygen, love – we need it.

Staying informed is a responsibility bestowed upon us by privilege-turned-rights of the First Amendment. Cutting through the din is unpleasant, but sticking your fingers in your ears is much more dangerous.

 

Kasich’s Garland Confusion Reminds Voters He’s The Clumsy GOP Establishment

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“In a bizarre way, Kasich’s tenuous grasp of Garland talking points puts him firmly in step with the general Republican establishment, which has demonstrated vacillating, illogical “strategy” since Antonin Scalia died last month. The fingers in the ears approach to the universally respected Garland is hard to comprehend. The party is clearly worried about Trump as standard bearer and its many implications, including any SCOTUS choice he might render. Why then are they willing to roll the dice, risking a Trump, Clinton or Sanders recommendation? Where is the bravado coming from?”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories

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Trump, blah blah, Marco Rubio’s yuge resignation from the 2016 presidential campaign, whatever. Believe it or not, there’s a whole world out there. Here’s three other stories that caught my attention this week…

– On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee for the Supreme Court, replacing recently deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. To understate the situation, the controversy surrounding the move is vast. Should a lame duck President (with nearly a year left in his term) be allowed to nominate a justice? Is Congress obligated to give a nominee fair hearings? Are the Executive and Legislative branches of government capable of agreeing on anything? While the media spotlight was focused on these questions, President Obama sat down with Time Magazine for an in-depth discussion on race and body image in which he acknowledges slowly changing standards of beauty. He hopes these shifts inspire the next generation to view themselves and their dreams differently. Read an excerpt of this uplifting interview here.

– Ok fine. This is related to Trump. But we found a unifying issue! On the heels of this month’s Super Tuesday success for The Donald, Google announced that searches for answers to the question, “How can I move to Canada?” went up 350%. This week we witnessed Super Tuesday Part 3 in which the rise of Trump continued and talk of a contested Republican Convention was amplified by members of the GOP establishment. While the nation watched this unfolding mess, the World Happiness Report Update 2016 from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations was released. If you are horrified by the 2016 election cycle and want relocation options to consider besides Canada, you may find inspiration here.

– The world of entertainment is littered with celebrities fighting for more exposure, more money, more everything at the expense of anything else (I’m looking at you Kardashians). But this week, one sports figure stood out for his humble sanity. NBA star and San Antonio Spur Kawhi Leonard still drives the same car he drove in high school despite having signed a $94 million contact extension last summer. Read about his fascinating discipline and love for chicken wing coupons here.

What was on your radar this week?