Barack Obama is a master of distraction. It is perhaps the single thing he does best. Indeed, with the help of his loyal media claque, the president is almost as good with distraction as Roger Federer with a tennis racquet or Mickey Mantle with a baseball bat.
When the public starts looking closely at what he is doing, making him vulnerable on matters of genuine significance, Obama changes the subject, distracting the public with a relatively minor issue. That this new issue usually has “hot button” overtones only helps him because it plays into the anger management issues endemic to the human race. Everyone almost always wants to be right about everything, myself unfortunately included.
So his opponents — the GOP — forget about the big issues, concentrate on the insignificant, and end up in disarray, losing elections and turning on each other.
Obama has always behaved this way but now, in his second term, it has become more blatant and the GOP’s reaction more befuddled and extreme, the Tea Party and the Establishment wings going at each other like nitwit cousins in a hillbilly soap opera.
As I write this, the big issues on the national agenda appear to be not the economy and foreign policy, but gun control and immigration.
This is going on while unemployment remains at near record numbers (who knows what the real numbers are?), the deficit appears headed for Alpha Centauri, many of our states and cities are bankrupt or near it, higher education is becoming either useless or unaffordable, North Korea just blew up an atom bomb, Iran is about to get theirs, the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies have taken over or are about to take over most of the Middle East and a fair amount of Africa from the Horn to Morocco, and Russia is back to its old ways (assuming it ever left them), flying military aircraft over Guam. And that leaves out China.
I could go on, but you get the point.
And we are arguing about gun control and immigration. Talk about distractions!
But let’s examine them a bit more closely. The whole gun-control debate seems to revolve around two questions — whether background checks should be universal and just how many bullets we should be allowed to have in a magazine. Excuse me while I yawn.
Yes, I know that we are being handed a crock of manure and that Connecticut had some of the most stringent gun legislation in the country when Newtown occurred, but so what? This is still an absurd distraction. What real difference would it make to our lives if background gun checks were universal?
And, yes, I know the purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the populace from a totalitarian government, but do you really think — in today’s world of drones, lasers, communications satellites, and other high-tech weapons and apparatus we don’t even know about, all in the hands of the government — whether a citizen has ten or twenty bullets in his magazine has a significance beyond the level of a low-grade band-aid, and a used one at that? Even a howitzer in every house wouldn’t mean much anymore, considering what the government has at its disposal.
If you really are worried about totalitarianism, better to spend your efforts trying to dismantle the NSA or leading a campaign for everyone to give up their cell phones, undoubtedly the greatest spy apparatus ever invented. And we all use them willingly.
Whatever you do, spending a lot of time debating how many shells you can carry is a monumental distraction and only helps the other side. Just roll your eyes and move on. They’re not going to do very much about this anyway. They’re only doing it for show — and that’s the point. They don’t even care about this themselves. They just care about making you look bad. Don’t let them. Don’t engage.
Practice the Japanese martial art of aikido in which you win by using your opponent’s energy against him — rather like a basketball player who steps back from the player he’s defending and lets him stumble and fall. It’s called “pulling the chair,” as Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers discovered, much to his chagrin:
The immigration debate is another area in which to practice this aikido and pull the chair. The obvious point of this debate is to paint Republicans as bigots and cement the growing Hispanic vote for Democrats. Conservatives get on their high horse about the principles of lawful immigration and they are of course right. But again, so what?
In reality, illegal immigration is less of a problem than it has been in ages for a reason most people know: the employment picture, for once, is better south of the border.
This will change, most probably, but before it does, Republicans should seize the so-called high ground and lead the charge to solve the problem as quickly as possible, take all the phony racist accusations off the table, even if it means the dreaded word amnesty (which, as we know, didn’t bother Ronald Reagan) or some euphemism for it.
Don’t like that? Well, ask yourself this. How in the world are we going to repatriate eleven million illegal aliens without organizing one of the biggest bureaucracies this country (or the world) has ever known? And what are we going to do with that bureaucracy after the illegals have gone (if they ever do)? Is that something small-government conservatives, of all people, should want?
Moving beyond gun control and immigration, I have one more suggestion for Republican use of that great reverse-English aikido. Start accusing Democrats of racism for not fixing the economy when African-Americans have suffered worst of all. Do it loudly and often. It would be justified.