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The Politics of Distraction

I have started wondering why Republicans decided to make a big deal out of some Islamic cultural center being built in an old Burlington Coat Factory store site. After all, it is pretty much a non-issue, since it would be clearly unconstitutional to legally block them from building it.

And then it hit me. The Republicans don’t care about the “Mosque at Ground Zero”. What they care about is distracting everyone. This stupid story is dominating the news. Heck, even I have done a bunch of posts about it. Meanwhile, nobody is paying attention to how the Republicans are blocking efforts to fix the economy, or efforts to help 9/11 responders. They’ve gotten pretty much every Democratic politician to weigh in on the issue, from Obama on down. And that’s exactly what the Republicans want — people focused on stupid issues, rather than the real issues and problems that we face.

It is the perfect wedge issue. It is the Terry Schiavo or Elian Gonzalez issue of the week. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And told by an idiot.

It is time to stop acting like sheep. I’m going to stop posting stories about the mosque. I really don’t care if they build it or not, and there are far more important issues to talk about.

© Milt Priggee

UPDATE: Ok, ok, I know I wasn’t going to post anything more about this, but I just have to let Jon Stewart have the last word. After all, his brilliant piece seems to have more to do with how the media (cough — Fox News) is using this issue to drum up fear:



  1. patriotsgt wrote:

    Never afraid to jump in and take the other side… It could just be the other way around to some extent given the state of the economy, recent jobs #’s etc. The admin could be keeping this in the media to take the edge off the reality knowing that they will win the discussion and repubs can only look bad by opposing.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Doubtful. Polls show 70% of Americans opposed them building the center. Would be stupid for the Dems to keep this in the news. Clearly a wedge issue.

    Besides, either way there is no reason to keep talking about it.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  3. Mad Hatter wrote:

    Good for you….this really is a non-issue and as the comic strip shows – just another in a long line of Republican propaganda themes to strike fear into Americans.

    For me personally, I just wish all religions would go away forever and for good! It would be a much better world.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  4. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    For me the issue is less significant (if it is significant) than what the discussion around it means.

    Do you realize that the people who demanded that people on the no-fly list be able to own guns because of the 2nd Amendment are now demanding that someone not be able to exercise their 1st Amendment rights and have the government restrict where the places of worship for certain religions be built?

    That, my friends, is a terrifying sign for our future, if we are to have one at all.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  5. patriotsgt wrote:

    In unrelated news,
    Scientists Map Invisible Oil Plume Deep In Gulf.

    “Scientists are reporting the first conclusive evidence of a deep underwater oil plume from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But don’t go looking for it. It’s invisible.”

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    Watching the various interest groups that span the political spectrum in this country slip further and further from looking at real issues and resorting to the all too successful tactic of demonizing those with views that differ with their own is one of the reasons I hold little confidence that we as a society have the political hutzpah to find strong, lasting solutions to our problems. The real issue isn’t the Islamic cultural center in New York, it’s how the various “sides” on the issue play it to engender support for their causes. It’s all about accruing and wielding power.

    IK, if you never discuss the cultural center, won’t bother me a bit, but we need to continue to find ways to carry on true discussions of the issues that will destroy this country – one of them being the broadening chasms between so many of us. Without such discussions, the crazies currently driving the debate will continue to drive us further down that path until failure is inevitable. I worry we have already reached that point.

    To me, part of that discussion is being able to present and think about information and data that shed light on the point of discussion. One can’t get there if one’s primary response to honest information is “Says who!?!.” One can’t get there if the argument is turned to a debate about a word’s meaning, not the essence of an issue. One can’t get there if misdirection and obfuscation are the primary tools of debate.

    Rant off.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Good rant.

    Finding the center (and encouraging it) is one of the main reasons I started this blog.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  8. ebdoug wrote:

    I live in New York state. Beside the mayor of New York (I can’t spell his name)who is in favor of the mosque, many Republicans are also supportive of the right to build. Hence in New York state, the story is dying down fast. Hard to make it a political issue when both sides are in disagreement with their party.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink
  9. patriotsgt wrote:

    Well put Don!

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  10. ZJD wrote:

    At this point in time it will be difficult for me to even consider voting Republican, and that’s a shame – I do try my best to include all opinions and facts concerning any given issue. But when the overarching strategy of a political party is to obstruct legislation and blame incompetency on the party in power… When they mobilize their constituency through fear mongering and smear tactics… When they are unilaterally on the side of big business, even when that support costs so many their livelihoods (cough, healthcare, cough)… At this point Democrats are the far lesser of two evils.

    Friday, August 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink