Sucking the oxygen out of the room

I have written often about relevant issues not getting discussed as certain politicians and sloppy reporters and opinion people would rather discuss sensationalized and exaggerated issues, which may not be that big of a deal to begin with. Or, worse, the party complaining the most chose not to act to leave an issue open to blame the other side for its failure to address it. This last step is happening too often for my tastes. It truly sucks the oxygen out of the room.

When Donald Trump used “build that wall” as his bumper sticker theme in 2016, immigration was a problem, but down on the list of issues causing disenfranchisement in people in run-down areas. The two main culprits of companies chasing cheaper labor and technological advancements would not fit on a bumper sticker. Plus, it is hard to fear a robot like you can an illegal alien brought in as cheap labor in some industries. But, it should be noted when his bluff was called on his number one issue and Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham got him to agree on a wall funding for DACA being made law, he reneged on his promise in a matter of a few hours as not solving immigration was better as a campaign issue.

Right now instead of discussing more our US and global water crisis, our poverty and hunger problems, the threats to our civil rights and democracy, the need to further stabilize health care costs and access, the continuing threats to inflation and climate change, etc., we spend far too much time speaking about things that are not really problems based on some variation of “fear the other” as a threat. When I see “fear the other” issues being bandied about, I just move on as these are purposeful wedge issues to garner votes.

We just passed a good, but imperfect Inflation Reduction Act that included elements to reduce the deficit with increased taxes on the wealthy, help with renewable energy investment and stabilizing health care premiums continuing what happened with the pandemic funding. Although Republican led states will benefit from this, no Republican voted for it. If a party is going to complain about inflation, why did no one vote for it? No legislation is perfect, but no one, even when your state benefits?

Democrats have just done a similar ploy delaying a vote of the marriage equality act until after the election. It is arguable that it could not have passed, but the Democrats feel some lame duck moderate Republicans will be more inclined to vote in favor after the mid-terms. Yet, the bill had support and some momentum. Some Republicans in tough campaigns wanted to vote for it.

Politics has become a new sport with a zero-sum mindset – I must win and you must lose. We even have folks who taunt the other side. In this construct, the people who lose are the voters and citizens of our country and other countries. When the US fails to be a responsible global partner and citizen, then the rest of the world thinks less of us. Botching our pandemic response showed that the US cannot effectively deal with a major issue. The January 6 insurrection showed that even the US can look like a Banana Republic. The unproven bogus election fraud claims planned and touted by the losing former president, made us look like an autocratic country pretending to look like a democracy.

We must strive toward our better angels and civilly discuss our problems truthfully and factually. If any leader from any party cannot do this, then he or she needs to resign. And, we certainly do not need them running for office. Full stop.

6 thoughts on “Sucking the oxygen out of the room

  1. This is a great post, Keith! Yes, issues that are minor or should be irrelevant keep our attention focused away from what’s really important. The media, and even we bloggers, are driven to report on the threats of violence and the former guys latest crimes rather than the environment, education, poverty, racism, healthcare, human rights, and all the other problems that we could at least begin to solve, if only we could stay focused, if only the politicians cared more about people and less about profit.

    • Jill, many thanks. Yes, we speak of these distractions, some of which, have been needlessly harmful for some. When people get killed, maimed or jailed because a politician can’t bring himself or herself to be an honest broker, that is simply shameful. Plus, we don’t talk about those real issues which can be harmful as well. Keith

      • I was perusing the news in a couple of sources tonight, and one past the war in Ukraine, the Queen’s funeral, and the hurricane in Puerto Rico, nearly every single story had Trump’s name somewhere in it. At a time when we have major problems, when the divisions are threatening our very foundation, all the media can talk about is him. This is not healthy! Sigh. On another note, I will be curious to get your take on today’s music post! 😉

      • Thanks Jill. Of course, he may not be liking the news being reported about him now as he “rages” in response, a common word used about his reactions these days. I will look for the music post. Keith

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