I had the television on in the background while I was working today, and eventually realized I was listening to CNN talking about the article in The Atlantic which claims President Donald Trump said nasty things about American soldiers. They spent half an hour talking about it. Half an hour wasting their time and efforts, talking about something absolutely meaningless. Then I heard similar discussions on other news programs, read headlines pointing to several articles on line, and even my mother mentioned it to me on the phone.
If he said those things the article claims, no one’s opinion of him is going to change. No staunch Trump supporter is going to read that and say “Oh, well, that changed my mind. I can’t support him.” Neither will it change the mind of anyone who disagrees with him. And it’s doubtful such a comment—reportedly from an anonymous source—will have any effect on those who are undecided.
But what all that half hour of talk, all those articles, Joe Biden’s commentary in today’s speech, as well as every other pundit talking about it… what all of that did was make the Trump re-election campaign chortle with glee. Now, all they have to do is say “no, he didn’t say that.” They don’t have to say anything about what Donald Trump is actually doing, don’t have to talk about the fact that he is not only a bad president, but is actually malfeasant in office. They don’t have to talk about the fact that rather than uniting the United States of America, he is actively trying to divide us. They don’t have to talk about the fact that rather than leading the drive to minimize the damage of the pandemic, he’s leading the drive to ignore it and let it run rampant. Heck, they don’t have to do anything positive for as long as this distracting story lasts.
It’s part of an ongoing theme, Donald Trump’s entire presidential strategy: “What can I do to distract people from reality, so they’ll waste all their time and effort on irrelevancies?” It’s just the latest irrelevancy.
I can’t really fault the news media: their job is to sell advertising, and they do it by attracting viewers and readers. And we are weak-willed enough to truly lap up this nonsense, each time it appears.
But we, the consumers, the citizens, the people who truly matter in this country: we are failing. We are failing by allowing ourselves to be distracted by this nonsense. I came to this realization, and I turned the channel. I didn’t bother reading those news articles. I tried to point out this campaign of diversion to my mother.
Donald Trump babbles. He talks and talks, throwing out whatever nonsense he can in a never-ending attempt to distract and appall his viewers. The more appalled we are, the more we’ll watch. And the more distracted we are, the less we’ll pay attention to the things that matter.
What matters? Treating each other with dignity, the way we wanted to be treated.
What matters? Working together to keep each other safe from a deadly virus, while our scientists work to find a cure and a vaccine.
What matters? Treating the environment with the same dignity with which we should treat each other, so that our children have a healthy world in which to live.
What doesn’t matter? Whether or not Donald Trump said something that insulted some people. Take it as a given: he insults people. How many other adults continue to use insulting nicknames for people they don’t like, after they leave high school?
What matters? Voting in this year’s election. Not just for president, but also for Congress.
I’m not a big fan of Joe Biden, but you can bet your ass I’m going to vote for him. Because I think he understands what it truly means to be the President of the United States of America, rather than Donald Trump’s position as president of doing whatever he wants for the people he likes and flipping off everyone else.
I live in New York’s ninth Congressional district, so my vote matters not at all. The straight Democratic ticket is going to take far more than 50% of the votes in this district. The votes that matter are the votes of the people who live in Florida, in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin… Are you one of those voters? Seriously consider your options. Do you know someone who lives in one of those states? Tell them why their vote is important.
But stop falling for the sleight-of-hand that is Donald Trump’s way of life. Stop being distracted by his theatre meant to grab your attention. Instead, keep your attention where it needs to be: on his never-ending campaign to divide and conquer his own country, his never-ending campaign to enrich himself and his friends, his blatant incompetence, and his villainy in the face of a major crisis that would have caused any other president to rise to the challenge.