Our political system runs in two modes to distract voters from what actually happens in government: horse race season and soap opera season. Our politicians and their accomplices in the corporate media are like magicians who distract with one hand while doing their tricks with the other.
We just finished horse race season (i.e., elections), where the media focuses almost exclusively on polls without ever actually investigating candidates’ voting records or policy positions. Locally, the focus was mainly on “dark money” and “misleading mailers.”
Now we’re back to soap opera season, where we talk about the gaffes of politicians while avoiding any debates on policy or discussing provisions in upcoming legislation. Our attention is manipulated with headlines and narratives.
We see this nationally with all the talking heads on the right wasting hours laughing at President Biden’s latest issue with the teleprompter, shaking hands with invisible people, or tripping on stairs. While they laugh, Biden is passing his entire legislative agenda, either through multi-thousand-page bills with no debate in Congress or simply deeming it law through executive order, knowing that the courts either won’t stop him or it’ll be too late by the time they get around to it.
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Locally, many of our readers have been complaining about a planned trip to Israel by Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe and two City Commissioners, Adrian Hayes-Santos and David Arreola. Poe claims they will be engaging in “citizen diplomacy.” What happened to the Logan Act? Oh, sorry, I forgot that’s a previous narrative to be used against a different political party.
Is the trip a waste of our taxpayer money? Of course. Is it corrupt? Probably. (What does any politician do that isn’t self-serving and/or corrupt?)
If you’re outraged about spending a few thousand dollars on a trip to Israel (the combined travel budgets of the three traveling commissioners amount to $15,000, and about $3,800 of that was previously spent on a trip to Iraq by Poe and Hayes-Santos), you should be even more outraged about significant salary increases that will continue to be paid year after year, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in new spending that appears on most consent agendas of city commission meetings.
Any one of the above issues will have a much greater impact on our day-to-day lives in our local community than the trip to Israel, yet they don’t garner nearly as much attention because they’re not part of the scripted soap opera.
As long as citizens focus on what the politicians and their approved media outlets want them to see and not what’s being done behind the scenes, we’ll continue to be ruled by political activists who push the agendas that we’re not meant to see until it’s too late. The agenda is not hidden, we’re just too distracted by the soap opera to notice.
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