Action as Distraction

The other day, I ran across a reader review of one of my books, where the reader downgraded it because it had the “least action” of any book in the series, as if his prime criterion for excellence was violent action.  My first reaction was why he bothered to read my books at all, and my second was that the book in question had more than a little “action,” but no great and endless battle scenes.  And that led to my third thought, which was about the current administration.

With all the emphasis on “the wall” and the totally unfounded idea that illegal immigrants will pose a great and violent threat, and the heralding of the “triumph” over ISIS in Syria, as well as the postured threats and tariff wars, most people aren’t seeing the “real action,” just as that reader didn’t.

As I’ve noted earlier, the Mexican border isn’t the biggest problem with illegal immigrants; and, overall, illegal immigrants are actually paying more in taxes than they’re getting in benefits.  At the same time, green cards are being denied to immigrants with permanent legal status here – yes, you can stay, for now, and until we take away more rights, but you can’t legally work here.  That forces legal immigrants to work illegally if they want to stay alive, and if they’re caught working illegally, then they can be deported…  not only that, but the number of illegal, and some legal immigrants being deported is growing. 

But “the wall” dominates the news. 

In the meantime, across the board, environmental protections are being dialed back administratively, effectively worsening air quality and endangering health. The current administration is continuing to use administrative measures to weaken health care insurance, while administrative decisions are effectively lengthening the protections against competition for brand-name drugs, thus ensuring higher drug prices for longer, and higher health care costs.

Across the entire economy, a few large corporations are gaining market strangleholds, while Congress looks the other way, and the President insists on keeping part of the government shut down until he gets his way.

Our national transportation system continues to erode, and our electric power distribution system is a disaster waiting to happen, but the President claims victory against ISIS in Syria while the DOD secretary resigns, and everyone is up in arms as the President back-pedals on withdrawing troops from Syria.

And Congress, and most Americans, focus on the distractions, while missing all too much of the “real” action, just like that clueless reader.

2 thoughts on “Action as Distraction”

  1. Wine Guy says:

    It’s a common problem:
    People deal with the things that interest and bedevil them…. not what actually needs to be done. We see it in medicine all the time. The examples are too numerous to count and most people can look to their own family for said examples.

  2. Tom says:

    At this time (give or take about 40 years), the only example of governments pursuing “future gain for their nations” are those governed by dictators (not all of the world’s dictators but more totalitarian than other forms of government). Look at the US and EU compared to China and Kazakhstan or even Qatar.

    Is this a result of too much comfort in the “democracies”? Or just the result of our increasing ‘Mefirstism”?

    Picking pockets or stealing a baby’s lollipop is done with distraction. The ‘social media’ and the classic media both aid and abet this problem in our society – but this is still our personal failing. So, we have ourselves to blame for our short attention span, easy distractability, and need for instant gratification – all of help to salespeople!

    Will an increased awareness help us avoid the destruction of our society from the similar failings of those other past empires and long lasting relatively peaceful times on earth? I am not sure how to instill factual reporting and editorial opinion back into a media that believes we are ignorant and thus deserve only entertainment. In the long run will information from the media make us less distractable and help us to make the decisions we must make to evolve into a better society?

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