- Guns on Campus
- Keeping Transgender Folks Out of Public Restrooms
- Rules that Make Abortion Inaccessible
- A Border Wall With Mexico
These are all made up issues that distract from the important, consequential issues. They're what used to be called wedge issues designed to stoke fear by tickling the amygdala. Emotions take charge, reason doesn't come to play here. So the target audience gets aroused and angry. No debate here, no discussion, no analysis. Just fear based anger.
If you notice these are all tangible, concrete concepts we can visualize and easily understand. They create all too easily imaginable images of someone shooting someone on campus. Or of a six foot something, former NFL football player like John Irving's Roberta Muldoon, leeringly entering the women's restroom in a dress. Visions of tortured fetuses and hordes of Mexicans streaming across the Rio Grande to take away American jobs.
And they don't have to think about how to balance the budget, how to curb global warming, the tens of thousands of civilians who have died because of the United States' attempts to avenge the World Trade Center deaths and destruction. They won't have time to think about how 1% of Americans came to hold 40% of our wealth and how to change that.
In Penn & Teller's seven basic principles of magic, this is called Misdirection."
Draw attention away from a secret move.The main issues - guns, sexuality, abortion, and immigrants - aren't made up. But the legislation being debated and passed these days is so outrageous and mean-spirited I'm convinced it's a form of political sleight of hand to keep us from seeing and dealing with the truly important issues.
It's the only theory that explains for me all the nasty and divisive legislation that Republicans have been introducing and even passing in many states in the last year or so. It's to keep us distracted over guns, abortion, bathrooms, and walls, so we don't focus on inequality, voting rights, and how the law is rigged in favor of the 1%.