From the 17 January 2011 Lockport Union Sun and Journal (Lockport, NY)
 

DIVIDED BY DESIGN
By Bob Confer

America has been split in twain by the Tucson shooting. Those who align with the Democrats insist on painting those who lean Republican as enemies of our nation, breeders of hate so pervasive that they are more responsible for the murder of 6 innocents – and the attempted assassination of Congresswomen Giffords – than its conspirator Jared Loughner ever could be. It has been a sickening roller coaster ride that showed the left displaying the vitriol that it claims to be against.

Lost in the ensuing back-and-forth was what mattered most, the lives taken and lives affected by the gunman. Political gamesmanship dominated what should have been a period of time that highlighted a nation in mourning yet one so proud of itself that it would not waver in its principles of being a government by, for, and accessible to the people.

It was grossly un-American.

Or was it?

This division is nothing new. This post-shooting hysteria is a perfect snapshot of what American politics has been and will ever be. We are a nation divided by the contrasts of 2 parties, the Republicans and Democrats.

That conflict, though, is only a mask. The parties, especially within the inner-workings of our outsized federal system, are more intertwined than we’ll ever know. Think of how easily war was "declared" by President Bush at the behest of Congress or how the Patriot Act passed with limited fireworks or how Congress so tamely allowed trillions in economic rescue during the recession or how body scanners magically appeared within days of the attempted Christmas underwear bombing.

We, as a people, were made to be divided on those and similar issues, yet the dominoes had already been set into play beforehand by the powers-that-be on both sides of the supposed aisle. Big stuff like that slips by hurriedly under the public fray. Instead, it's the minor issues or those that are long-term in transformation (hot button issues like public assistance, corporate welfare, abortion and guns) where the party leaders play the political football that keeps us captivated while making us oblivious to matters affecting our everyday lives.

To make things like that happen requires a careful manipulation of the masses, brainwashing if you will, through the modern press and our educational system. The shooting fall-out has shown that Americans who were taught so very little about government and civics in our schools are ill-equipped to discern right from wrong, good from bad, truth from fiction in the amalgamation of so-called news and commentary spewed from television sets, the radio and the internet. Case in point, last week, like lemmings millions – yes, millions - of Americans followed lock-step the utterly stupid belief that right-wingers were responsible for the mass murder, even though it was apparent Loughner is anything but a Conservative.

The political leaders have created a perfect subterfuge. As we bicker over who made who kill who, think of the absurd legislation that's been mothballed for years by the Republican and Democrat powerbrokers that's just been begging for an incident like this: Are they devising means to limit public access to Congress and the entire federal system? Are they looking for ways to regulate the way you are allowed to speak – and even think -- about elected officials and bureaucrats? Are they developing methods of controlling peaceable assembly? Are they conspiring over ways to spy on our internet activities?

The answer is “yes” to all of those questions because once Tucson’s dust has settled and we’re all licking our wounds from the ongoing hate game, Americans will be more than willing to abandon some of their rights and privileges to “make things better”.

That’s how the game works: Drain our emotions and energy by forcing us to expend them on one another and then we’ll lack the vitality to fight the system. Our voices are and will be lost in the din of a divide manufactured by a big government intent on advancing its own interests. We’re being played.

 

 

COMMENT ON THIS COLUMN HERE

 

RETURN TO  GREATER NIAGARA EDITORIALS