This Week’s Deflection
Say what you will about the new President (and Lord knows this blog has and will continue to say what we will for a long time), he does have a gift for deflection. It is that talent of speaking directly to his audience and suddenly pointing in another direction and shouting, “Oh my God! Look over there.” So we dutifully look over there, define/describe/discuss whatever the hell he pointed out, and take our minds off the really important stuff.
Only he is able to do it without actually raising his hands to point. His fingers are too busy banging out a Twitter message to go the old fashioned route of actually moving a muscle above his forearm. It’s all the same to him: finger pointing or Twitter message accomplishes his sleight of hand goal of taking our attention away from his real agenda.
In the weeks since the President took power, we have been told to consider fictional slaughters (Bowling Green Massacre), the horrible immigrant problems in other countries (Sweden), and the poor television ratings his signature show has had to endure since it was taken over by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Or how the media dishonestly under reported the size of the crowds at his inauguration? Or how he would have won the popular vote had it not been for the millions of illegal votes by people being registered in more than one place, or not being in the country legally, or being dead?
Or the classic, “The press is our enemy.” As one pundit observed, not even Nixon went there!
And the important stuff from which we are distracted? Wow, where do we begin?
The rant starts here: the dismantling of regulations across a number of agencies which threaten our drinking supply, the oxygen we breathe, and other “quality of life” issues; the ongoing threats to traditional American values like freedom of the press, the right to free assembly, the right to vote; the movement against the long-cherished virtues of promising better lives to all who considered escaping persecution in their native countries; or the threat to our democracy from a long time super power foe. And the list could go on, but these few examples should get the point across.
This weekend, the American people are enduring a series of tweets accusing President Obama of wiretapping the phones in the current President’s palatial Manhattan penthouse just before the election. True to his twitter style, El Presidente is belittling his predecessor as “sick” and “bad” in his latest accusations. Actually, this is an improvement over the previous narrative of Obama not being born in this country. The President has finally gotten over the whole Obama-is-not-a-legitimate-leader argument.
Even if the accusation is true – much like the previous popular vote argument the President has not offered any evidence that the wiretapping was ordered by Obama — so what? Who could blame Obama for wanting to gather more information about the man who on a campaign stump reached out and implored Russia to release any of the missing Hillary Clinton e-mails they found? At the time of this incident, a few pundits believed the act smacked of “treason”, but that didn’t matter to his supporters.
In any event, officials from the Obama administration were quick to point out that the President (whoever it may be) does not have the authority to order a wiretap on any American citizen. This little slice of political reality probably still won’t matter. His supporters will passionately defend his honor no matter what.
As he might say in a tweet: Sad.
Speaking of this campaign incident, I wish to point out that many of us noticed the President’s deflection tactics during his many campaign appearances. He consistently raised a pointed finger at Hillary Clinton and called her a liar with nearly every breathe of his self-righteous, spoiled billionaire body. All the while the media fact checkers compiled an impressive — no, yuuuge — tally of falsehoods uttered by the soon to be elected Presidential nominee himself! Some have called this projection of the President’s language, but it accomplishes the same goal as deflection of the message.
Again I repeat: Sad.
This weekend’s accusations without evidence come on the heels of his speech to Congress which many people believed marked the turning point for the President. Now — we thought — he has grown up and is ready to assume the mantle of leader of the free world as a mature adult. That era of good feeling lasted exactly one day when reports surfaced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath to a Senate committee about meeting with the Soviet Ambassador.
A few tweets later about this new controversy from the President and all the speculation that he had made a pivot away from his immature style of communication crashed and burned.
As much as I hate to admit it, the new President is a genius at this sort of communication manipulation. A sick, bad genius at that.
(Thank you for reading. Now deflect that! I dare you, Mr. President!)