With all that prognosticating going on, some obvious themes emerged. First and foremost, according to these pundits, the entire country is in a full-fledged panic over the violence that’s tearing our society apart. They are not referring to the daily bloodletting we face day in and day out from uncontrolled firearms killing people by the tens of thousands, of course. That’s just the natural price citizens pay for someone else’s freedom to carry lethal weapons. No, according to these commentators, Americans are hysterical over the extremely remote possibility that the bullet that might kill them could come from a gun fired by a Muslim. Evidently, the unique awfulness of that possibility has the whole country hysterical with fear.Annnnnnnnnnd here:
Terrorism, which involves guns, is exciting, and will always win the battle of airtime with, say, “establishing a viable public health care system” or “creating rules for shared economic prosperity with poorer nations.” But it is not more important than those things. It does not affect more people. It is a real world sideshow of marginal importance, able to lend a fulfilling sense of patriotic purpose to our lives which is mostly dependent upon our own imaginations. And while the public is indulging in the fantasy of a world in which they must be part of an amorphous fight against the terrorist enemy of the moment, the real issues are being dealt with by powerful people who are quite happy to be allowed to make choices without the public’s attention.
We'll see how calmly tonight's GOP debate handles these things. And by calmly of course I mean each candidate desperately trying to sound louder & scarier than the next one. Though I will say, I'm pleased they've embraced the modern sitcom by not supplying a laugh track.The only sense in which terrorism is the most important issue facing America is this: it has the power to distract us from the real issues and cause us to divert our efforts and resources towards less important and beneficial causes. By that standard, the terrorists are indeed winning.