Within the space of 24 hours, Americans have had the focus of the entire Presidential campaign cunningly shifted from right under their noses. The issues have always been consistent during most of this very long nominating process. Issues such as the economy, the war of adventure in Iraq, NAFTA, and America's foreign policies.
No longer. In one of the swiftest shifts ever seen in the mainstream media, either intentionally or unintentionally, three stories have been inserted into the political landscape that will once again consume the bulk of an entire campaign season.
Yesterday's ruling by the California Supreme Court overturning that state's ban on gay marriage was just the shot of adrenalin that the far right wing nuts have been desperately searching for to energize their base. Even though the ruling amounts to a hill of beans due to California's already very liberal laws concerning gay rights and civil unions, the right has already seized upon the opportunity handed to it, and is screaming bloody murder.
Adding fuel to the fire was the endorsement of Barak Obama by NARAL Pro-Choice America, a major national abortion rights group. The timing of the endorsement, besides giving Hillary Clinton something else to gripe about, has started a flurry of headline stories and the vowed fight from the right. Finger pointing has already begun by some right wing talking heads accusing Obama of being the pro abortion, pro gay marriage candidate, when he has consistently said no such thing.
Third but not least, is the resurrection of the dead boogeyman from the far off caves in the form of a new audio tape. 'Osama Bin Laden' or Timothy Olson as he's known to his CIA handlers, reportedly issued new threats against the West, Israel, Atlantis, alien invaders, and everyone else he could think of. Pakistan's ISI, the Israeli Mossad, several European governments, as well as the Russians have said that Bin Laden is dead, but yet, once again, just when he's needed to try to scare the American people during an election season, poof, he comes rising from the ashes.
Put all three of these issues together, along with the just announced about to start trials of some of the terrorists alleged to have taken part in the 9/11 attacks, and we have the far rights's wet dream perfect storm for an election year. It only took 6 1/2 years to get these guys to trial, just in time for a media dog and pony show during the home stretch of the campaigns.
Coincidence? Right. And the tooth fairy delivers quarters to children as they sleep. Only it's not the tooth fairy delivering money to sleeping children this time. Once again, we have a massive effort by a desperate right wing to try to distract and deflect from issues of importance to all Americans by trying to inflame the passions and prejudices of the people as they have since the impeachment show trial of Bill Clinton.
Taking apart each of these three 'issues', one has to wonder at how in the world the Republicans manage to sucker the People time and time again. Gay marriage for instance. Do you really care if two people that love each other get married, have a civil union, or live in your neighborhood? Of course you don't. But the religious fanatics would have you believe that you do by invoking a book written by men over a millennium ago, a book they too cherry picked to suit the political atmosphere of the time. Like the politicians of today, they picked and chose what to include in the Bible, and suckered the entire world into believing this was the only and official word of God, and they were the only ones capable of understanding what God wanted from us. For century after century to this day, the story has never changed. The pulpit pointers rile the people up in the name of God, getting them to vote against their own self interests, just so long as them dang gay people don't do that sodomite stuff!
Or abortion. Even though the Supreme Court of our nation has ruled on this issue, it does not stop the right from firing up the People's religious leanings, and pushing the issue to the front of the campaign. Infiltrating every level of federal, state, and local government, the religious extremists turn abortion into a case of life or death for our country, when the truth is that if you ask the average person on the street about the matter, they'll tell you they could care less.
And finally comes the opening salvo of the 2008 terror campaign. Bin Laden! Terror warnings! Red alert, no, yellow alert, no, we mean there's a threat. We just don't know where, how, or by whom. Just be afraid, and vote for a continuation of the fascist years of George Bush and all will be fine. Anyone who can't see through this charade by now deserves whatever government they get.
All of this going on and pushing aside issues of importance. Such as our 'friend and ally' Saudi Arabia announcing today that they're not going to increase the production of oil to lower gasoline prices. This, during a visit by Bush himself, you know, the Saudi's biggest business partner in the world, other than Dick Cheney. So oil prices will continue to rise throughout the summer, and the oil barons that have run roughshod over our land for 7 long years will attain the goal they set for themselves during Cheney's 'Energy Policy Meetings' back in 2001. $200.00 a barrel oil by the time they leave office, translating into $5.00 a gallon for gasoline, and windfall profits for the corporations.
Even more jobs were shipped overseas these past two months. Even as the administration cooks the books to make it appear as though jobless claims fell, they don't report on the people who had the bad fortune of their benefits running out, and are now broke, with no income, and facing homelessness. As foreign policy issues such as what to do about getting aid to the people of Myanmar should be the topic in the political world, they stoke up not aid but AIDS with their anti-gay rhetoric. Or as poverty rises to strike at the heart of the middle class, they issue 'rebate' checks that will hopefully get some groceries into American refrigorators, but do nothing to help the economy.
We must resist the temptation of repeating the patterns of past elections. Going back to whack job Newt Gingrich's 'Contract with America', the far right has hijacked every political discourse with fear mongering, turning one segment of society against another, and somehow convincing the usually savvy American people that more for the rich and less for you is good for the country. We can no longer afford to allow these petty arguments to interfere with the process of choosing a candidate that will best right the ship of state. As we all stand looking down into the abyss, one waiting to swallow us all, and the fear mongers begin their sleight of hand smoke and mirrors show, all Americans must reject their ideology out of hand, and get back to the issues that are threatening to tear the United States apart. They've had their say once again, now look away lest you become hypnotized, and let's get back to work fixing the mess they've left us with.