Guest Opinion: We are too distracted by trivia

    How utterly absurd it is that the big question of the day is whether Donald Trump can be “officially” condemned as a racist or not! As if it mattered in the least. (It doesn’t.)

    As if the label, if it could be successfully pinned on him — especially in the anatomical region that he, not so delicately, has referred to as the orifice from which bodily waste is passed — somehow, some way, will make some sort of difference. This is not only patently absurd, but also hopelessly naïve. Those of us who might happen to be outraged by his latest crudities need no further incentive to be appropriately horrified and disgusted by the many offensive comments and behaviors already reported over the past year and a half or so. And those others of us (his supposed “base”), who have maintained a loyalty to him in spite of his many abhorrent transgressions of word and deed — does anyone think they/we will be moved even an inch by this latest abomination, if it could be confirmed to be racist by supposedly indignant public figures and celebrity pundits?

    If one is to despair for the long-term fate of this country and, by extension, the world, it should be for the inability or lack of desire by the great bulk of the populace to “go deep." The many surface distractions that the bulk of our citizenry is caught up in — not only in leading them/us to ignorance relative to the political sphere, but also in almost any area of major significance — keep us all on a level of mass social dysfunction and perpetuate the many, many ills we encounter in our world, from global warming to devastating poverty, child abuse, sexual assault, incessant warfare, racial injustice, infrastructure breakdowns, mass prison populations, the conviction and sometimes execution of innocents, the funneling of the wealth of the nation into the coffers (and hidden offshore accounts) of a tiny group of the super-rich and super-powerful, the denigration of women, gun violence of disgraceful proportions compared with that of other developed countries, the clinging to (and often abuse of) power by our supposed “representatives” often bought and paid for by those previously mentioned rich and powerful, I could go on ...

    And, when we look up for a few seconds from our sporting matches and game shows and Netflix and smart phones and sensationalized media news and disaster reporting and talk-show pablum, we make some quick, mostly emotional judgments that merely perpetuate our prejudices and allow us to continue our antagonisms against “the others.” Antagonisms and hostilities that only serve to neutralize any possible ability we might have to come together in unity and harmony in such a way that might serve us to insist on moving toward a more peaceful and just and equitable society that many of us supposedly long for, but don’t even begin to understand why it keeps eluding us.

    And all the wasted articles and commentaries and outraged declarations and opinion pieces, insisting on the casting or denying of the racist label on the man is another example of what keeps us mired in our state of perpetual animosity towards each other and play totally into the hands of those (including the current occupant of the White House) who couldn’t care less one way or another. And, in doing so, they use our naiveté and our distractedness to surreptitiously reap their ill-gotten gains, while the rest of us, oblivious pawns in the game that we are, let ourselves direct our animosities toward each other, rather than focusing on the exploitation by those who would (and do) ruthlessly and cynically instigate the confusion and disorder that perpetuates the ills of our troubled world.

    As our illustrious leader might say, “sad”.

    — Donald Wertheimer lives in Ashland.

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