Political distractions are like barrels in Donkey Kong

In the video game Donkey Kong,  Mario’s goal is to save Pauline, the damsel in distress. She has been abducted by Donkey Kong. Mario must ascend a series of girder beams and ladders to reach her. In the mean time, Donkey Kong is rolling barrels into Mario’s path. The rescue of Pauline is constantly interrupted by the barrels.

If Pauline were the United States, and Donkey Kong were a globalist organization, the barrels would be all the social issues that must be dealt with before freedom can be secured. Social issues keep people divided and fighting while those with power stay a safe distance away, untouched.

Years ago I had an epiphany while watching the Phil Donahue show. I don’t know if he was the first show host to bring groups of people together on a show to argue, but his show was pretty popular. One day there were two feuding families on. I don’t remember their specific arguments. There was initially a lot of heat between the two families. But, the more they talked, the more they actually started to listen to each other and to nod their heads in agreement. They were starting to find a peaceful solution. Phil picked up on this and injected something to goad them back into a frenzy— something like, “Did you forget what he said earlier about your mother?” Phil’s trick worked. Both groups were instantly back to fighting.

I realized then that the dialogue was being manipulated. It was never intended to be a natural or spontaneous. It was cultivated. Peaceful dialogue was not encouraged, or even allowed. Phil’s whole job was to keep the people fighting. He didn’t want healthy debate. He wanted a freak show. That was his formula. The “keep them fighting” formula has spread to nearly every facet of television. It’s one of the reasons I can’t stand to watch the news. People are invited onto a news show with one purpose: to fight. If their real opinions were wanted, the hosts would allow them to speak. Instead, the show opens the mic of every guest so they can shout over each other. The shouting diverts attention from more important things, like the looming financial crisis. Scandals and partisan fighting keep minds occupied while behind-the-scenes legislation gets passed that really matters.

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