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How to keep a democracy busy

I found an interesting essay this evening about the politics of fear and how those in power use fear to keep everyone worrying about other things while they remain in power.

Although I historically lean to the left, I refuse to officially affiliate myself with the "blue people" or the "red people." I don't believe in black and white issues, or for that matter, blue and red issues. There's a spectrum of viewpoints, and I think if you graphed where most people really fell along that spectrum, it would form a classic bell curve. I don't think it would make a shape where everybody piled up on opposite sides, as far away from each other as possible.

It seems, though, that is how things tend to go. Barring a horrid scandal, elections are quite frequently split right down the middle. Our House and Senate pivot about along party lines. At State of the Union addresses, one side cheers while the other sits on their hands — though booing is now fashionable in Congress, as is name calling. Anything to entertain the constituents, right?

"All the world's indeed a stage
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers"

Rush, Limelight

The theory espoused by this essay is that those in power simply want to remain in power, and distracting the unclean masses with irrelevant issues is an effective way to do that. Granted, the essay is at a conspiracy site, but this is not entirely tinfoil hat material here. I do think it's hit on something. It's very convenient that global "warming" has become a divisive left or right issue, as has the "war" on terror, as has damn near everything else. It sounds like divide and conquer to me. But who, exactly, is being conquered?

Sorry, I'm not playing that game. There are some important issues in the world — being on one side of the fabled aisle or the other simply is not one of them.

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