Analysis: Please don’t look where I’m pointing

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.

OPINION –Years ago, I attended a spectacular magic show. I can’t recall the magician’s name, but I clearly remember my teenage friends and I being extremely impressed with his lovely, curvy female assistant.

It wasn’t until years later that we began to understand the essential role she played during his performance. Her job was to make sure we weren’t looking too closely at what the magician was doing in setting up his tricks. Every time the magician needed our attention to be diverted, his assistant would step forward with a flourish and that’s exactly where our eyes would stay until he was ready to finish the trick.

Campaigning politicians are a lot like magicians in that they are also masters at diverting the attention of their audience. With the help of the mass media, political opportunists keep the eyes of the voting public firmly fixed on a subject of the politician’s choosing while other matters remain virtually unnoticed. A good example of this is found in the clamor surrounding the president’s new found support of same sex marriage.

This story has led virtually every newscast and has dominated discussion on Facebook for days on end. While most of us remain fixated on the emotional rhetoric and fervor that inevitably accompanies the issue of redefining marriage, we’re ignoring a number of key issues.

For instance, how many Americans are aware of the recent deployment of squadrons of F-22 Raptors to the United Arab Emirates and the stationing of two navy aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf? As European nations begin selling control of their economies to the International Monetary Fund in exchange for keeping their credit ratings, do we recognize that America is on a similar course? As the unending war on terror continues to convert a once-free nation into a garrison state, do we understand how and why this is happening?

It’s curious that standing on the brink of World War III, the prospects of economic upheaval, and the rising tide of despotism in the West can all be traced to current policy emanating from Washington D.C. But instead of addressing these issues, most Americans are currently focused on same sex marriage as the defining issue of this election cycle.

Of course, having an opinion on same sex marriage is a lot less mentally taxing than having an informed take on geopolitics, economics or the principles of good government.

This is not to suggest that social and cultural issues don’t have an impact on the future of our nation, but our hyper fixation on this one issue diverts our attention from much more compelling problems that threaten our political, economic and personal well-being.

When highly charged distractions like same sex marriage are paraded before us, we need to be in the habit of asking, “What am I not supposed to be seeing here?” Wedge issues, like homosexual activism, abortion, and flag burning are wonderful tools for polarizing the American body politic into petty, squabbling factions while leaving the policymakers free to pursue their real agendas without undue scrutiny.

The tried and true strategy of divide and conquer prevents us from presenting a united front against our real enemy; an all-powerful, centralized state.

Unlike a magician whose harmless illusions are meant to entertain, the state’s calculated deceptions create real and lasting harm to our basic human rights. As commentator Ryan W. McMacken explains, “So bombs away, in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. I’m sure those toddlers deserved to be incinerated. But please come to my gay wedding on Maui! It’s important to know what’s important.”

Cultural questions regarding marriage are legitimate, but don’t necessarily require the regulation of the state to resolve. No matter how closely one parses the enumerated powers of Article I of the Constitution, there is no authority given to the federal government to regulate the institution of marriage. In fact, marriage, as a life-long commitment between members of the opposite sex, existed well before civil government did and therefore doesn’t depend solely upon the state for its legitimacy.

The state has gradually assumed control of virtually every institution in our society. No one who is looking beyond the state’s distractions would be tempted to assert that we’re a better or freer nation because of these power grabs.

email: [email protected]

twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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