Simple-minded or intentionally distracting?

The NC GOP garners more embarassing national attention:

Whom did you people elect? The people with the brightest bulbs for a nose? The people with the biggest, floppiest shoes? Does every member of the Republican majority in your legislature all arrive at work every morning in the same tiny car?

The writer references three pieces of legislation in this story; the cursive writing bill, the nutty religious freedom resolution, and the effort to punish parents for allowing their college-student children to vote. Only one of those has a chance to seriously impact our rights and, in doing so, it could contribute to even more outrages down the road. Which one is it? Here's a clue:

Empirical analysis has shown that college students are less likely to vote if they use the absentee balloting process than if they do so in person, and black students are even less likely to take advantage of the absentee process than their white counterparts.

Voting is an exercise in collective action; citizens in general, not just young ones, are less likely to vote if it is turned into an individual pursuit. Matters between you and your neighbors or classmates are more likely to be taken seriously than matters between you and your P.O. box. In other words, your P.O. box won’t judge you if you don’t honor your social commitments by not voting.

Regardless, the issue here isn’t why college students don’t vote absentee, it’s that Republicans know they don’t, and are using that fact to stop college kids from voting all together since they don’t vote for enough Republicans. The GOP is crafting legislation intended to stop college kids from voting, lest they vote more Democratic than Republican.

I had a conversation the other day where a friend asked me, "How do you decide what to write about when you blog?"

My answer was more enlightening for me than it was for her. I explained how it used to be difficult to pin down something interesting enough to write about on a daily basis, but these days it's the opposite. There's too much. Republicans in the General Assembly and DAG McCrory's ever-expanding comedy troupe he calls an administration are simply impossible to keep up with, even if I didn't have a demanding (real) job to keep me busy. So I sort of skim over the top of stories that are trending, and snag the ones that really stand out. But that's not good, because I have a feeling I'm doing exactly what the GOP propagandists want.

Now I'm going to throw a little military terminology in here, but don't yawn and wander off. That's what they want you to do. :) There is such a thing called countermeasures, which is basically an effort to "fool" airborne or seaborne weapons by deploying various devices that confuse targeting systems. "Chaff" is one of those, and yes, it was originally derived from the wheat thing. As in, it's hard for targeting mechanisms to differentiate the wheat from the chaff.

Whether these seemingly crazy policy efforts are products of genuine ineptness or intentional misdirection by the GOP, it really doesn't matter. The result is the same. We get distracted, and maybe miss the more important things. I'm guilty of it, and so are others who post here regularly. And when we miss really important stuff, as we inevitably do, that's when normally passive readers need to step up. I could go into a spiel about crowdsourcing and the dynamics of accelerated information transfer and such, but that too would be a distraction.

My point is, if James or I or other front-pagers fail to report on something, don't assume we've decided it doesn't need reporting. It might just be more important than anything we've called attention to that day, and missing it hurts all of us.

Comments

It's Breathtaking, Really...

it is almost a full-time job to keep up with the extremist loons in the NC General Assembly. Every time you think that they have gone beyond the edge of the envelope, they fool you (e.g., with something like the latest "establishment of a state religion" bill from Crazy Carl Ford and his loonies).

It would be funny if it weren't so sad. One must wonder how these people can abide themselves.