Mixing Crises 8/7/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Lately there seems to have been a dramatic uptick of posts on my social media page of child trafficking. This might be just a few of my friends, but I’m guessing that it’s far more widespread than this. It started with the debunked “Wayfair” and “Pizzagate” scandals, both linked at least to right wing conspiracy theorist bloggers, and if I’m recalling correctly, with ties to Russian interference efforts in the 2016 Presidential election. The most recent memes seem to no longer espouse these stories and have even dropped the names that accompanied the original posts of high profile political and entertainment names that, somehow, always seemed to be lacking right wing and Republican individuals.

When I would point out the conspiratorial theory background of these stories, my friends would invariable “dig in”. They will hit me with the “well, yeah, buts…”, and the “I don’t care about the details but…” One of the buts is that it is a real issue that is a concern to them.

Yes, it’s a real issue. Trust me, in my previous job it’s something that I was just way too close to for comfort. Whether or not it’s “real”, whether or not it’s a legitimate and serious concern, is not the point. I agree, it’s very real and it’s very much a concert. But what bothers me is how for three years I haven’t heard a peep about this very real and very legitimate concern.

A friend of mine suggested that she’s tired of people pitting issues against each other. We have so many very real, very heartbreaking, and very legitimate crises going on. The economy and unemployment do seem to be recovering, but there are legitimate signs that this recovery won’t last and unemployment support from the government has stalled. We have almost five million cases of infected with Covid-19 and well over one hundred and fifty thousand deaths to date, which, by the way, represents over one and a half percent of our population as we are facing reopening of schools in the next couple of weeks. We have had children separated from their parents at the border by US representatives for three years now, but, somehow, we don’t hear about that issue anymore. We have federal agents invading US cities with military style tactics and gear with the premise of squelching protests that are largely peaceful except for agitators with their own agenda, agitators that are so few in numbers that local police can handle them. So, with so many new crises currently burning, why the sudden surgence of a crisis that has, frankly, been actively burning for as long as there have been children?

In my humble opinion, it’s just a diversionary tactic. People are highly critical of the president and his party, which has held a majority in the Senate for many years, and their response to the Coronavirus, the unemployment situation, the economy, the immigrant problem, the handling of protests, and the pressure on schools to reopen as well as many more issues. But how can we possibly be angry at the president for child trafficking because of how long it has been occurring?

Diversionary tactics extend beyond the president. The Black Lives Matter protests have been minimized by having people exclaim “All Lives Matter.” It’s funny that you don’t hear “All Lives Matter” when there are “Blue Lives Matter” movements. Gay Rights has been diverted, unfortunately successfully, by the movement of business owners’ rights and religious rights. I have to admit, I find it interesting that not too long ago people were advocating for bakers to deny service based on sexual orientation, but now being denied service for refusing to wear a mask, which is to protect the health of others, is a civil rights travesty. Why do I get the feeling these two groups are largely the same people?

The reality is that these topics are all very real, they are all very serious, and none should be minimized, especially for political gain. In 2016, the child trafficking conspiracy theorists tried to make ties to Hilary and other prominent liberal and democratic figures. Recently I’ve been hearing polls asking who people trust more to deal with child trafficking, Trump or Biden. Oddly enough, this question often leans Trump despite the fact that after nearly four years in office, Trump has done nothing about this problem and, in fact, has added to it if you include immigrant children as I do. The reality is that Biden will probably not be able to get much done either, but as we focus on the question of child trafficking, these other modern and very addressable issues kind of fade into the background. So, my advice is not to take your eye off of child trafficking, but don’t let it distract you from more modern issues. We’re in very bad shape today because of modern problems. If you believe that the president handled these situations well, then you should vote your conscious. If not, vote him out, but avoid voting to keep him in office because you were distracted.

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