I can't believe how easily distracted Americans are. I live here and work here and realize that Americans are inherently lazy and generally stupid, but even I am stunned by how easily manipulated the American public has become. For nearly six years our country has been struggling to recover from terrorist attacks. Regardless of which political camp you come from, the fact is clear that America is in trouble.
The president is suffering from a staggering lack of public support. The war in Iraq has not gone as planned and the reasons for invading Iraq have become increasingly unclear. Fuel prices are high, wages are down and national debt is spiraling out of control. Republicans running for office in November have distanced themselves from the Bush administration and many self-described conservatives have taken the very public position of declaring Bush a liberal Strong words in today's political arena, where a politician would rather be called a child molester, drug addict or even a conspirator. Anything but the "L" word.
So it would stand to reason that this November's election would revolve around fiscal responsibility, a definitive exit strategy for Iraq and a new foreign policy that would restore our country to its former position of benevolent global constable instead of maintaining our current status as self-righteous international bully.
That's not the case. This November the touchstone issue will be immigration. Somehow this issue, which has been smoldering on the back burner of partisan politics for decades, has suddenly become a hot button topic. It covers all of the meaningful bases: Jobs, budget, and national security; while it relegates both parties to their core constituencies.
In the border states, Republicans will play to hard-working white Americans who are besieged with brown-skinned people speaking a foreign language. Democrats will reach out to the immigrants and promise to work hard to make the pursuit of the American Dream a little easier. In short, both parties will play the race card.
In the working class states the Democrats will go on the offensive against the guest worker provisions in the bill rallying unions and blue collar workers to the cause of protecting American jobs and benefits. The Republicans will cater to the business owners and champion their cause of securing low cost labor that will allow businesses to remain profitably competitive. In other words it's all about the money.
Some mavericks will surely dig into the meatier issues such as the war on terror, the national debt and the heavy handed national security measures employed by the Bush administration, but they will largely be ignored by the rest of the partisan hopefuls looking for a good clean fight over a topic that both parties will happily ignore once elected. Nobody wants to make this election about something that can come back to haunt them in two years. Immigration is that shiny new toy that the kids fight over for a few hours before realizing that the box it came in is a little more interesting. By the end of November, immigration will be forgotten and everybody will go back to sparring over partisan politics while they feel out the platform for the next big election.
Isn't it ironic that in an era where this country is so bitterly divided over such critical issues, the ruling parties can find common ground and work together to continue to deceive the people? America truly is a great place.