Down at the goal line. Both teams tensed. The snap to the quarterback. The line and a blocking back head right. The QB sticks the ball into the belly of the back following his blocker – and pulls it out. The bootlegging quarterback strolls to his left, untouched, right into the end zone.

          Misdirection is a great tactic in football. It is also a favorite ploy by Republicans, who set up phony issues to distract voters from their goal of making the rich richer at the expense of everybody else.

          One of their most effective misdirections has been their war on governmental institutions and dedicated public servants. Sure, there is government waste – and probably as many slacker employees there as in any other large sampling. (We’ve all seen them.)

          But, the effect this has on regular folks pales compared to corporate price gouging and the corporate safety and environmental short cuts that threaten lives.

          Government agencies are designed to be equalizing forces to protect us from corporate greed. Those great Republican trust busters, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, understood that.

          Today’s Republicans serve as lapdogs to corporate predators in exchange for political donations. Very profitable to all involved.

          After about two years of reduced sales due to public caution during the early stages of this pandemic, corporations jacked up their prices to recoup their – not losses, they seldom lose – reduced earnings.

          This not only pads their bottom lines, but gives their GOP shills a rallying cry against an “inflation,” which is really gouge-flation. With enough distraction, they hope to elect more anti-consumer Republicans.

          This anti-government rhetoric reached a fever pitch recently with vitriol and threats directed at the FBI by GOPQ politicians because agents retrieved classified material from an unsecure resort owned by their insecure ex-president.

          Yes, blame the federal agents trying to secure national security documents, not the guy who absconded with them. Misdirection.

          (And what was in those empty classified folders? Who has that material now? What did it cost them?)

          As corporate cheerleaders, Republicans also practice red-scare tactics against the labor unions that offer ordinary American workers a united front against exploitation. Republicans are quiet about the ever-widening wage gap between executives and workers or the failure of wages to keep pace with the cost of living over the past 40 years.

          A major tenet of American consumerism is immediate gratification. Corporations and their GOP spokespeople have convinced too many workers that saving a regular contribution of union dues (ala an insurance premium) for immediate spending outweighs the long-term benefits of job safety, job security and a rising wage scale.

          The railroad unions are negotiating not only a steady wage increase, but also safer working conditions and better treatment – such as not being penalized for doctor’s appointments or family emergencies.

          Exorbitant executive salaries and shareholders’ profits are threatened if those who do the actual work are justly compensated.  Common Dreams reported last week that, “a handful of major rail companies reported more than $10 billion in buybacks and dividends over the first six months of 2022.”

          Corporations and their GOP mouthpieces apply the same tactics as common pickpockets to maximize corporate profits.

          Pay attention. You’ll see that while these con artists are pointing in one direction, their other hand is in your pocket.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: <> or <>.)

Misdirection, key to the con

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