Stoking the fires of fear.

I will be have been called a whole series of, shall we say, unflattering things when I say it (not nearly so well), but I believe this to be absolutely true:

I think the Town Hall meetings imbroglio going on across the country now have ripped open a scab in the body politic: It may be that most of the country has moved on, and is willing to accept a Black President, and gay marriage, but there is a Resistant Core that is terrified because their world is getting turned upside down.

During the Bush years, the Republicans stoked the fires of fear about National Security, teaching us to fear each other and Watch Out for “terrorists,” most of whom were expected to have brown skin and speak Middle Eastern languages.

Now that Bush is no longer in office, and we have a non-White President who campaigned on a platform of change, Republicans are stoking the fires of fear because circumstances have forced President Obama to tackle ten problems at once, each one knee-capped by the Bush administration. But the cumulative effect is to raise the prospect of wholesale change, upsetting the Status Quo and threatening the Domestic Security of the people who identified with the previous ruling class.

So the 25 percenters who still support Bush and Cheney are whipped into a paroxysm of fear for their National and Domestic Security, and the Town Hall meetings give them a platform to express all their fears.

The words are those of Bob Schacht and were written as a comment on this post. He goes on to say that it will be a “miracle” if Barack Obama gets out of the Presidency alive; while I’m not ready to go there because that would mean the end of everything I once believed this country stood for, I’m damned close.

Sadly enough, this is true as well:

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America’s flora. Only now, it’s being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest. Latest word is that the enlightened and mild provision in the draft legislation to help elderly people who want living wills — the one hysterics turned into the “death panel” canard — is losing favor, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of “complaints over the provision.”

Good thing our leaders weren’t so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill — because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites.

the entire article from which that last is taken is worth your while. Just click the link. And I’d recommend Charles P. Pierce’s Idiot America, which I just finished reading, for a more far-reaching argument of the central point, the enduring history of crazy in America.


4 Replies to “Stoking the fires of fear.”

  1. What we are seeing is, I think, a natural consequence of the balkanization of information, a process which is getting worse with every passing day. While something has been gained with the proliferation of instant news sources, something has been lost as well. Now that we all get our news only from the places we choose, we also get it only with the spin that we choose…which means, invariably, the spin that reinforces our own existing opinions (and I don’t discount my own fairly liberal stance from this effect).

    So, if you only get your information from places that tell you that Obama is a socialist, that his health-care plan includes “death panels”, and that the world is a dangerous place with terrorists in every dark corner, what else can you be expected to believe?

  2. Jack, I think I wrote you a note via e-mail a couple months ago at least now. Sadly, I wrote in it that I think, like Bob Schact, that Barack has a very good chance of not living to see the end of his first (or possibly second) term. Why? The crazy factor is getting worse and worse.

    Now that people are actively bringing weapons to rallies and events that he is at, it is only so long before a “seemed like a nice enough guy” with no previous record will take a whack at him. I pray not, but there are getting to be just too damned many nuts out there.

  3. Carl, I think someone is going to at least take a crack at him, and I’m hoping the secret service is up to the task, as I’m not too happy about the things that I’m afraid might happen if Mr. Obama is killed in office. But the signs aren’t good with all the “kill ‘im” at McCain rallies at the end of the election cycle and the mad dash to buy guns and bullets by the impressionable who think Obama is the anti-christ sent to take away their gawd-given guns. The only heartening thing is that it’s probably only about 15-25% of the public that’s involved. Of course that’s also the scariest (that there are that many)…

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