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The Politics of Fear

April 30, 2008

A reasonable case can be made that many Americans, including voters at the booths, feel overwhelmed, shell-shocked and mystified by the past that stands out in recent memory. The Bush Administration has sold war and now that the nation wearies of war, the Democrats have stepped up to promise a change from the status quo; a change for the better.

“Terrorism is a tactic. You can’t have a war against a tactic. It’s deliberately vague, non-definable in order to justify and permit perpetual war: anywhere and under any circumstances. Rarely is the cause of liberty…the driving force,” stated impassioned Ron Paul as he spoke to the U.S. House some time ago. Americans have grown accustomed to the idea of an unseen constant threat and quietly fear the threat of encroachment on their lives or the fear of terrorism at their front door.

Democrats, Independents and others want to believe in an alternative for the policies of the Bush administration.

Nowhere is the politics of fear seen more than in the campaign of Hillary Clinton. She paints herself as an underdog and scapegoat; much like she sees the people of America. There is a bad guy behind every corner and she alone has the solution because she understands. Scores of her admirers believe the rhetoric. After an onslaught of campaign politics in the Democratic primary, once again the press is giving her credit for gaining ground as she speaks to the directly to fears of the people, gaining some ground as she resonates with their fear and insecurity. The flagging economy and her fighting attitude provide an alternate means of hope through polarity when hope through unity seems to fade. Her open display of the fighting American endears many of her adherents because they have lost the zest and ability to fight in their own lives. Other young followers see her as the strength that they have, but are unable to express in the political world. As a result, Hillary Clinton has managed to cling to her popularity despite her checkered past and questionable politics. Hillary is afraid of losing her political battle. In the eyes of many, her tactics are no worse than the tactics of the new promised Republican regime, what is often seen as more of the same. By many, her temperament is seen as her strength.

It would also seem that Barack Obama has given in to fear as he further distances himself from his pastor of twenty years. He has sought to engender inclusiveness and unity wherever possible and has been rewarded with a betrayal of sorts because of his desire to take the high road. One thing that America has learned about Barack Obama is that he thinks things through, does not jump to conclusions and does not work to make a hasty solution. He advocates swift military action against terrorists. He realizes the importance of strengthening homeland security which has never been completed. In his view, special interests have prohibited properly securing the nation and its principal targets. He believes that the United States’ most important task is to gain the trust of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. In his view, when the U.S. shows real concern for others, they will respond in kind. This would help to defuse any real threat to America in his view. Those that give up their security for freedom will end up with neither. Good solutions, careful leadership, compassion and a firm hand are what Washington D.C. needs.

John McCain hasn’t created his own dynamic personality beyond the war hero mentality. He is an effective collaborator when the United States needs a leader with new blood and vision. He is part of old guard politics that hasn’t seen much change or doesn’t promote the promise of improvement in America. He hasn’t defined himself as his own man. Some Americans are comfortable with McCain’s “sameness”. To many Americans his compassion and generally mild demeanor are his strengths. He will be supported by many Americans that have continued to do well despite the beleaguered economy.

Both McCain and Clinton advocate continued war: McCain in Iraq and Clinton as needed to protect interests in the Middle East. Speaking to situations that don’t exist doesn’t count for much because they aren’t real. Sounding off on vague proposals that sound good and pretend to make plenty of specifics doesn’t work either. The president that holds office needs to able to unify Congress and the people to effect change. The people need to back up their desire for change with their voting finger. The problem that most Americans face is one of distraction in a time when distraction are rampant.

The human race can’t avoid fear for long. What a person does with fear counts for a lot. Who can turn fear into intelligence, courage and empowerment instead paranoia, folly, and cowardice? Who is the best communicator? Americans are fearful while longing for security and stability. Because of the economy, security and stability are part of a larger political question mark. American citizens are looking at survival and comfort over civil liberties and freedom. A candidate that proves to be concerned for American civil liberties and rights is just as important. The fear of survival viewpoint along with the idea of voting for a lesser evil places the nation in a dangerous position. The politics of fear is in the mind. The candidate that looks the most promising in this regard will win the election.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. forright68 permalink
    April 30, 2008 11:41 am

    Hillary is ready to say anything to win. Her Bosnia lies, her experience are examples of her lies. Just the fact that she is appealing to the less educated and senior citizens shows that she is not able to fool America. For the good of the Democratic Party, she should resign and let the leader lead. She is no Bill Clinton. What is truly painful for me is that I am losing respect for Bill Clinton in the process.

  2. bonkers82441 permalink
    April 30, 2008 11:40 am

    Yep. People that don’t give up want to be called “fighters”. But, sadly, some of them are instead known as “obsessive compulsive ***holes”. Although, I guess, adding more millions to your millions (oh, wait.. helping the babies, right.. she’s in this to help the babies!) is a good reason to be president.

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