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McCain/Palin: Let Them Eat Fear

October 11, 2008

Much of American is experiencing the latest in government fear frenzy.

national confidence?

national confidence?

The ease with which the Republican candidates for president and vice president sow the seeds of fear among their followers is startling. The current fear frenzy is showing signs of being genuinely dangerous but because of the intense callousness of the tactic, horrible responses can be anticipated. As many among us want for basic comforts during this brutal economic winter, we are being instructed by the McCain campaign to be warmed by the fires of hate. This alone must be our comfort.

Recent history has shown us that fear mongering can be an effective diversion when presidential politics and geopolitical affairs can be combined to frighten the American public. This was the basis for going to war in Iraq. Although the monster Sadam Hussein is now gone and there were no weapons of mass destruction to be secured, many Americans feared the worst as they had been instructed to do. Americans feared the threat that was placed before them by their presidential and congressional leadership and they were appropriately rewarded for their lack of vision.

examining the war front

examining the war front

Americans buried their sons and daughters because they were told this was price to pay for securing our nation. They watched their tax dollars squandered to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars. This war of mock freedom and safety became one of the cornerstones of the economic disaster that has America reeling in an economic storm. The stakes were much higher than we had been told and the worst possible result was realized. What is worse, it was our national fear of the unknown threat that blinded us to the sad truth behind the political rhetoric.

We have seen this movie before. But this time the mock threat is an American: a candidate for President of the United States. This time we are being told that Senator Barack Obama is the new threat. It is being suggested that he is un-American and possibly tied to bad people. It is being suggested that he is a Muslim and a terrorist sympathizer. It is being suggested that he has unsavory motives in seeking the presidency of the United States and that we should beware of this stranger with no past who has appeared within our midst.

leading in public opinion

leading in public opinion

As Election Day approaches it is interesting to watch the reaction of everyday Americans. As pleased as I am to see indicators of a clear lead in the polls by Senator Obama, I am also somewhat disappointed that it may be somewhat colored by the current economic crisis. Clearly the opposition believes that they cannot focus on the economy without further damaging their chances at winning this contest. As such, the tactic of fear mongering is somewhat of a last chance and worst case strategy of desperation.

There remain two things that frustrate me. One, I would have loved to seen what the outcome of this contest might have been had such a crisis of epic proportions failed to appear, so drastically influencing the voting decision of so many hardworking Americans. I would have loved to have known what a calm and clear eyed America would have done at the polls in selecting our next President. Second, I am very curious to know how much of America really has figured out the tactic of employing a fear frenzy. Americans armed with the dismal experience of eight years of a dishonest and manipulative Republican president and vice president are no longer trusting and listening.

After all is said and done, the current administration has masterfully frightened the citizens of this nation into swallowing many bitter experiences. They have drained the nation of countless assets while we groaned in painful frustration and fear. What they never anticipated was that America would one day awaken. America is shaken and angry with no further confidence in their version of truth and no further trust in their guidance. This is what the McCain campaign fails to realize. Much of America is not afraid and many in America are not listening.

lack of oversight

lack of oversight

As Wall Street continues to reel, the economic crisis has spread around the globe. As usual, Americans are intensely focused on their vision of comfort while salvaging some measure of economic security for the future. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to give themselves a greater advantage in righting their individual worlds and resting with a possibility of electing a president who in some way may be able and willing to seek areas of relief.

Americans seek someone who might at least acknowledge and engage in dialog about the citizen’s dilemma, their current state of confusion and angst. What is more, many Americans are appalled by the fact that given the situation, another candidate for President might take a chance on being detached from the current reality of problems. Senator McCain and his campaign might find it politically beneficial to openly use the worn out tactic of fear as a personal instrument in this contest.

Without question, many in the Republican base do fall victim to the fear tactics. Even so,  that base of panic should be well secured. Even the most staunch Republican strategists and pundits understand that those who reside in the political middle, the independent swing vote, is the block that will secure the presidency. The swing voters are focused on the issues. They will not be swayed by emotion. This is the challenge that most Americans understand and acknowledge. This is why Senator Obama is now substantially leading in the polls and may well win this contest going away.

cooking up more fear frenzy

cooking up more fear frenzy

If any American should take time to truly consider that which is frightening they would be well served to consider what it is that Senator McCain and Governor Palin are doing. They are ignoring our concerns and interests at the most critical time in our lifetimes. They are doing so in the most insulting and base terms. They are seeking to tell us horror stories of imaginary anti-American terrorists while citizens across the economic horizon are seeing their fortunes lost and further threatened.  They are fear mongering in frenzied messages that highlight the frighteningly callous, egocentric and reckless dismissal of the welfare of America and her citizens. They are exposing the dark side of Presidential politics that are seldom so clearly seen. And on those rare occasions when they do present solutions they are veiled roadmaps for political and private sector graft that would send programs like health care, social security and Medicare into the safekeeping of their cronies. At a time like this is in unimaginable that any American would subscribe to such lunacy.

on the edge

on the edge

The economic avalanche that is causing destruction across the Republican political landscape will cause sweeping change and it may well cause the Republican Party to rethink its platform going into the future. America is becoming more centrist if not more liberal. People are not willing or even able to waste time on petty differences when we know that the strength of the collective American spirit is the source of solutions. This is a time when many of the American people are no longer listening to or blindly following our political leadership. America is in distress, listening for signs of help approaching from out of the darkness.

The McCain campaign has been exposed as the instrument of disaster that it is. While they grapple for new hollow promises to expand their shrinking base, they continue to feed them a steady diet of fear to keep them pacified in their anger.

Sadly, in our global media existence, all of America and the world are watching.

L. A. Walker, © Leon A. Walker

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