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June 2, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The fog of fear got thicker

American Politics

The real strategy of right-wing politicians

Newt Gingrich:

“Let me just say, I think people should be afraid. I think the lesson of 1993—the first time they bombed the World Trade Center—was: Fear is probably appropriate. I think the lesson of Khobar Towers—where American service men were killed in Saudi Arabia—was: Fear is probably appropriate. I think the lesson of the two embassy bombings in East Africa was: Fear is probably appropriate. I think the lesson of the Cole being bombed in Yemen was: Fear is probably appropriate.

“I’ll tell you, if you aren’t a little bit afraid after 9/11 and 3100 Americans killed inside the United States by an effort, if you aren’t worried about the second-wave attack that was designed to take out the biggest building in Los Angeles, I think that you are out of touch with reality.”

Host David Gregory:

“But, Speaker Gingrich, you make the point about how Vice President Cheney felt—personally, personal fear. And isn’t President Obama’s argument that fear as a basis of national security policy is not sustainable over time? How do you come up with a sustainable legal framework, a sustainable national security policy? Don’t we elect leaders to transcend fear for lasting policy?”

I was listening to NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ over the radio (‘cause I’m one of those people, see). Newt Gingrich, Republican mouthpiece and former Speaker of the House, was debating Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) over the politics of national security. As you’ve just read above, Newt spilled the beans and admitted—in not so many words—we govern by fear.

Afraid. Fear. Kill. Attack. Bomb. 9/11. Fear works. Fear sells. We’ve used it repeatedly. We instill fear; we weave it into all our political issues and stances. We’re the Fear Party; we’ve been the Fear Party for a long time. Fear. Be afraid.
Fear has permeated American society. It influences our political decision making process. It dictates how and when we’ll surrender our rights. It justifies our bigotry. It’s our biggest crutch and our biggest detriment.

Who should we be afraid of?

You should be afraid of the other… of course. You should fear what you don’t know or understand. Be afraid of the vagina—it’s strange, she’s a witch, she’s a baby-killer. Be afraid of the black man—he’s big, he’ll take your women, he’s violent. Be afraid of the gays—they’re freaks, they’ll raise freak children, they’ll corrupt our moral society. Be afraid of terrorists—they have funny sounding names and that crazy religion, they attacked us, they constantly want to kill you, there’s one under every bed. Be afraid. They’ll all take your children to a satanic black mass—with real black people and drugs.

Why should we fear?
‘Cause we exploit your fear for political reasons to enrich ourselves. We had to make you afraid so you’d give up your liberties voluntarily. We waited for a time of utter chaos and utter tragedy. We told you to fear the terrorist. We told you to be patriotic and go shopping. Then we made you afraid of every common object that you could imagine. Remember model airplanes and pens, poison pen-guns, ferries, exploding cows? The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud. Unmanned aerial vehicles could come here and spray you. Shopping malls are scary dangerous places every year at Christmas. But go shopping; don’t mind the terrorists. Hell, we sure don’t.

We use fear to win multi-million-dollar defence contracts. We knew you’d never allow this new defence industry we own. We knew we’d need some catastrophic and catalysing event––like a new Pearl Harbor. We wrote about it in ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century’. We wanted a wartime President. We knew you’d be less uppity that way.

Should we keep being afraid?

Yes, do. Vote against equal protection under law for an entire class of people because you fear them, or don’t understand them, or don’t know them. Don’t forget to fear God. Fear not going to heaven. Fear the notion that if you can’t get them to believe like you, you’re not going to heaven. Remember how your whole life is organised around fear. We have to keep you divided, see.

In closing, people are afraid of somebody or something all the time now. It has to stop. It’s led us down a really bad road. We’ve had eight years of fear and division. Take a look at who’s telling you to be afraid—telling you that if you’re not afraid, something is wrong with you. They are the right wing of America politics. They’re the ‘traditional values’ people. They’re the ‘law and order’ people. They’re the people who just lost power.

Fear is not sustainable. We must transcend fear. We must stop dividing. We need to orient ourselves. We have a lot to fix.


About the Author ()

Andrew Mendes is an American studying International Relations and Public Policy at Victoria. He enjoys following politics and reading lots of news.

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