Fear

From the time the second plane flew into The Tower on 9/11….America has been a nation gripped and ruled by fear. Fear that has been amplified, played on, exploited and GREATLY embellished by the Bush Administration. Not a rational, healthy fear, but a deep visceral mostly unreasoned fear. The type of fear that is a window into our national character, that has stripped away the veneer of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave, a beacon of human rights, a benevolent Superpower…..and exposed our dark underbelly. Exposed us not as a nation based on ideals, based on a Constitution….based on being the cowboy in the white hat. It has shown us to be a fearful, paranoid, and easily misled people. A people capable of making horrendous mistakes…and then trying to deny them, cover them up, to pretend that we are still the good guys. To preserve an almost delusionally positive American self-image ….that we have instead, while cowering in shamelessly exaggerated fear… allowed the worst of us to throw onto the trash heap.

This blatant campaign of fear, this campaign of Domestic Terror, has elevated and exposed the worst of us, the worst of our press, the worst of our politicians, the worst of our military, the worst of our corporatocracy, the worst of our xenophobia. It has shown a glaring light on nearly all that is wrong with America. From the grand scale of a willingness to invade a country based on lies and rumors just to ease our fears, to our willingness to torture merely to “send a message,” to a willingnesses to profit from the deaths of others….all the way down to revealing the gullibility and lack of critical thinking of the average American when confronted by fear….fear deliberately engineered to reach to the deepest part of the brain and the belly.

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From the lies that led us to war to the lie of the color coded terror alert system to the lies that continue today, such as being told we need to be spied upon by our government to keep us safe…America has been submitted to an organized campaign of propaganda. And in response, America has submitted and accustomed itself to living in fear.

Nearly seven years ago we were attacked. Attacked by a small band of suicidal men from a small organization whose aim it was to terrorize America. Thanks to the predatory political nature, the greed, and the outright lust for power of Bushco….they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Those who would control us through our fears, who would cultivate and exacerbate and heighten our paranoia and our xenophobia have also succeeded, on must think, beyond their wildest dreams as well. They have held America in the thrall of the fear of the dark-skinned other, the fear of being called “anti-patriotic” and the fear of retribution from th most rabid ad jingoistic of their followers

Has America started to throw off this mantle of fear?

There are signs and portents, there are gut feelings…..there is hope.

My hopes for Obama do not extend much beyond his ending the worst of the fear.

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Anything else is a bonus. But as I have said, things have gotten so bad under Bush that merely stopping the slide and reversing the mindset of unreasoning fear that has been imposed upon America for seven years will be tantamount to a minor Revolution. If the America people can throw off the mantle of fear, not respond to the same old fears that McCain will try his best to evoke and foster….and replace that with even a small portion of “Yes we can,” that will be a true Revolution.

This would be…WILL be…America choosing a different future, choosing a new kind of world, choosing a different reality.  A reality that Obama has been smart enough and lucky enough to tap into. Obama, as he himself says, is not the answer, WE are.

The question is, after seven years of cowering in a cave, how do we emerge back into the sunlight….and what will we choose to do when we get there?

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  1. Photobucket

    • Valtin on June 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    In his own liberal mind, Obama believes he represents change, and it probably doesn’t go farther than reducing the kind of fear-mongering you cite. He wants to empower people, but he doesn’t seem to advocate the kind of far-reaching structural change that is necessary. I do fear that he underestimates the entrenched position of those in power, and they certainly fear, not him, but the hopes that can be raised by millions by him, which, if not meant, will mean great trouble for the power elite that runs this country.

    Bush and the GOP, with the snivelling connivance of the house opposition Democrats, have practically destroyed this country. The economy is sinking into a second great Depression. Their only answer is war and more war.

    I wish I could live to see the major changes that are needed, but as you said, if I live to see an end to the irrational insanity of the leadership, and some turning away from the destructive path they are following, then I will have some hope for my own children and the future of the coming generations.

  2. talked about in his speech yesterday that I didn’t write about but keeps resonating in my head.

    He talked about the very real possibility of “stagflation” (rising inflation combined with lowering income) being what might await an Obama presidency…just exactly what hit Jimmy Carter and let to Raygun.

    Van’s proposal was that we develop a “Green New Deal” complete with jobs to implement it. Of course, that would require us getting out of Iraq immediately in order to focus on it and pay for it.

    But I like it as a vision.  

    • WSComn on June 9, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    And what a wasted life that would be.

    But it won’t be my life.

    In 2005 my older brother, a college educated, intelligent man, sent me a panic email containing an old David Horowitz fear monger production.  He felt he had to alert all around him to the continued threat we face.  I’d seen it before, knew it to be full of half truths and such and was able to point these out to him in my email reply.  I also gently admonished him on his silliness with buying into such tripe.

    His reply to me?  He stated in no uncertain terms that the only way out of the mess we have found ourselves in (not “the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into”) was to drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran.  Yep.  That’s how we secure our precious and ‘free’ way of life.  That’s how we solve all our problems.  We drop a bomb on a city in the Middle East and kill 12 million people.  WTF…they’re all heathens, anyway.

    This is the way NeoCon Christians think.  This is their solution to our problems.  Isolation and long-range death-dealing with a heavy hand.  They are sick.  Their minds have been self-twisted.  And unlike the majority of us in the US, they are truly afraid all of the time.  They are afraid of the boogey-man.  They are fearful of the boogey-man who is brown.  They are in the minority, and have always been so.  But they are in power and they are drunk with that power.  They will do anything to keep it.

    And who will they be terrified of (or imagine they are terrorized by) after they destroy all the brown boogey-men?  You?  Me?  Yellow people?  People who live close to the equator?  (Sometimes it seems to take the smallest indicator or label to galvanize a movement.)

    Seems funny now, but this is how fascism starts…with little steps.  With little actions:  Small freedoms taken from us.  With little thoughts of imagined comfort and denial:  It can’t happen here.

    Yes it can.

    Am I afraid?

    Yes, I am.

    I’m afraid of Bush’s 3rd term becoming a reality.  I’m afraid of losing my country to the minority madmen.  I’m afraid I’ll be forced into leaving my country in order to preserve the freedoms of my family and myself.

    Bush’s Third Term.

    Now that’s something to be afraid of.  That’s something worth fighting against.

    The return of our country safe and whole will be a long and hard fought road.  But walk and fight along that road we must, if we want to succeed, not only for ourselves, but for our children and their children, as well.

    I will not hide my head and live a wasted, fearful life.  If I chose to do that, the NeoCons would have already won.

    Excellent essay.  Keep ’em coming.

  3. “Tank Man” standing in front of those tanks in Tiananmen Square was likely scared beyond belief and yet, facing near certain death, he stood up for what he believed in.

    “I quote others to better express myself.”

    -Michel Eyguem De Montaigne

    “To suffering there is a limit; to fearing, none.”

    -Francis Bacon, Sr.

    “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”

    -Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

    “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

    -Ambrose Redmoon

    “The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage.”

    -Thucydides

    “You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”

    -Eric Hoffer

    Action vanquishes fear.  To fear less, do more.

  4. Richard A. Clarke… His does seem to be the one who ‘really

    gets it’.  Reality, not fear.  Or, fear where warranted not

    fabricated fear.

    The other critical issue is staffing in DC… Wayyy too many

    incompetent people are in low level but vital positions.  It’s

    long past time for decisions to be made on FACT, not spun bullshit.

    I’ve been saying for a long time…. we really need

    to be able to hit the ground running come Jan. 20th.  And we really, really need to be prepared for what the real evil doers have

    planned for us.  They will not go gently into that good night…

    • robodd on June 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Doesn’t it seem like every day we have to put up with the Bush administration is one more day we are living in the past?  They are so over.

    Anyway, Krugman says much the same thing you do today in the NYT:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06

  5. is the candidate who does not offer me fear, be or fear of other fear of the right. Fear is a is a bad way to vote, a bad way to live. thanks Budhy, once again you have engaged my higher self. The trill I feel is that enough people rejected the negative to push trough a candidate who offers hope. Much more believable then ‘policy’ or demographics of hate.  

  6. but here’s my two cents:

    On 9/11/01 I was running errands for my then-boss when I went to the hardware store and the owner told me a plane just hit the world trade center.

    I thought he was joking.  He wasn’t.  Stayed long enough to hear a bit on the radio, then ran to the bar I was buying supplies for and basically yelled “turn on the news!”

    It was a scary day.  Went back to the boss, who told me to order a shot, and as the bar filled up with refugees from downtown, as well as workers from Midtown whose buildings had closed (it was a very fearful day), we watched as the Twin Towers came crashing down.

    BUT:  We lived through it.  After a couple of months, the sounds of sirens returned to normal.  (I admit, for the first couple of weeks, every time I heard a siren I got scared again.)  But: we returned to normal quickly.

    Are NYers more stoic than other Americans?  Maybe.  But I think–*I* think–that the rest of the country, those who were not attacked, remained more fearful than anybody who was in NY on that day. I think that’s why chimpy was able to scare people (except in NY) into voting for him in 2004.

    My question is:  why were people in places like Duluth (I pick on Duluth only because I’ve never been there) more frightened than the people who were actually attacked?

    Apologies for such a long comment.

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