I’ve spent one of those weekends where I’ve had limited social interaction and have been stuck at my apartment for long periods of time contemplating a whole bunch of stuff due to a cold I have named Frederick. If you don’t want to talk about fear, here is a picture of a wet Koala bear that has been photoshopped. (There is irony here, I assure you.)
As I wrote yesterday, the whole Lee Atwater documentary really has my brain working overtime. I have known his story for years, but it was a reminder about successfully promoting fear for political advancement.
This isn’t a new thing. Joseph R. McCarthy was a master of scaring the bejesus out of folks about the communist threat he promoted, ruining a whole bunch of people’s lives. Pres. Nixon did the same thing when he backed the Southern Strategy. Of course, Atwater promoted fear in wide open places and assuredly was ahead of the curve by getting mainstream media to use his talking points in such a way that reporters at the time probably didn’t even realize what they were doing.
It hasn’t changed much all though the social and media landscape has changed at an alarming speed. The Tea Party isn’t much different from movements we have seen in the past, it just has a different name and a slightly different tone. Basically, the political fear movement derives from a basic messaging system: You will lose something or those people are trying to take something away from you. You get the gist of what I’m saying here.
I’m utterly surprised the disdain that many of our elected officials and candidates have for fact checking. Why not defuse fear? Why not promote the positive solutions which have worked in this country over the last 60 years? It comes down to fear is more appetizing for voters.
Is fear addictive? Sure it is. I don’t dig rollercoasters. I don’t ride them but I love horror movies and consume them with a ferocious joy which is hard to explain. It’s controlled fear but politics is also controlled yet differently.
Political fear can be very real, there is no doubt it’s just the manufactured stuff that makes me go a bit loco. Just like the wet Koala bear link up at the top of this page, not everything is real and that is something to keep in mind why you are making your own mind up.
Is it real should always be the first question because not everything is.