Saturday, November 10, 2007

Democratic Response to the Fear-mongering GOP

Peter Michaelson: Democratic Candidates Can Play a Fear Card, Too

One or more of the Democratic candidates for president have to challenge the American people, and perhaps even chastise us, about our fear. We have allowed the George Bush Bandwagon to pound on our fears like punk rockers at a brass and percussion concert. Shame on us! The music is horrible, but still they are allowed to play on!

Frankly, I find it almost impossible to believe that American are actually as afraid as they are told they are. I'm American and have never been known for my outstanding courage, yet I can say that I have not had one fearful day since 9/11; not one. I had unsettling moments, but none of them had much at all to do with Osama bin Laden. The thought of anthrax flying around through the mail was unsettling for me. Every time John Ashcroft opened his mouth was an occasion for a shudder to two. I admit that it is quite unsettling to have a president and vice president who seem as psychotic as Betsy bugs and a congress that doesn't seem to realize that at all. It is never encouraging to have a government that seems totally out of touch with reality. Maybe I'm just a backwards kind of person, but when I find that someone is trying to terrorize me, it only makes me mad as hell.

Dennis Kucinich said recently that "Fear is not a basis to run a government in a democracy." Yes, indeed. And it's also true that too much fear among the people will ruin the beats and rhythms of democracy.

Adrenalin is stupid juice, that's for sure.

Of course, fear is often rational and justified. But it can be irrational as well. It's a large component of a child's experience, and it lingers to various degrees in our psyche when we become adults. We project this unresolved fear into our surroundings and we believe that what we see in the world justifies it.

This is true, but it doesn't have to be. Once we realize that projection of the past into the future is what we are doing, we can consciously change that mental behavior.

What could leading Democrats tell us about the politics of fear? It thwarts the growth of democracy. Democracy is not a static condition. It either grows or it falls back into more primitive forms of governance. For our democracy to grow, we have to rise to the required level of citizenship. We'll probably have to take risks and move through our fears. If we cower in a corner looking to our military to feel safe, we'll create a power vacuum at the heart of democracy. Malevolent individuals will rush in to fill positions of authority. The military is devouring our wealth and our emotional independence. The more we spend on the military, the more we rely on it. This dependence on it to solve our problems in the world only makes us more fearful.

"I'm not going to ask you to become fearless," a Democratic leader might say. "After all, we do live in a nuclear age, an age of global warming, an age of terrorism, and economic uncertainty. But I'm asking you to be as brave as you know how. That's not asking too much. That's what your country needs from you. That's what you need from yourself. It's simply unbecoming of us to be afraid of terrorists. We're much better than that. Yes, we have to protect ourselves from them. We have to find them and destroy them. But we can't afford to live in fear of them."

I wish someone would conduct a major poll in order to find out if Americans are really afraid or if they just assume they are afraid because the news media keeps telling us that we are or ought to be.

What other points could Democratic leaders touch on? They could acknowledge that change does produce fear. It's like moving across the country. You find a job in a different state, sell your home where you grew up, and move everything you own down the ribbon of the highway. A new adventure like this can be exciting but also scary, and there are no guarantees of safety or security. Changing our country's course is also a new adventure. We do it because we believe in ourselves. We believe in our destiny. We believe in America.

Tell us the truth. We need change. We need a leader who will make peace in the world, and we need leaders who will maintain it. Making war is easy and any fool can start one. Unnecessary war is a consequence of fearfulness and stupidity, while making peace requires humility, courage, and brainpower. We have to talk to people who are our enemies or potential enemies. Let's be willing to hear and consider how they see the world, how they view their neighbors, and how they regard us.

How very true. Peace takes strength, courage, authenticity and a unity consciousness. Any damn fool can start a war.

Diplomacy is the art of establishing trusting relationships. Aggressive personal diplomacy is very effective when practiced by honorable people. Here in our country, friends, family members, and married couples have to talk, negotiate, and hear each other out if they are going to grow into deeper affection, trust, and love. We don't make friends in our communities by making threats to each other or delivering ultimatums. Nations have to negotiate, too. That's how we will create peace. Otherwise, we won't have the resources and the spirit to tackle the enormous environmental and economic problems we are facing.

We, the people of earth, don't stand a chance without each other. Until we understand that clearly, we have no hope of surviving very much longer.

There is nothing more important for us now than to reestablish the faith of the world in our excellence, our steadfastness, our good sense. We also have to reaffirm our own courage. The music mustn't die. Let this be a time for our greatness to reach its crescendo.

Rather, it is time for us to realize that America's standing in the world has been sliding on the downside for years. It did not begin with Junior and Dick. This administration has, however, has made it clear to just about everybody, with the exception of some of our countrymen and women who have been brainwashed to the point of no return...a place of unreality and delusional belief systems..

My generation will probably not live to see the restoration of integrity and honor to our beloved country. It will take generations to undo what the Bush administration has done.

Firstly, the American empire must collapse, hopefully brought down by Americans. Empire, no matter how wonderful and wise it sees itself is inherently evil. Empire and Democratic Republic cannot co-exist. We must choose between the two. Empires are horrible to those they rob, pillage, rape and burn. Empires are far too expensive for those who live in the belly of the beast; not only in terms of treasure and blood, but in terms of our very souls.

Secondly , we must bring the guilty to justice. If we do not, we will never be trusted again, not even by ourselves.


Peter Michaelson is author of Democracy's Little Self-Help Book and The Phantom of the Psyche: Freeing Ourselves from Inner Passivity. He is a practicing psychotherapist and offers telephone sessions and specializes in marriage and partnership conflict resolution. PDF files of his books are available at

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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