The Republican Party’s macho bluster and apparently endless appetite for war makes it seem counter-intuitive to think of them as cowards. And yet, seven years into the Bush regime, it is clear that the GOP has become dependent on fear to keep itself in power — and to support this addiction the party leadership has converted its rank and file members into America’s first generation of bona fide yellow-bellied chickens.
That's for damn sure! They project their own fear onto us and hope it sticks.
"Protect me, protect me," we are told the people cry out to the government.
Yes, there was shock and horror on that day, and for months afterwards, thanks to anthrax missives flying all over the mail system. By the way, is anyone ever going to find the anthrax mailer? Does anyone care? It did help pass the Patriot Act, that's for sure, and it was only sent to Democrats and so-called "liberal media". What the hell does Al Qaeda have against the Democratic leadership of the Senate and House let alone media outlets, no matter their political persuasion? Does any of this make any sense at all?
After the GOP took over the government in 2000 and ran all three branches for six years, the truth about the conservative movement was finally revealed. After years of unctuous claims that they were for family values and lower spending and against corruption, Republicans demonstrated that the exact opposite is true. They were caught engaging in a wide range of sleazy activities, both personal and financial, and Bush and the GOP Congress ran the Treasury into the ground, racking up more debt than all the presidents since Washington, combined. Now, with that record fresh in voters’ minds, all they have left to run on is the politics of fear.
Gotta put in my 2 cents worth here: Take over is the right word, if one wants to be polite. Junta seems more appropriate to us. The Bush administration is an illegitimate administration. They have never won a national election that I know of and, yet, they have managed to ruin this country. We have lost our credibility and respect around the globe, we are witting or unwitting war criminals, we are, therefore, less safe both at home and abroad. We have committed the "mother of all war crimes," a war of choice made by the Bush government while lying out their asses to American citizens and to the world. They have accomplished a long held Republican dream; bankrupting the treasury of the U.S.A., so that no social programs can be afforded; the poor, the elderly and the children of working class poor can all go to hell, because who needs them? They are not productive, which seem to be the only real reason for capitalistic America, no matter what trash we are producing and for what reason, if any.
We have certainly seen their definition of "family values and lower spending." I've, frankly, never seen such sleaze and corruption, shocking personal and professional behavior. They make Dick Nixon look like a choirboy
Nearly every day, a subtle or not-so-subtle message of fear — about terrorists, Muslems, Iran, whatever works — is transmitted from the bully pulpit of the White House press room podium out to the public via the seemingly unwitting mainstream media, Fox News and right-wing talk radio. The government’s fear propaganda is mostly just noise in the background to normal people, but rank and file conservatives gobble it up like ravenous dogs.
9/11 Did Not “Change Everything”
The Republican culture of fear was born out of the 9/11 attacks — which we are told “changed everything” because there was an “attack on America.” But when the World Trade Center was bombed in February 1993 by right-wing Islamic terrorists very like the ones who would take the towers down eight years years later, no one suggested that our response to this “attack on America” should be invading and occupying Iraq.
The Goopers and their fear-mongering go much further back than that: McCarthy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I.
9/11 changed very little in my world. The way the Bushites decided to handle it changed a lot. Clinton may be many things, including a sex addict, but he wasn't an oil man. The invasion of Iraq had been being planned for years.. Afghanistan was just an irritating detour, which is now a total mess. Where is Osama? Where is Mullah Omar, Zawahiri and others? Who cares? Certainly not Bush and Cheney.
The Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta July 1996 was an “attack on America” — albeit by an American rightwing Christian fundamentalist terrorist. But no one suggested that we should eavesdrop on Americans and torture prisoners as a result.
The Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, this time by another group of homegrown right-wing, religiously insane terrorists, was certainly an “attack on America” — in particular on a federal building and specifically targeting agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. No one suggested shredding the Constitution as a result.
This reminds me of the difference between how strangers and intimates are treated by the law, after they commit an act of violence against someone. The stranger gets the book thrown at at him, while the husband or boyfriend gets a slap on the wrist. I can't speak for most people, but I must say that I would consider the crime much worse when committed by someone with whom I live and trust. Homes are supposed to be safe; the streets...not so much.
For most of the century after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, a right wing, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant terrorist group, attacked and killed Americans with guns, bombs and nooses. But during the first nine decades or so of this unrelenting reign of terror, hardly anyone seemed to mind very much, except of course for those who were the targets of the hatred and violence.
Around the globe, millions of people endure terror attacks without cowering under their beds. The Israelis have lived with terrorism since at least the 1970s — as have the Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis and others in the Middle East. The British stood stalwart against attacks by Irish separatists for generations. In just the past decade, terrorists have attacked in Colombia, Russia, China, Egypt, Mexico, Cuba, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan, Latvia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Chechnya, Spain, Finland and on and on.
Only in the Bush era has it become acceptable for Americans to cower in fear at the same threat that others in the world face with courage or at least equanimity. Among democracies, only does the United States government deliberately encourage and inflame cowardice among its citizens.
(Not to mention encouraging the terrorist themselves: Bring 'em on)
The Soviets’ A-Bombs - Now That Was Scary
Up until about 20 years ago, Americans bravely shouldered on every day in the shadow of a much greater national threat than Islamic terrorists will ever pose. Here’s how Gen. Wesley Clark described it on Bill Maher’s HBO show last Friday:
This nation lived for 40 years under the threat of a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. Six thousand nuclear warheads [aimed at] every American city — would have destroyed … life in America.
Osama bin Ladin and these people — they’re crazy and they’re nuts. Maybe they want to kill Americans but they are not an existential threat to America. And they are no reason for Americans to give up their freedom and their liberty.
Other than fear so intense it has shut down rational thought — which can be described as cowardice — what could explain the Republicans’ willingness to be duped by Bush’s lies in the run-up to war: that Saddam, the secularist who was on Al Qaeda’s kill list, was part of the 9/11 conspiracy; that he had nuclear capabilities; that he might load drones onto ships and launch them at the U.S. off the Atlantic coast?
(The Goopers weren't the only ones who were duped, it appears. The only man or woman of courage was Russ Feingold. He did not vote for the resolution which gave monkey boy a blank check)
Other than having their brains dulled by terror, what could cause so many Americans to take at face value Bush’s facile construct that “we have to fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here?” It should be abundantly obvious that nothing about our being in Iraq prevents terrorists from coming here. They have maps. They can get plane tickets. They can cross the border on foot. And they can do this while American occupation forces are strapped down in Iraq, dodging bullets in a sectarian civil war between opposing followers of Muslim leaders who died 14 centuries ago.
The whole thing would be laughable if the price in American blood and treasure was not so steep.
Normal People Put Their Fears in Perspective
Those of us who live in areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, blizzards and floods find ways to cope with fear. Our mantra, in so many words, is “be prepared and hope for the best.”
Most of us don’t consider this rationalization of risk to be “bravery” — and, to be sure, our day-to-day moxie is nothing compared with the courage required of troops facing IEDs and insurgents’ bombs in Iraq or cops dodging bullets in American streets.
But, really, our sort of courage is no harder to come by than the courage it took to get up every day and go about life knowing that on this day, like every day, the Russians could could launch the bombs that would blow us into oblivion.
This mildest form of bravery — the ability to put exposure to risk in perspective and go about life in peace and contentment — is what every American, even Republicans, must learn to muster if, gods forbid, terrorism continues to be a part of life in the States.
Unfortunately, because of the policies and actions of George W. Bush — enabled and supported by his fear-addled supporters — the likelihood that terrorism will remain a fact of life in America is greater now than it would have been if Bush had not been president on September 11, 2001.
Amen, Say It Again!
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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.