In America’s National Anthem, the last line in the refrain claims this country is the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” but it does not apply to a large segment of the population suffocated by irrational fear robbing them of their freedom. There are millions of brave Americans whose courage makes them truly free, but only because they have not played into the hands of cowardly Republicans who are terrified voters will notice their gross incompetence. No American is free when fear causes a change in their brain function and behavior, particularly when it induces cognitive paralysis, but that is precisely what is occurring in America. One often wonders why and when Americans became so terrified of so many innocuous things such as who someone loves, how they worship, where they came from, when a woman gives birth, the government, foreign religious wars, or an African virus; all things Republicans use to incite irrational fear and hatred for other Americans.
Republicans certainly understand that the ignorance plaguing this nation allows them to fear-monger to great effect; particularly going into an important midterm election. Of course, the latest irrational fright is the death of one man from the African Ebola virus that Republicans have used to spread anxiety about a “deadly epidemic” and implicate President Obama for endangering Americans. Republicans have had a great measure of success portraying Ebola as clear proof the Obama Administration cannot prevent Americans from succumbing to the alleged Ebola epidemic. In fact, as noted in the New York Times earlier this month, Republicans parlayed the death of one man and infection of two nurses into a campaign theme that because of Obama and Democrats, conditions in America are “decidedly grim” and that “the Democratic Party runs a government so fundamentally broken it cannot offer its people the most basic protection from harm.”
Republicans have also spread fear among the population of immigrant children from Central America they claim are an existential threat to every white man, woman, and child in America. Since when have so many Americans been so terrified of children? Likely since Republicans claim they are infected with diseases like Ebola, or trained by ISIS to kill every white Christian man, woman, and child to destroy America for Islam. In fact, why are so many Americans so horrified of Islamic extremists waging a sectarian religious war on the other side of the world to establish an Islamic caliphate? It is simply because Republicans have convinced many Americans, mostly evangelical extremists, that Muslims from halfway around the world are intent on forcing them to convert to Islam or they will exterminate every Christian in America; precisely what evangelicals want to inflict on Muslims living halfway around the world.
There is no mystery about why Republicans are spreading fear; they desperately need to distract Americans’ attention away from their gross incompetence. Particularly because every so-called threat is due to either their obstructionism or anti-government policies; such as slashing NIH funding over the past ten years that prevented development of an Ebola vaccine that could have stopped the virus in its tracks in West Africa. They are also responsible for the rise of ISIS because Bush-Republicans invaded Iraq and assisted Shia Muslims to purge the country of Sunnis that became the dreaded ISIS. Republicans are also solely responsible for the Bush law that drove the influx of child immigrants from Central America who suddenly became an existential threat because an African American man is President.
There are millions of Americans who have a legitimate reason to be frightened, but it is not from ISIS, Ebola, or children emigrating from Central America and they are all due to Republican policies and obstructionism. Every day innocent Americans are shot dead due to the number of guns Republicans want in Americans’ hands to satisfy the NRA and repay gun manufacturers for their campaign donations. When President Obama and Democrats attempted to protect Americans, particularly after twenty innocent children were massacred, Republicans used fear of “Obama coming for Americans’ guns” to block simple and sane gun safety measures. Still, despite the spate of mass shootings claiming innocent lives since the Sandy Hook slaughter, something every American should be terrified of happening again, Republican fear-mongering prevails and innocent Americans perish.
Every American should be scared to death that their water and air is being poisoned by Republicans’ donors in the chemical, coal, and oil industries, as well as the GOP’s attempt to eliminate the one government agency attempting to protect them from environmental toxins. In California, several cities are either on the verge of being out of drinking water, or suffer from fracking-poisoned wells. All the while Republicans campaigning for Congress are fear-mongering that their water woes are due to environmental protections, and unbelievably they are succeeding because irrational fear of “environmental extremists” supersedes their fear of being poisoned or being without life-sustaining water.
The list of legitimate fears Republicans are responsible for, and never call attention to, are numerous and yet Americans never go into panic mode because the conservative corporate media focuses intently on whatever fright of the day Republicans need to keep Americans distracted. It is incredibly pathetic that such a large segment of the population seems to relish living in fear; fear of gays, women’s reproductive health, non-Christians, a Muslim sectarian war, Central American children, and an African virus that killed one man because a corporate hospital failed its mission.
The real epidemic in America, and there are many, is fear and it is driven by Republicans taking advantage of the overwhelming ignorance of an overwhelming number of Americans too stupid to understand the real threat to their existence is Republicans. The sad fact is that they are so distracted by irrational fear, they will dutifully vote for Republicans and hasten their own demise; something the Ebola virus, ISIS, or child immigrants can never achieve. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said 81 years ago, the only thing Americans have to fear is fear itself, and with the level of fear in the population today, Americans should be very afraid.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.