Independent Investigations
A Place For Considerate Political Discourse!

Fear 101


Nothing motivates like fear.  If you don’t believe me, think about how fast you would run when confronted by a bear, or other large animal while walking down some mountain trail.  The human body does amazing things when presented with a fearful circumstance. 

Fear has a habit of causing atypical reactions in individuals.  Those who peddle fear, fully understand and depend upon the fact that fear will make people sit up and take notice, and react in ways that they would otherwise never consider.

No one group of individuals is more calculating and persistent in their use of fear to motivate individuals than the Republican Party.  Unfortunately, those who consider themselves “conservatives” have only one political party that they can align with.  As many of you know, nothing influenced my decision to leave the Republican Party more than the absolute revulsion and disdain for the tactics my party used to motivate and stimulate me to action.  While I still have fairly conservative political values, I left the party to become an Independent because I no longer found a legitimate connection between my conservative political values and their conservative behavior.  While I find that being a member of the Independent Party allows me to disassociate from morally inconsistent behavior exhibited by those in “the right’s” leadership, it places me in fairly inconsequential political position. 

The Republican Party has taken a major hit in the last two national elections.  This isn’t the time to go over the reasons for the spanking they received by the American people.  Suffice it to say that they got handed their walking papers in overwhelming fashion. 

For those in leadership roles within the Republican Party, the only question that mattered after the last election was not centered on why they lost power.  The question that mattered most is how they could get it back.  Based upon the actions and reactions of the Party of Lincoln since the last election, it has become clear that the only legitimate weapon they had a belief in was to use fear to scare the hell out of their constituents.  The problem with using fear to motivate is that  it is counterproductive because it leaves their message prone to attack by others who deal in reality.  After a while, people just get sick of it.

The debate on health care that we have experienced over the past year or so probably has no equal in our lifetime when it comes to using the “fear factor”.  What has become increasingly clear to me over this time is that solid, intelligent, well-meaning individuals can behave in ways that are totally inconsistent with their projected core-beliefs if they are made to fear something or someone.  In other words, good people act in ways that are a complete embarrassment and there is nothing you can do to persuade them otherwise.  

Fear causes reaction.  Reaction in the political world can generate political noise.  Political noise can generate confusion.  If a group cannot garner support by legitimate discourse, the only option is to operate in ways that call attention to the electorates deep-seated fears.  Republican fear-mongering over the past year has definitely stirred up the electorate.  Their electorate reacted in spades!   Certain portions of the electorate have behaved in ways that cast serious doubts on the validity of their stated conservative ideals. 

You have to look no further than this past weekend for explicit examples of how fear causes moronic behavior.  If you doubt that fear works, take a look at the following examples of behavior and come up with a different explanation.

Feel free to explain to me how a white man can call a distinguished African-American member of Congress the “n” word as he is walking in to listen to debate and cast his vote on the health care bill?  Let me suggest two possible explanations.  This fine upstanding  conservative is a racist or he is so overtaken with fear about the upcoming vote that he acts in a way that betrays his conservative values.  If fear is the issue, he has the actions of Republican leadership to blame.

Explain to me how an individual can verbally abuse a distinguished member of the House of Representatives by using vulgar terms to describe this persons sexual identity.  Go ahead, try to justify the behavior.  If you can rationalize public homophobic behavior in your own mind, check your conservative credentials.  If you can justify it, it won’t take too long for anyone to take a hard look at your heart and not find that fear has taken over.

Is there any action that can be more vile and hateful that spitting on another human being?  It happened this weekend as members of the House of Representatives were walking in to their chambers.  

The problem with fear is that once it is unleashed, there is no ability to call it back.  Fear spreads like a wildfire.  Fear consumes.  Fear demolishes.  Fear rips open old wounds.  Fear causes people to act in ways that are absolutely in opposition to their core beliefs.  Or could it be that fear brings people into the political discourse whose core beliefs are not betrayed by their obscene  behavior?

I believe that the Republican leadership made the decision to do whatever it took to explode the Presidency of Barack Obama.  When they looked at their arsenal, they realized that fear was their most effective weapon.  In fact, it was their only weapon as their ideas had been recently rejected by an overwhelming majority of the American electorate.  Never mind that they had to generate this fear by using half-truths and false statements.  It is not currently clear where they participated in “Fear 101” courses as they learned how to lead.  It is totally clear that they learned it well and that on many levels it worked for them.

Unfortunately, in the end, their tactics didn’t result in a victory for them with regard to health care reform.  But they do get the credit that comes with the knowledge that their tactics stirred up the darker side of human nature in the process.   Just what we need in the political arena…the dark side of human nature.

In my next post I will be looking at some of the most controversial statements emanating from the right during the health care debate and how these statements fit perfectly into the “Fear 101” course description.

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4 Responses to “Fear 101”

  1. I wonder if the Republicans deal exclusively in fear because that is how they see the world. See, to take a risk or to try to change the future requires you to have hope and believe that you can make a positive outcome. Perhaps the Republicans deal only in fear because that is how they have come to view the world, their lives, their future.

    • I honestly believe that they deal in fear because they are fully aware of its’ effectiveness. However, I agree with your premise that it may very well be related to how they view the world. I am not sure that there is any simple explanation for political behavior. Thank you for commenting. Feel free to visit the blog now and then. Your comments are always welcome.

  2. Excellent discourse on what we have been witnessing from the right. This is a disturbing period in our history. Happily, the health reform bill passed; however, the ugliness and fear remain and that is indeed disturbing.


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