by Bob Bearden
Franklin Roosevelt said in his first inaugural speech,”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Fear and hate have become an integral part of today’s politics, not only political discourse but as a factor and method to gain votes or at least ensure that a particular voting segment or bloc votes the way a candidate desires them to.
Fear, charges the spread of hate and fear and hate breeds bigotry and racism. All of these have become powerful tools for candidates, their handlers and supporters to gain votes among the electorate. We have been inundated with the ‘Politics of Fear’!
We live in our gated communities because we fear what is out there on the streets. But, gated communities cannot hide us from our fears, nor from neighbors who hate. Just because we think we are keeping out the riffraff doesn’t mean that we are protected from the politics of fear and hate. Down the street from where we live lurks seemingly sane and ordinary people who look normal and ordinarily act normal, that is until politics arrives upon the scene. It is then that sane and rational take on an as the old tobacco commercial rationalized ‘a whole other smoke’!
We live in an age when pundits and newscasters can say almost anything they want to say without fear of challenge or without the brakes of requiring what they say to be truthful or factual. Facts today are what anyone who has a ‘bully pulpit’ on TV or radio say they are. Facts and truth cannot be challenged as they once could, because the ‘fairness doctrine’ has long since been struck down.
So candidates and anyone who supports them in the media are free to say anything and need not fear any real challenge because what passes as free press is often beholden to owners who are pushing a particular candidate’s agenda from behind the scenes. And now with large donations of cash via the 5 Supreme’s onerous ruling in ‘Citizens United’ being able to refute lies, half-truths and vile and onerous screeds has become almost impossible.
How do we fight back against this ‘sea of troubles’ unleashed upon ourselves and our nation by a misguided group of mostly ‘old white guys’, whose day is fast fading, but who are not going quietly into that good night? How can we stop the flood of cash that is being expended towards their goal of controlling our minds, thoughts and actions?
We have to come up off the couch, pull our ears out from our ipods, iphones, blackberries. Pull ourselves away from the myriad of distractions offered to us like American Idol; Survivor, Dancing With The Stars and quit caring about what time Paris Hilton and JLo go to bed and with whom and start caring about saving our nation and its citizens one of which are each of us.
We need to quit listening to those who preach hate, fear and avarice and start returning to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth Jesus Christ. Their lives and their teachings offer hope, compassion, love and peace to the world and to us. We can make a difference if we can just begin to wean ourselves from the many distractions that have been foisted upon us in an effort to feed us to the lions of greed and fear.
Roosevelt was straight on when he uttered those words nearly 80 years ago. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself! It is time we learned the lesson he taught our nation and its people during the ‘Great Depression’! That the fear of fear is a cancer that eats away at our lives and that if we want to make a difference in this world we need to start driving out our fear of fear and begin to uphold the principles of our founders as written in the Constitution.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”