As I’ve watched the convention these past few days it’s blatantly obvious from what playbook the Republican party is playing. In fact, one needs only to read the slogan “Keep America Safe” to understand that they are feeding the fearful wolf within, supported by soundbites from one former President saying that he is ‘worried he’ll be the last Republican President’.
Here’s the thing about fear. Feeling secure is an important component to a productive life. We can’t operate well or to our full potential if we feel un-safe and are afraid. Therefore, engaging fear is a powerful tool for political leaders. A population that feels threatened will re-act with the instinctual ‘fight or flight’ frame of mind and is purposefully robbed of the ability to take a step back for introspection and reason in the process. The result is mayhem: If I can conjure up a sense of fear and dread in you, and promise to ‘take care of it’, then you will follow me into whatever cavernous dead end I lead, even to the undoing of your nation’s constitution.
There’s a kind of mad genius to the fear playbook invoked in the convention surrounding Islam and immigrants because it draws our attention away from what we really have to fear, what absolutely will restrict our freedom and ability to pursue happiness: corporate takeover.
As Jane Mayer credibly and thoroughly points out in her newly released work “Dark Money“, the very wealthy elite have spent decades behind closed doors manipulating our nation for the sake of themselves and they’ve used the GOP for their purposes like a surgeon wielding a scalpel: precisely yet liberally. Through the guise of benevolent ‘Foundations’ our oligarchy have infused our political and educational institutions with religious vigor and claimed that ‘free market economy’ is the golden standard. This particular version of a “free market economy” is merely a euphemism, however. The underlying pretense is more along the narrative of, “let us corporations do what we want without any government interference so that we can fix interest rates, create boom/bust economies, and groom foreign exchange rates for profit.” It also includes a mandate to keep governments from regulating so that corporations are “free”to pollute, “free” to allow unsafe work conditions, and “free” to release unsafe products for us as consumers.
This is what we need to be concerned about. This is where we need to focus. This is where we should listen to our instincts and sniff out the exact and most real threat: the loss of our democracy forever to an oligarchy that is poised and ready for takeover. It knows it, and it’s engaging fear as a means to muddy our thinking and cloud our reason. May we, for our nation’s sake, find the wherewithal to suspend the false fear and choose wisely.