The Politics Of Fear: A Moment With Bill Reflection
The Boogie Man Cometh
Name two things that every human being on this planet will react strongly to….take your time, I’ll wait.
I’m willing to bet that every single one of you said pain or fear as one of your answers if not both.
Hit me in the face and I promise you I will react. If I put my hand down on the stove burner when it is on, I promise you a reaction, one that will be heard for miles.
Similarly, tell me that I am going to lose my home and fear is a natural reaction. Tell me that the economy will get worse, that extremists will be carrying out acts of terror in my city or that certain groups of people threaten my lifestyle and yes, I will show fear.
I know this to be true. You know it to be true. Corporations know it to be true, the media knows it to be true and yes, our government knows it to be true.
And if you don’t believe that fear is used against us, you are living in some other place and time than the United States in 2013….and I’m also willing to bet the same can be said for those living in the UK, and South Africa, and France, Greece and any other country you care to mention.
How Do We Play on Their Insecurities?
Read that subheading again. It is a question that is asked in corporation boardrooms across America, and it is a question that is asked in strategy planning sessions in the Halls of Congress.
And how does that make you feel?
For this writer, there was a time when it made me mad as hell. Now I have come to realize that anger gets me nowhere in the grand scheme of things. I find it much more useful now to raise awareness and help others to see the truth about this country.
I saw an ad the other day for a new credit card offer. The ad explained that the corporation understood how stressful the holidays were for the average American, and they wanted to relieve some of that stress by offering me zero interest for twelve months on all purchases. How unbelievably considerate of them to worry so about my stress level; how kind of them to give me the chance to fall deeper into debt through their generous offer; how very typical of them to play on my emotions so that they can add to their bottom line of profit.
We just finished another round of “how can I scare you the most” as Congress ended the latest financial shutdown crisis. Every single time a politician had a microphone in front of them, they were quick to tell us how the “other side” was harming us, and how we could avert certain financial crisis on a personal level if we would only listen to reason.
Am I the only one tired of this blatant attack on my intelligence?
Some sobering thoughts
Fear Is All Around Us
Can you see it?
Can you see the coal miner in West Virginia who feels like his livelihood is being stripped away? He is untrained, uneducated and without his trade he is unemployable. Yes, he is afraid.
Can you see the single mother of three who works two part-time jobs just to put food on her table? She knows she is one paycheck away from homelessness. Yes, she is afraid.
Can you see the mid-level management worker as he hears that his company is outsourcing jobs to China? All that he has worked for is hanging by a thread, and his family’s welfare is hanging with it. Yes, he is afraid.
Can you see the factory worker in Detroit who knows….he just knows….that a year from now his job will not exist, and he will join hundreds of thousands of Detroit citizens at the welfare office? Yes, he is afraid.
Can you see the millions of minimum wage employees who wonder what will happen if they have a prolonged illness? They are staring poverty square in the face and yes my friends, they are afraid.
Can you see the millions of high school students with average grades heading off to college, knowing that chances are there will not be opportunities waiting for them after graduation? What will be waiting for them, however, is tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. Yes, they are afraid.
Can you see it?
In the Absence of Reason
Quite simply, in situations like those listed above, in the absence of reason people will grasp at any straw in hopes that their lives will improve. That straw may be promises from elected officials. That straw may be extraordinary claims from corporations. And yes, that straw may be the finger of blame pointed squarely at another elected official, or another company, or heaven forbid, it might be pointed at your neighbor or friend.
Fear is a remarkable weapon. If applied with enough force and emotional turmoil, fear can make an intelligent human being strike out blindly. If applied with enough force and emotional turmoil, fear can toss aside logic, shred common sense and obliterate decency. It can take normally compassionate and empathetic human beings and transform them into mean-mouthed, mean-spirited and mean-intentioned shadows of their former selves.
And your government is counting on it happening….and corporations are counting on it happening…and they are growing rich as it happens.
There Is Only One Solution
And that is, quite simply, to stop falling for the b.s. and stop relinquishing your power to the fear that has a stranglehold on you.
The first step, then, is to know the enemy.
The enemy is not the immigrants. The enemy is not the Democrats. The enemy is not the Republicans or the Blacks or the Hispanics or the unemployed. The enemy is not the rich or the poor or the uneducated or even the Tea Party.
No my friends, the enemy, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt pointed out, is fear itself…..fear, and those who would use that fear to make you act in an unreasonable and inhumane manner.
Here, then, is the kicker. Here is the bitter pill that is oh so hard to swallow.
We only have ourselves to blame, so stop blaming others.
Our rights could not be taken away from us without our complicity.
Our economic opportunities could not be taken away from us without our complacency and apathy.
It Is Time for Change
And yes, the change begins with us.
Stop voting by party lines and start voting for qualified candidates who will actually work to improve the economy and your share of the economy.
Become involved in your community. I am convinced that real change happens at the local level. That is where we eat and work and breathe, and that is where meaningful change can happen ONLY if you become a part of the process.
Stop playing the economic game that is rigged against you. 70% of our economy is based on consumer goods, and a very small handful of fat cats are controlling it all. They would have very little to control if we refused to play the game. Stop buying on credit. Stop buying from foreign corporations. Buy locally. Support local businesses that actually employ your fellow countrymen and women. Demand fair treatment in the workplace. Organize efforts to help all workers rather than the chosen few. A few years ago I wondered why more employees didn’t rise up and demand more and then it hit me: they were afraid of losing their jobs if they spoke out. Welcome to the year 2013.
Move towards self-sufficiency. Grow your own. Save energy. Conserve and protect.
Above all else, quit the in-fighting. The government and the corporations are counting on us to figuratively eat our young. Take the fight where it should be taken, to the politicians and the marketplace.
It is not too late but the clock is ticking. We can continue to be sheeple and pray that we are not the next lambs to slaughter, or we can take positive steps that will lead to change.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Raising awareness one person at a time.”