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It’s that time of year again. The days are shorter and nights are cooler. The aspens are slowly turning golden and Aquarius is rising in the seventh house (well actually, it’s rising in the south). Store aisles are filled with cheap waxy candies and carved pumpkins glow on windowsills. As October’s end creeps ever closer like a mutant troll, we see more and more instances of scary things that go bump in the night (and whack in the day).
Very scary indeed. Weary citizens come home to find their favorite TV shows preempted, their answering machines filled with messages and their mail boxes stuffed with frightening literature. Newspapers are speckled with slanderous ads and radio commentators debate important issues such as employment opportunities in slaughter houses, cow flatulence, bridges to nowhere and the devastating economic impact incurred by increasing manufacturing costs of acne cream.
Yeah, you got it. Election day is almost here and politicians have chopped down that beautiful old tree in your front yard so that they can stump their speeches and fill your ears with promises of lower taxes, better education, national security and more affordable acne cream. They are selling words of comfort and hope, but the price is high. Very high. They want your vote.
Something for something was the usual tactic to sway your decision. Vote for me and I’ll set you free! A mule and 20 acres! Two cars in every garage and free instructions on how a gentleman should offer a lady a Tiparillo. But the lyrics of those songs have changed. No one is buying solutions anymore (and do they even still make Tiparillos?).
Instead, political pundits are now stocking the shelves with the hottest item on the market.
Fear. Fear of Muslims. Fear of Mexicans. Fear of death squads targeting your grandma. Yes, you can get fear in any size and flavor you want. Protect our shores from hostile aliens bent on destroying our way of life! Stem the tide of dangerous hordes of illegal immigrants stealing our jobs in the slaughter houses! Build walls and bombs and send out the drones! (What ever happened to sending out the clowns?)
Fear is all natural and calorie free and you can get as much as you want (and certainly more than you can stomach). Wrong wing conservatives (emphasis on the “con”) and teabag wags offering wholesale fear, warning us of evil jihad lovers stalking our streets at night who will take away our liberty and freedom and apple pie. Life without apple pie? Oh no, Mister Bill! You’ve got my vote!
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. It is equally true that those who understand the past are empowered to repeat it. Hitler understood this and used fear to control people. My favorite quote from that sociopath is, “How fortunate for rulers that people do not think.”
He nailed it though, didn’t he? Thinking is the last thing politicians want people to do and fortunately for the powers that want to be, thinking is not in fashion these days.
But fear mongering is the easiest way to get elected. Fear here! Get your fear here! Vote for me and stop the flood of dangerous Canadian drugs threatening pharmaceutical profits! Vote for me and protect your second amendment right to own grenade launchers. Vote for me and we’ll send all those drug crazed murderous illegal aliens back to Nicaragua (excluding your gardener and nanny of course!).
It’s easy to criticize this technique, but one can’t argue success.
Regressive candidates are water-boarding public reason by singing mantras of “bringing liberty and justice back to our citizens” and promising to “fight for what’s right” to the background tune of primal fear.
Meanwhile, they’re investing heavily in brick and mortar stocks.
Yes, we do in fact have something to truly fear. These mouthpieces could win and gain real power.
Now that’s a scary thought indeed. So let’s see now. That’s a double fear with cheese, hold the truth, and an extra large drink of carbonated lies. And would you like fries with that?