Friday, May 27, 2005

Fear this!

I've been intending to write a post about fear. It seems like everywhere I turn, I see people being manipulated, motivated or otherwise driven by fear. Whether it's car ads selling the latest roadside repair service and mapping technologies or Christian conservatives selling the latest spiritual bromide, much of what passes as advertising and political discourse in this country revolves around fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear of the other, fear of pretty much everything. That's what I see.

Of course, I have to ask myself whether I've bought into this culture, too. I keep a knife under my bed and a gun in my closet. Does that make me afraid? Do I expand that unspoken desire to make my home a safe haven into every aspect of my life? Do I make my decisions, practice my politics and guide my life by fear?

I'm inclined to conclude that, on the whole, I do not. (Duh. What would be the point of this post?) I like inclusionary politics, I appreciate diversity of culture and race, I even enjoy the intellectual ferment that arises from the clash of conservative and liberal principles. I may be afraid of some things, but I don't think it dominates my life. Moreover, I think there are a lot of people like me in this country. The question is, where are they? I can't answer that, but I can say unequivocally, "Not in the Republican Party." And that, my friends, is what my post on fear would have been about had I written it: how the Republican Party embraces, manipulates, and uses fear to gain and hold power.

The necessity of writing such a post has now been obviated. The inimitable has done a far better job than I could ever do on telling us exactly how and why Republicans became Shining Path Conservatives.