Flattering Flim-Flammers of Fear

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The two most common motivators used in politics are flattery and fear. The behavior of the pundits and pols, in the wake of the 2012 elections, is especially instructive. We are being told, either plainly or by insinuation, that those who voted the way our professional manipulators desired are the good people, the smart and responsible people, the grownups. And that those who didn’t vote their way are parasites out to suck our blood, or just plain nasties who hate us and are bent on our destruction.

If this isn’t true, and it isn’t, what does it tell us about the character of those who promote themselves and their agenda by telling us such things? We keep hearing that character matters. Is that true? If so, are people who use tactics like those the best ones to entrust with power and authority?

The GOP is moving — with lightning speed — toward more accommodating policies toward women, Hispanics, and gays. Am I somewhat cynical about this sudden conversion? Of course I am. But I can’t help being amused by the reaction it’s getting from the Democrats’ paid drones. “Don’t believe your lying ears,” they’re shrieking.

The hysteria with which we’re being warned that Republicans are insincere and opportunistic is actually quite funny. How are the Dems to scare us anymore if the GOP refuses to cooperate by being scary? Don’t the Republicans know how unfair they’re being by changing the rules of the game?

Flattery and fear are the tools of lazy communicators. They are smoke and mirrors, calculated to keep us from thinking deeply about the issues that affect us. Those who use them hope we won’t notice that they really have nothing more to offer us. They think we’re stupid little children, upon whom such dirty tricks may easily be played. But if people fall for those tricks, time after time, where are the alleged communicators to get the idea that it’s wrong to use them?

A friend of mine is very relieved that Mitt Romney lost the presidential election. Now, he assures me, “they” won’t be murdering gays in the streets. But who on earth is telling him such balderdash? I want to know so I can point and laugh — and so I won’t ever make the mistake of voting for such flim-flammers, or of even taking seriously anything they have to say.

This is the same friend who went into meltdown mode the first time he spotted the “Gary Johnson 2012” sticker in my front window. “Oh, my God,” he gasped. “You can’t possibly vote for him!” When I asked why not, he wouldn’t tell me. Though I can be sure he probably heard of the horrors of a Gary Johnson presidency from the same sages who told him that President Romney’s legions would be hunting gays down and clubbing us like baby seals.

What the impressionable masses are hearing is so insane that I’m not sure even they quite believe it. Which is why, when I ask where they’re getting this stuff, they appear to be too embarrassed to tell me. The result of all this flattery and fearmongering is that we are becoming a vain and fearful people. That many Americans can’t even listen to political discourse, anymore, without being unctuously buttered up or frightened out of their wits does not bode well for the survival of our freedoms.

We’re beginning to believe that our lives must be run by those who tell us we’re perfect, or at least the surviving remnant of human goodness in civilization, and that they — and only they — will protect us from all the evil forces out to end our world. It’s like living in a comic book. Those of us who retain a healthy skepticism about such hoopla must not only think, but encourage others to do the same. Pointing and laughing at the puppeteers is constructive. Pointing and laughing at the misguided souls who dance at the end of their strings is not.




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Comments

Bob Straub

Unless one votes with complete ignorance or indifference, I don't think that there's ever a wasted vote. In a similar fashion to Lori's knowing at whom to point and laugh, if you don't vote for whom you really want, how will your opinion ever register with anyone?

Fred Mangels

The only time in the over the last 20 years I struggled a bit with voting for the Libertarian Party candidate for president was during the Bush vs. Gore race. At first glance, Dubya seemed like a pretty good candidate to me. Do I waste my vote on the LP candidate, or vote for this seemingly decent guy that actually had a chance to win?

I was hearing a lot of generic, partisan anti- Bush stuff from the usual circles, among them the gal who delivered our mail. We'd exchanged a few comments on the politics with hers being mostly generic negatives against Bush: "You certainly don't want him to win...".

I couldn't understand her strong dislike of someone who seemed like a pretty decent guy. One day I finally asked her, "So what is it you hate about George Bush so much?". That took her by surprise and she got that deer in the headlights look, obviously never having been asked the question before.

She replied, "I don't know. I guess I don't like those beady little eyes of his". Now that was some hard- hitting analysis of a presidential candidate.

I ended up voting, again, for the Libertarian candidate.

Fred Mora

"Murdered in the street"? Like Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch homosexual politician murdered -- in the street! -- by a Leftist?

Your friend has it wrong. It's not the Republicans that are dangerous. The danger arises from his own liberal clan.

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