Dirge time

The politics of fear has won another battle: those who fear the immigrant who speaks with an accent; those who fear that government will force them to do things they don’t want to do; those who are afraid of the power of women; those who are afraid of gay people; those who are afraid of people of another color than themselves; those who are afraid of the poor and those who are afraid of the rich; those who are afraid of the bigger world out there filled with different countries and different cultures; those who are afraid of intelligence and the ability to think. All of these people have won another battle. And once again, it’s time for America to be afraid and to start worrying.

Recently, Massachusetts replaced Teddy Kennedy with a Republican senator, Scott Brown, a man who drives around in a pickup truck, calling himself an everyman. Joe the plumber is back and has won! I don’t believe that Scott Brown drives a pickup truck because he needs it for his business. I don’t believe he drives a pickup truck because that is all he can afford. The decision to be seen driving a pickup truck is a decision to create an image; an image of an average, powerless, good ol’ guy just like all the other ordinary little people. It’s a decision as crass and methodical as any ad campaign designed to sell MacDonald’s’ hamburgers. According to the New York Times, this is a man who said “he supports waterboarding as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects, opposes a federal cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions and opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country.” If an American condones torture how can we demand any other country to live up to a higher standard, if we don’t work to improve our atmosphere how will we be able to look our children in the eyes when we leave them with a world who’s environment has ceased to support them, and it’s a good thing my grandmother, born in Poland, isn’t coming here now instead of in 1920, because now, she wouldn’t be allowed to stay and live here.

I don’t know why Martha Coakley didn’t win. Maybe she just wasn’t charismatic enough, didn’t have that “it” factor, maybe she flubbed when she spoke, maybe she and the other Democrats just got side-swiped because they were just too confident and took for granted that she would win without really trying. In the end it doesn’t really matter to anyone other than strategists.

Now we have Scott Brown, who says he wants “No more closed-door meetings or back room deals by an out of touch party leadership. No more hiding costs, concealing taxes, collaborating with special interests, and leaving more trillions in debt for our children to pay.” That’s exactly what we had with the previous administration with Cheney leading the way. Mr. Brown wants “an across the board tax cut for individuals and businesses that will create jobs and stimulate the economy.” We got a chance during the last administration to see how well that worked out. Rich people got tax breaks that they put in their pockets and nothing trickled down to the little people who needed their pickup trucks for their livelihoods. And by the end of it all, we ended up with the biggest budget deficit in US history and the worst economic situation since the great depression.

Mr. Brown raises the specter of higher taxes, of the inability to make our own decisions regarding our health, and of the threat of terrorists all around us. He reminds us to be afraid.
Instilling fear in a populace doesn’t help people to live a better life, it doesn’t help them to find work, and it doesn’t help them to get an education. Instilling fear in a populace does nothing more than give power to people who want power for themselves. And I’m sure Mr. Brown is really glad to have that power.

Yes, it’s time for America to start worrying.

While the state of Massachusetts already has near-universal health coverage, thanks to a law passed when Mitt Romney, a Republican, was governor, most states do not. So if you live in Massachusetts then you might be OK but if you live in a state like New Jersey or New York and you lose your job and also your company health insurance policy you better hope that your family stays healthy, that your kid doesn’t develop some sort of cataclysmic illness that without health care could cause you to go bankrupt and lose your house.

And get ready to worry about all those banks filling their pockets with the big bucks they earn at our cost. And don’t forget the huge obscene bonuses they get that won’t be taxed more than the average Joe. Why, they might even get a tax reduction!

And let’s not forget that the Supreme Court just allowed corporations to buy their way into the political arena. The Republicans like Big Business and the free market. And now they will be free to buy elections. But that’s OK because we will still be free to choose which hamburger we want to eat. What’s in the hamburger is another matter. Because Big Business can buy the FDA too.

So ring the bells but hum a dirge, the politics of fear is celebrating.


2 Responses to “Dirge time”

  • Carolyn Says:

    Essentially, you’re right, Hilarie, but people here are so vulnerable to personality it’s a huge phenomenon. (see Sarah Palin) I was reading reports that Scott Brown is a hot new star in DC. And this is someone of no substance, but he has an easy style. And lots of money behind him, you can believe. If the Dems in Congress had been more assertive, I think we would not be in this position.

  • Nancy Henningsen Says:

    Right on Hilarie…you would think you still lived in NYC or DC…fear is rampant..as is The Tea Party, this conservative faction of polit activitiest in the Rep Party…we all have to fight back with the politics of inclusion and fact-finding…good to hear from you…I’m emailing you Carolyn Jackson’s latest blog..don’t know if you are on her list..is the comment from MY Carolyn?????
    Greetings from all your friends whom I saw recently in NYC..Susan, Carmen Harper, Anne Larsen..and of course Alex Sandy and the kids…

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