Monday, January 23, 2006


Spier: Stop Being a Nation of Cowards

by William Spier

Why have Americans become such cowards? Saturday’s NYT had an article about Karl Rove and the tactics he and other Republican operatives will employ to keep really bad Americans in congressional office after November, 2006. If you guessed that the tactics will be SCARE TACTICS, you were correct. Rove rightly concludes that the Republican base has a yellow streak and again can be counted on to make a run on duct tape. Talk Left summarizes the issues for us:

1. Bush's warrantless NSA electronic surveillance on Americans is legal
2. Bush's judicial picks will keep those terrorist detainees in their place and ensure our safety by curtailling our civil liberties
3. The renewal of the Patriot Act will protect us against another terrorist attack

As Texas Democrats well know, it will be very difficult to dislodge Republican congressmen from office after the illegal gerrymandering of districts. To make matters worse, Republican incumbents will salt their speeches with the same lies and scare tactics-- and Democrats will again be pasted with the coward moniker. But the real cowards are the voters. They just cannot look themselves in the mirror and ask why they are so afraid of terrorists when the odds of being killed or maimed by a terrorist attack is about nil. I bet 99.99% of the country is not on any radical Islamic radar.

Yet, 50% of Americans say they are willing to allow their privacy be invaded if one terrorist is identified by a 4th Amendment - violating national dragnet. Most site their fear of a terror attack in their community as the reason. (Pew Poll)

I live next to the Brooklyn Bridge and odds are that I am a bit more vulnerable to an act of terror than people are-- in say, Paducah, Kentucky, or Abilene, Texas. (Actually, Homeland Security did uncover a terrorist planning to take a blowtorch to the Brooklyn Bridge--take it down strand by strand. ) So, don't blame me if I don’t fall for the White House fear rhetoric; nor am I willing to give up my constitutional rights to privacy and liberty out of fear. I vote Democratic, as do 90% of my neighbors. There is no fearful talk of another terrorist attack here, so why does Rove think scare tactics will help the Party? Because those polls show that about half the country would give up rights held sacred for 225 years for protection from Islamic radicals. After all, they did get 50% of the national vote in 2004 using scare tactics and lies.

But, shouldn’t people be more frightened of soaring medical costs, diminishment of federal support for education, Chinese propping up of the U.S. economy, and skyrocketing methamphetamine use in suburban and rural communities?

Shouldn’t Americans be asking why oil companies are reaping windfall profits from gas and oil extracted from federal lands? And paying less in royalties for it than they did before Bush took office? Or as Molly Ivins wrote over the weekend : Oh come on, people — get a grip on the concept of leadership. Look at this war — from the lies that led us into it, to the lies they continue to dump on us daily.”

I say get a grip on it Americans and Democrats. Stop fearing the unknown. Fear of the unknown is a contest you cannot win.

And to those who have invested much collective ego in a great white and aggressive leader from Texas (via Connecticut.), de Tocqueville said that the “avowed lover of liberty is the hidden servant of tyranny.” Every other word out of Bush's mouth is liberty.

I am not sure that the America now crumbling under the weight of lies yet believes that John Wayne was just an actor and that his Winchester shot blanks. For as sure as Wayne was a fake hero, George Bush, family flunky, is just an actor too. Unfortunately for tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, he commands real ammunition. He used all manner of upper class shiftiness to affirm his cowardliness. Isn’t it about time for duct tape America to stop deluding itself and ignore the Rovian scare tactics? And the next time some blowhard in line with you at Wal Mart tells you we have to support our president in time of war, ask him if he is afraid of radical Islamic terrorists and what he is doing about it. It should make for a good laugh.

Other links:

Media Matters for America.

Common Dreams * Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community.

Buzzflash News.

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