Saturday, September 09, 2006
Getting the Fear Good
If VP Cheney or Sec. of Def. Rumsfeld says my dissent against my government's actions is tantamount to allying myself with "the terrorists," that affects me. It affects me psychologically and intellectually. If highly placed government officials conflate my perfectly legitimate actions and protests with bombings and killings, there is a less-than-subtle message that I could end up in a camp without any rights, detained indefinitely as an enemy of the state. The message is: "Shut up and enjoy the freedoms we allow you. Speak up and you'll find out the world of hurt you could inhabit."
If all this sounds rather paranoid and overly-full of myself, you're missing my point. The point is not whether I actually think the government would be interested in the slightest about what I write in this small blog or the petitions I sign. I do not expect the government to break down my door and arrest me for sedition. The point is that, through their proclamations and threats, they want to scare Americans into silence. The point is that they are fearmongering and Red-baiting. They want Americans to stay separated and afraid of each other.
When everything is reduced to black and white, to good versus evil, to "you're either with us or with the terrorists," we are lost. Then the purges start, the demonizing of independent thought and speech, the witchhunts for those with different views.
When I was in NOLA, a member of my family was watching some of the political shows on TV. She thought, because Dems and Repubs were exchanging opinions on the show, that there was the full spectrum of opinions being represented. I looked at these shows and thought the views only covered about 15 degrees of the 360 degree circle of possible views. I think 15 degrees is being generous. And, actually, the views are on a much larger continuum than a measely 360 degrees. Am I a dreamer, a Don Quixote tilting at illusions, to think of larger possibilities?
As Frank Herbert wrote in his Dune books, "Fear is the mind-killer." So I express my fear here, hoping that I can gain strength through bringing it into the light.