I was tossing and turning last night, considering the apparently awful prospect of the latest incarnation of Republican presidents. Throwing out millions of people, building walls, leaving Nato,… Why does the fear level ratchet up across the world when the Republicans take over?
I remember so well the Reagan characterisation of the ‘evil empire’ of the USSR, the fear of nuclear annihilation with all those provocative missiles being stationed in Western Europe, and the Bush 2 characterisation of the ‘axis of evil’, the Iraq war justified on totally spurious grounds, with consequences still being dealt with today.
This appears to stem from a shallowness of thinking that sees the world in ‘black and white’ and tribal terms: Bush 2 “You’re either with us or against us”. That campaigns to appeal to the lowest instincts of the electorate, the fear of the other – the immigrant, the evil ones. That tells barefaced lies in order to get elected, and will not face voters with real truths of a situation.
This is a politics of fear that creates fear across the world.
It was one of the great positive presidents, FD Roosevelt, who gave us the great phrase
‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’.
We must not give in to these fears, but live in hope, fight to keep the things that are really important, face down the bullies and bigots that appear when their base instincts are encouraged…
Featured image is of FDR himself