About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
 
Name:
Pswd:
Remember Me
Register
 

Chasing the Boogeyman
Author: BobR    Date: 02/22/2012 13:53:59

Great literature has always been centered around conflict: Man -vs- Man, Man -vs- Nature, Good -vs- Evil... It makes for an interesting narrative, and the reader is always wondering who will win out, and how. Politicians intrinsically understand this basic function of the human brain to separate people into different groups, and then compare and contrast, and ask "which is better"?

It makes it easier to pick the one side if it is a case of "good -vs- evil". Evil of course is a relative measure, which means that painting an opponent as the worst possible thing makes the choice rather obvious. Sometimes, though, that "worst possible thing" is an idea or combination of ideas, and they are attributed to the opponent in what is commonly known as a "smear".

In the early to mid 20th century, those boogeymen were based on a person's perceived or actual national origin. Irish were persona-non-grata for a while, and any person with an Irish name (or accent) would have a hard time. After Pearl Harbor, Asian-Americans were suspect; everyone is aware of the camps that were set up for those of Japanese descent.

After the war, "Communist" was the new boogeyman. How many careers (in politics and in Hollywood) were ruined because someone was accused (falsely or not) of being a member of the communist party? Was belonging to a political party and supporting some of the political ideals anti-American? Of course not... but politicians and their accomplices in the media painted it that way.

Communism gave way to the 60s and feminism, black power, and socialism. There was a lot of social upheaval, and political power brokers tried (generally unsuccessfully) to paint this all as anti-government. There was still the Red Menace in Russia, but the "communist" epithet didn't really carry much weight anymore. It was a time of great advancements in legislation and rights...

That is - until Iran.

In 1979, the Shah was deposed, and the American embassy there was overrun. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for well over a year. Besides denying President Jimmy Carter a second term, it created a new boogeyman that has endured ever since: The Islamic Fundamentalist.

That boogeyman was not very popular initially. Once the crisis was resolved, Americans went back to thinking about those problems as "over there", and didn't give it much thought. As long as we avoided going to the Middle-East, who cares?

Even as recently as 1994, "Muslim" wasn't a dirty word. In Newt Gingrich's 1994 memo providing Republicans with a list of words to use to describe Democrats, that word does not appear.

No, it took the 2001 attacks for America to sit up and take notice. In one day, an entire religion, and anyone that looked vaguely Arab (including Indian Sikhs, who wear turbans too) was automatically suspect. "Islamic", "Arab", and "Terrorist" became synonymous. Liberals - who advocated NOT tarring an entire religion based on the actions of a small group of terrorists - were labeled as "aiding and abetting terrorism". Where did you stand in the "War on Terror"? The lines drawn would have made the Founding Fathers shudder.

This is all a rather long prelude to where were are now. The rhetoric has toned down, but the boogeyman is still there, and is referenced by implication. Is President Obama a Muslim or a Christian? What about Mitt Romney? Frank Graham (son of Billy Graham) says he "doesn't know if they're Christians", despite overwhelming evidence that they are. Mormons consider their holy book to be the third testament of the Christian religion. President Obama has been going to Christian churches his entire adult life.

Graham also said he thought that Santorum and Gingrich were definitely Christian. I personally find this interesting because I know Protestants who consider Catholics to be "idol worshippers". In 1960, there were questions about whether JFK was "too Catholic", and would enforce his religion's dogma. Fast-forward 50 years, and the question is whether President Obama is Christian enough, and too conciliatory of other religions.

Considering how Republicans are suddenly rushing to defend Catholics over birth control, the boogeyman is still the "Islamic" label, or even a more watered down but still potent "anti-Christian" label. The message is loud and clear: a vote for Obama is vote to destroy Christianity.

This is what we will be seeing in this election season. Watch for it, and be ready for it. The boogeyman still wears a turban.

37 comments (Latest Comment: 02/23/2012 05:47:04 by Will in Chicago)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!
Spurl
NewsVine
Reddit
Technorati

Add a Comment

Please login to add a comment...


Comments:

Order comments Newest to Oldest  Refresh Comments

Comment by wickedpam on 02/22/2012 14:08:12
Morning

Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 14:46:05
Good morning!

You know -- what really concerns me about all of these boogeymen that have been created over the many many years -- said boogeyman was always used to restrict civil liberties of people residing in this nation.





Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 14:57:38


POTUS sings the blues!

Comment by Scoopster on 02/22/2012 15:16:19
Mornin' all..

Not feeling all that aware or awake today.

Comment by velveeta jones on 02/22/2012 15:22:35
Morning all!


Comment by wickedpam on 02/22/2012 15:25:03
No, VA is divided along NoVA from the rest of the state. NoVA is what makes the state purple

Comment by Scoopster on 02/22/2012 15:28:00
Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 15:31:32
Quote by wickedpam:
No, VA is divided along NoVA from the rest of the state. NoVA is what makes the state purple
Exactly -- It's a lot like NYS in that way.


Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 15:33:00

Just for the picture I must take this quiz:
https://motherjones.com/files/images/santorum_metal_400.jpg


Comment by wickedpam on 02/22/2012 15:33:40
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
No, VA is divided along NoVA from the rest of the state. NoVA is what makes the state purple
Exactly -- It's a lot like NYS in that way.



I still think NoVA needs to be a separate state, we could merge with DC

Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 15:36:40
Holy crap. Rick Santorum IS a leader of a Satanic Heavy Metal band!

Comment by Mondobubba on 02/22/2012 15:41:10
Well done Bobber. You've written about a topic that I've been talking about for a couple of years now. That whole need on the right for an external enemy. The rhetoric on the right is the same as it was during the Cold War. Just change communist to muslim and Russian to Arab. Same script, just updated for the new century.

This is where I think people like Thom Hartman fail. They are not seeing the meme that is play. Hartman says "What if people said the same thing about Jews?" when he address Islamophobia. The proper response is, "Your argument is tired and invalid, you are using the rhetoric of the Cold War. It was invalid then and it is invalid now."

Comment by BobR on 02/22/2012 17:15:56
This has to be one of the slowest blog days in a while. I know I am guilty of doing other stuff...

Comment by wickedpam on 02/22/2012 17:49:08
Quote by BobR:
This has to be one of the slowest blog days in a while. I know I am guilty of doing other stuff...





Comment by livingonli on 02/22/2012 17:55:53
Good day everyone. Slept late and a 3:30 doctor's appointment. My day is on a roll.

Comment by Mondobubba on 02/22/2012 18:31:53
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by BobR:
This has to be one of the slowest blog days in a while. I know I am guilty of doing other stuff...






Ditto.

Comment by Mondobubba on 02/22/2012 18:44:58
We are weighed down with the seriousness of the Lentian season I guess.

Comment by Scoopster on 02/22/2012 18:55:35
Comment by Mondobubba on 02/22/2012 20:29:41
Quote by Raine:

Just for the picture I must take this quiz:
https://motherjones.com/files/images/santorum_metal_400.jpg



Got a 50% on it.

Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 21:03:24
Quote by Mondobubba:
We are weighed down with the seriousness of the Lentian season I guess.
mmmm... Lentian soup is delicious.


Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 21:06:23
Looks like Governor McDonnell has had a serious change of mind about the Virginia Trans Vaginal law!

Comment by BobR on 02/22/2012 21:41:53
Quote by Raine:
Looks like Governor McDonnell has had a serious change of mind about the Virginia Trans Vaginal law!



Comment by Mondobubba on 02/22/2012 22:21:08
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
We are weighed down with the seriousness of the Lentian season I guess.
mmmm... Lentian soup is delicious.



I need Beano® to eat it.

Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 22:26:03
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
We are weighed down with the seriousness of the Lentian season I guess.
mmmm... Lentian soup is delicious.



I need Beano® to eat it.
well that sucks if you give up Beano for lentian...


Comment by BobR on 02/22/2012 23:09:02
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
We are weighed down with the seriousness of the Lentian season I guess.
mmmm... Lentian soup is delicious.


I need Beano® to eat it.

note to self - do NOT serve Lentil soup to Mondo...


Comment by Raine on 02/22/2012 23:46:17
Comment by TriSec on 02/23/2012 01:54:43


Comment by velveeta jones on 02/23/2012 02:04:07
Did Sandy just say he has something burning down there?

Comment by livingonli on 02/23/2012 02:05:51
It sounds like Santorum is spreading across Mesa.

Comment by Raine on 02/23/2012 02:19:33
Quote by velveeta jones:
Did Sandy just say he has something burning down there?

I thhink a pill can cure it.

Too bad he wants to ban the pill.

Comment by BobR on 02/23/2012 02:19:35
One word to describe themselves? what are the odds on these:

"Conservative"
"Leader"
"Adulterer"
"Crazy"

Comment by Raine on 02/23/2012 02:59:19
Comment by clintster on 02/23/2012 03:06:41
Infanticide? What. The. FUCK??!?

Comment by Raine on 02/23/2012 03:14:22
Comment by Raine on 02/23/2012 03:46:50
Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/23/2012 05:44:30
Quote by Raine:
Good morning!

You know -- what really concerns me about all of these boogeymen that have been created over the many many years -- said boogeyman was always used to restrict civil liberties of people residing in this nation.






BobR, thanks for an interesting blog. I am not sure who said it, but I remember someone stating that a tyranny needs both a perceived external threat and perceived internal enemies as a justification for limiting the rights of individuals.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 02/23/2012 05:47:04
Quote by BobR:
This has to be one of the slowest blog days in a while. I know I am guilty of doing other stuff...



Guilty as charged, as I am up late studying after subbing today, shopping, hitting the post office, and doing other fun stuff like laundry. I will be busier tomorrow but will check in tomorrow night. Hmm, maybe I am the night owl of the blog these days?