Everything to Fear, Including Fear Itself Author: BobRDate:12/16/2015 14:44:58
Two things happened yesterday that - I believe - show the fundamental rift between large segments of America. They were the bomb scares in NY and Los Angeles, and the RNC debates on CNN.
The reaction to the bomb threats was most telling. In Los Angeles, every school was closed, while they mobilized thousands of personnel to inspect schools and buses. In NY, they consulted with the federal government and concluded that it was a hoax. In Los Angeles, they assumed there was a threat, reacted in fear "just in case". In NY, they analyzed the data, and concluded that there was nothing to fear.
The CNN debates were ostensibly meant to allow viewers to learn about each candidates foreign policy experience and policies. Instead, each candidate used the opportunity to sell fear, with the notion that they were the only one who could keep us safe. It was blatant and sickening. They lied about what President Obama has or hasn't done, they lied about the other candidates' statements and policies, and they over-simplified the causes of and remedies for the tribal violence that permeates the entire Middle East.
As a brief example, Carly Fiorina was asked what to do about tech companies refusing to provide personal data in an effort to fight terrorism. Should they be forced to? In a long-winded and winding reply, she said that no, they just needed to be asked, and they would voluntarily do it - they just haven't been asked yet. It completely ignored the facts posited in the question. Did Wolf Blitzer correct her on this? Of course not.
That is the big problem with these "debates". The candidates are allowed to say whatever they want, lie in any way they choose, and there are no consequences. Sure - some website will debunk most of what was said, but the main consumers of last night's debate will never see that. Their brains are already filled with lies and fear, and it's too late to dislodge it.
The end result of this fact-challenged fear-driven nonsense being spewed by the candidates is perfectly encapsulated by the differing reactions to the bomb threat. Those on the left (and the Democratic candidates) tend to look at the facts and make a reasonable decision based on a complex situation and past results. Those on the right (and the Republican candidates) create fear and react to that fear in a very primal way. There is very little thought or consideration; there is no reaction that is too extreme.
We saw a fear-based reaction in LA, and a reasonable fact-based reaction in NY. This is the difference in how our country will be run for at least 4 years depending on whether a Democrat or a Republican gets elected.