Since 9/11, we’ve been terrorized by fear. You see it in the monumental popularity of Fox News where almost every story is about something (flip-flops) or someone (any Muslim) that is out to harm us. During this latest debt ceiling debacle in Congress, the fear is about the budget deficit.
Poof! Get rid of tax loopholes for the richest among us and it’s done, or at least on the right path. Instead of reason, sound bytes of politicians preaching fear rule.
A cultural paranoia has taken over, much like the low level of Jewish paranoia that I’ve always had, knowing I would have been hauled off to a concentration camp during World War II in Europe. But at least I’m aware that it’s a form of paranoia, because I wasn’t there.
Many people have real fears, how to feed their families when they’re unemployed, how to get decent medical care, or how to pay for their kid’s college education. That makes it all the more important for our dysfunctional Congress to jump off the crazy train.
Poor House Speaker John Boehner crying on his couch, an icepack on his forehead after trying to placate his dogmatic freshman members. But that “fool’s errand” has only gotten worse. President Obama may call on the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling in a few days because it’s unconstitutional to not meet our debts. The Tea Partiers will go nuts but, as one senator said, they’re already nuts.
Whatever happens with the debt ceiling debacle, the goings-on in our nation’s capital have been insane (“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity).
I hope the Tea Party movement’s mantra of cutting spending — without sufficient regard for the most vulnerable among us — will eventually be overridden. Do they really think the deficit is our worst problem? I think it’s about unnecessary super-expensive wars, lowering unemployment, and rebuilding our spirit of innovation through top-notch education.
I’m an optimist and believe that most sensible voters will not in 2012 vote for the crazies ranting about the budget deficit. But a lot of strange things have happened in the past 10 years.
And the polluted mixture of real economic fears and imagined fears doesn’t help.