The Politics of Fear
wilkyjr printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Aug 02, 2016 at 11:46:30 AM EST
Joseph Ellsworth McWilliams was born on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.  He moved to New York City and became a Communist.  Later on he became a leader in the American Far Right. He was friends with many Jews but used anti-Semitic speeches to move audiences.  He quickly learned that the fear of Jews in his city touched a sensitive nerve.  He held little basis for such beliefs, but yielded to the temptation to use fear mongering about Jews to make political points during the thirties in America.  Fearmongering has long been a basic diet fed from the airwaves from Religious Right publications.
     Stephan Lesher wrote a biography about George Wallace.  It was little known that Wallace started out as a liberal Democrat.  He was devastated whenever he lost his first election for Governor of his beloved state, Alabama.  He was defeated by an opponent who had the backing of the Klan.  Wallace learned his lesson well and found that practicing race baiting held a host of benefits.  Governor Faubus of Arkansas refused to follow Eisenhower's decree and allow Blacks into Central High School in Little Rock.  He became the Scrooge for trying to ruin Christmas for some Arkansas students. His stand made him an embarrassment to many, but his electability was guaranteed in the state.  Fear of a Black uprising has always been a part of Southern culture.
     Randall Balmer is Jimmy Carter's biographer.  Balmer noted Carter was crushed by his defeat from the hands of Lester Maddox.  The hands Maddox used to sign ax handles as souvenirs for his use of the object to drive blacks away from his restaurant.  Carter gave in himself and used some fear mongering about blacks in Georgia to get elected and regretted having done so.  It is a viable temptation for politicians to succumb to.
     The RNC recently featured a NRA leader who warned that Hilary Clinton was going to take away guns from Americans.  It was a reminder of how H.L. Hunt stoked the fires of hysteria when JFK came to Dallas with a claim that Kennedy was going to do the same.  A fear that still makes its presence known in Texas politics today regarding Democrats.
    Author Michelle Goldberg noted that Religious Right leaders spread the rumor that John Kerry would make it illegal for preachers to oppose gay marriage and could be fined as much as $25,000 for refusing to preform the ceremony.  The money would then go to lesbians.  Many will recall the grizzly pictures of Willie Horton that helped sway the nation away from Michael Dukakis.  Just how effective such images of fear impact an electorate is hard to gauge.
     Yesterday Sean Hannity told his radio audience the Democratic Party does not back police.  Hannity likes to call attention to the militancy of Black Lives Matter and notes that President Obama does not like White people.  Hannity and cohorts have ridden the crest of the wave of fear of Islamic terrorism and found a receptive audience.  Fear of high places is a good thing.  It can keep us cautious on top of a ladder.  It can also prevent us from traveling in a Jet airliner which is much more safe than an automobile.          
      McWilliams, like Carter and Wallace, knew his fear mongering was not founded on factual evidence.  The desire to move an audience to respond was too overwhelming.  There is a story about legendary football coach Knute Rockne.  Once his team trailed an opponent at halftime.  Knute fabricated a story to fire up the team.  He told them the alumni were after him and if they lost this game he would lose his job.  After the comeback and victory, Knute, in a state of euphoria,  turned to some of the team members and told them he hoped the alumni got the message.   Knute had gotten so caught up in his speech, he even believed it.  



Display:
See Lesher, page 70. Best wishes on degree.

by wilkyjr on Sat Aug 06, 2016 at 06:48:21 PM EST

I've noticed that myself. Terrible. It seems that the idea of skepticism of people's claims especially politicians is missing. As you showed us, one doesn't have to be a preacher or politician to manipulate others with useful lies. The only way such lies can work is if the audience is preconditioned to believe them. It doesn't matter what I see, if others don't have a bit of skepticism they will ignore me and being among the very few who will question, that puts us into the Cassandra Curse category of truth telling that will never be accepted.

by Nightgaunt on Mon Aug 08, 2016 at 12:14:53 PM EST

One of the liberal blogs I backed off going to after a year of reading "Forget Bernie. You have to be WITH HER because dividing the Democratic party will mean Jeb, I mean Cruz, I mean Trump will be president" now has a meme saying that the GOP strategy - since they have no positive reasons to vote for them - is to scare you by what might happen if you don't vote for them.
En toute chose il faut considérer la fin
by Xulon on Wed Aug 17, 2016 at 01:46:57 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (5 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (4 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (4 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (6 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (0 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (4 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (3 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (6 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (6 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (7 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (21 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (5 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (6 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (3 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (5 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (3 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (2 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (13 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (5 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (7 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (2 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (3 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else © 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.