Thursday, March 6, 2008

Of Fear and Lizard Brains

This past Tuesday, March 4, marked the 75th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's first inauguration as President. It was at the height of the Great Depression and times were bad. But on that day in Washington D.C. all those many years ago, FDR took the reins of power from Herbert Hoover and assured the country that government would, once again, be the servant of the people. In his inaugural address, he told America that "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!"

What a difference seventy-five years makes! Now we have a President who uses fear as his prime motivator. Fear Iraqis, fear al-Quaida, fear Castro, fear Chavez, fear immigrants, fear your government, fear, fear, fear! Fortunately for the world, and America in particular, George W. Bush is quickly becoming irrelevant.

But fear works - and now Billary has picked up the banner. Seventy-five years to the day after FDR reassured us that fear was all we had to fear, Billary won the Texas primary by using her sleazy red phone commercial stressing the need for us to fear anyone but her answering the President's red phone at 3:00 a.m. Arianna Huffington of "The Huffington Post" referred to this red phone tactic as appealing to our lizard brains, the most primal part of the human brain - the one we employed when we were still in the caves - long before the advent of rational thought.

What's wrong with focusing on ideas? Why can't we be free to judge candidates on their vision for America, instead of on their ability to slime? Bill Clinton said (in 2004 while campaigning for John Kerry) that if one candidate offers you hope and the other offers you fear - go with the one offering hope. He was right. The only thing we have to fear is the politician who is trying to scare us from seeing the world as it could be.

No third term!

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