GOP message: ‘Be afraid, America. Be very very afraid’

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Remember the last half-hour of “Titanic”?

They’ve hit the iceberg, the realization begins to set in that the ship is soon going to sink into the icy waters of the North Atlantic and all hell breaks loose. The veneer of civilization falls away. Wild-eyed men shove aside women and children for a spot on a lifeboat. The third-class passengers are locked down below to meet the fate that God ordained for them. Lifeboats swamp because they are overcrowded; others shove away half-empty. Amid the wailing, one officer raises a pistol to his temple and pulls the trigger rather than face what’s coming. It’s a brilliant depiction of the human animal in mass panic.

Well, that’s kinda what it felt like watching last night’s Republican debate. You could practically smell the stench of fear through your television set, and as the minutes went by, it became more and more clear that among this crowd at least, the terrorists have already won a smashing victory. They’ve succeeded in creating so much fear that rationality and a sense of proportion have disappeared, replaced by …

“Shut down the Internet! Call out the National Guard! Ban all Muslims! Ban all immigrants! Carpet-bomb ’em! Screw the Geneva Conventions! Let the government spy on us — hell, MAKE the government spy us, Constitution be damned!”

And on and on it went:

“Are you willing to give a bombing order that you know will kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent women and children?” the candidates were asked, and they practically stomped on each other in their eagerness to prove their bloodthirst. “Are you willing to risk World War III with Russia?” and again, with one or two exceptions, the stampede was on.

I know this might be a hopelessly unfashionable thing to say, but we are NOT passengers on the RMS Titanic, and we’re not all about to die. We’re here at home, on dry land, protected by the Atlantic on one side, the Pacific on the other. We have Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, with the most powerful military ever known and a rapidly declining rate of violent crime. Today, your odds of dying in a violent attack of any kind are half what they were just 20 years ago.

In fact, no American at any previous point in our nation’s history has ever been more secure against threats of all kinds than you are today. It’s not even a debatable point. So if you’re nonetheless running around with deep fear in your heart, maybe you should think about who put it there and why you let them do it.

Nobody thought it worth mentioning last night — it might have destroyed the mood of the evening — but in the 14 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, a grand total of 45 Americans have been killed by jihadists in this country, a sum that includes the San Bernardino and Fort Hood attacks. It’s easy to say that’s too many, and it is. But it is also fewer than four a year.  In an open society threatened by fanatics willing to strap suicide bombs to their chests, that number does not represent failure, and the steps that it would take to ratchet the number down from four to zero would turn this into a country that you would not recognize.

For comparison’s sake, we lost some 430 Americans in auto accidents over the recent Thanksgiving holiday alone. Twenty-six Americans have been killed by lightning this year, a number that takes us only through August. Based on the results of a Harvard study, some 2,700 of our fellow Georgians will die unnecessarily this year because thanks to state officials out to make a political point, we have refused to give them the Medicaid coverage that would help save their lives, because we supposedly can’t afford it.

But apparently, based on last night’s debate, we can spend trillions on another war in the Middle East, chasing the illusion of perfect security even though we know in the part of our brain that is still rational that such wars do not produce additional security, but only additional chaos.

You hear a lot of talk these days that we’re not the country that we used to be, and for the most part I think that’s garbage. In many ways, we’re better than we’ve ever been. But this eagerness to wallow in fear, to demand a government large enough and intrusive enough to provide perfect security, eliminating all risk — this is indeed something new and troubling.

Get a grip, America.

 

Reader Comments 1

1470 comments
BeeJay
BeeJay

If mr bookman is NOT afraid, he is living in Fantasyland. Oceans and nations do not protect us, not when we have open borders, abused immigration and visitation laws, incompetent security efforts, worldwide nuclear and biological warfare capabilities, declared and legitimized hatred by others for America, a leader ineffective in foreign affairs, and an apparent willingness among some Americans to accept whatever is relevant to any culture or cult with a shrug of their liberal shoulders. God forbid we offend anybody by calling a spade a spade and then daring to protect ourselves against it.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

@BeeJay Go back to hiding under your bed until Obama leaves office.

Where were you when two members of the "Axis of Evil" were building up their nuclear  capabilities while George W was in office?

And which president put sanctions on Iran's nuclear buildup and got  it  frozen?

And which president got chemical weapons remoived from Syria without an invasion?

And which president got the Iraqi government to resign so a more inclusive governemnt could be put in place without any civil war?


Guess that Black guy in the White House really bothers you a lot.


BeeJay
BeeJay

@lvg @BeeJay One track mind shows a thoughtless, mindless personality. When you paint with a broad brush, especially half the country's citizens, you show a distinct unwillingness to step out of the chains certain people hold you in. It's sad.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@JohnBuck2 

You are exactly what's wrong with this country.  I have no doubt you have never sacrificed or wanted for a thing.  You stand behind a protective wall provided by others and then disdain them for it.  Well..Jack Nicholson said it better. 

Oooooooooooooooo, a stud-muffin you are.

The studliest of stud-muffins, no doubt.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Kamchak @JohnBuck2 “I g*ddamn near lost my nose – and I like it. I like breathing through it. And I still think you’re hiding something.”?

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Now that O'Reilly confirmed that Trump really meant killing families of terrorists when he said "taking out" is anyone acting on that criminal threat against US citizens? Is Farook's family going to get police protection from inevitable vigilantes?

Nor sure any presidential candidate ever crossed that line before.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@lvg

Deuteronomy 24:16 ESV / 277 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

RantNRave
RantNRave

@Ivg


Trump is writing a check his billionaire


behind can't cash.


El Chapo and ISIS says......


bring it on Chump!

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Pharma-bro arrested. Obama's gonna Martha Stewart him.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JeffreyEav
While I chuckled like most everyone else upon learning of this earlier, I do wonder if this is a case of hating the player rather than the game, here.

RantNRave
RantNRave

@VisualCortex


This is a case of KARMIC CONSEQUENCES!


In other words:


You reap what you sow.

ByteMe
ByteMe

Note that you're relatively safe in Anchorage.  For now.

Peachs
Peachs

@ByteMe every Republican is stupid but not every stupid person is Republican. 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@YouLibs Probably not the only thing lousy about it.  I'm guessing three restaurants: a DQ, another fast-food burger place, and a place named after the woman who opened it, Peggy, or Betty or something like that.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@YouLibs I had to spend nearly a month in Wrens about 25 years ago, similar type of place.  couldn't wait to get home.

YouLibs
YouLibs

@ByteMe @YouLibs My mom used to talk about loading up the wagon with wheat and corn and taking the twenty-something mile trip to have their flour and cornmeal ground in Wrens. To her, back in the twenties, Wrens was the big city.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

A recent study indicates vegetarians contribute to global warming.

They're PITHED, thinking the government, through research, is trying to kill them with meat.

Carnivores vs herbivores.

Can life be any funnier? 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs So the plant's finally "live"?  I thought you were going with Paulownia instead...?


yes, I might be identifying myself to you :)

fedup52
fedup52

@FIGMO2 Lets carpet bomb all vegetarians.  Make their homes into a parking lot.  CC solved.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@FIGMO2 We ALL contribute to global warming, even this blog contributes to it.  The question is: are we effectively working to reduce our carbon footprint?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs A lot of that is going to Europe for their power plants.  One of my customers does this....

TBS
TBS

It's what happens when emotion out runs logic on a consistent basis

The knees get to jerking and you get what we see on this blog this morning and on a regular basis

skydog12
skydog12

@FIGMO2


fig, you do know that science says meat is not good for you?

I`m not going to stop eating meat either, but I am aware of the research. Seems you are just chomping ahead blindly.

Most science is not debatable.


fedup52
fedup52

@Peachs @ByteMe Peaches I like to talk to you about some business opportunity.  I will ask Jay to send you my email so you can contact me.  If you are interested please let me know.  Thanks.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs IT consulting.  If you were in on the buy, then you met me earlier this year.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@FIGMO2

Why do right wingers have such a problem with vegetarians?

They seem to hate them almost as much as they hate moooooooooooslumbz.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TBS
I just don't get why anyone would slap a "People Eating Tasty Animals" -type sticker on their car, save to self-identify as a thin skinned jerk.

(and no, I'm not a vegetarian, nor am I a carnivore--I'm not sure any human actually is a carnivore, pretty sure you'd die if your only source of fuel came from animal flesh.)

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs the old Weyerhauser plant or a different one?