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Opinion: Fear mongering shouldn't dominate politics

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Lawrence Jackson | The White House

Former President Barack Obama, with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House on Sept. 12, 2012, regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Terror attacks have driven politics. To drive sheep into a pen you must have a dog and a rod.  Fear campaigning has been a practice since the earliest days of democracy, and works to try to disguise itself as democracy. Proponents of this tactic include Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco, Marine Le Pen, both George Bushes, Lyndon Johnson, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump... the list goes on and on — almost no leader is clean of fear campaigning.

Terror events like 9/11, the 2015 Paris attacks and Benghazi are only a handful of attacks that have impacted political tensions within the United States and global community.

The aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center sparked an irrational fear and an unwinnable war in the Middle East. The Paris attacks led to a jump in the polls for French candidate "Marine" Le Pen, who was a huge supporter of Trump —and vice versa — and Benghazi would later be one of the scandals that kept many from voting for Clinton.

Plumes of smoke billow from the World Trade Center towers in New York City after a Boeing 767 hit each tower during the 9/11 attacks. This was an event that largely swayed politics. 

The question still remains, should terror attacks truly influence politics as much as they do? Keep in mind, most terror attacks are not known of until they actually take place, or so 'they' say, so what would an elected official do to prevent terror? Does a politician propose increased intervention and investigation into terror, more frequent patrol into neighborhoods... or are they going to build a wall?

All of these options have been proposed by fear mongers. These techniques are said to protect your freedoms —but examine those options more closely, and just try convincing yourself that they are tools to protect your freedom.

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Those commonly proposed policies are how conservatives sneak in big government into their “small government” platforms. Often knocking the left on ideas of too much government intervention with healthcare and aiding working class, conservatives nonchalantly say in order to protect your freedoms from the terrible world of terror, you must give them rights to 24/7 surveillance. All this does is expand government jobs and in turn bring in more money for federal officials. Yes, the left wants to raise taxes and give you basic services, but at least they're not sugar coating it and saying they are limiting government. 

People standing in line to write condolences at the French embassy in Moscow, memorializing the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Recent terror attacks have brought with them a heaping handful of Islamophobia, even though more terror attacks have been committed by white Americans. The media just refuses to label these as “terror attacks," which politicians may use to pander. Examples include Ted Cruz's proposal to patrol Muslim majority neighborhoods, to Trump saying he will enact a travel ban in Muslim majority countries (at least Obama was a bit sneaky about doing so). 

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In the Western world, views on Muslims vary. In the United States a 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that those who believe “Islam is likelier than other religions to encourage violence among its believers,” varies by political party. About 63 percent of those who identify as Republican believe in this statement while 26 percent of Democrats would agree. As a whole, 49 percent of Americans responded that at least “some” U.S. residing Muslims are anti-American, while 24 percent say there is a “fair amount of support for extremism." 

Terror attacks have been a great way to sway politics, it’s true. They give those too lazy to do their own research and connect the dots easy answers and bandwagons to join. I myself am one of those who believe it's all an inside job used to manipulate you into believing in the corrupt system only used to put more money into the pocket of big bankers like Jacob Rothschild. 


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