Fear is Hugely Contagious

Ok, I admit it. I am a bit of a political junkie. I love when the presidential election cycle comes around. I like to listen to the daily election news and watch the presidential debates. This election cycle I have satellite radio. On my way to work I have been listening to CNN’s New Day with Chris Cuomo and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. And then of course there is P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States) radio, which is always fascinating.

I like the daily political news cycle and the candidate handicapping that seems to occur on an hourly basis. There has been a lot made of the ugly, fear driven policy announcements from Donald Trump. There is endless discussion about Cruz’s growing popularity in Ohio and the national polls and what it means. There is the question if Trump and Cruz can really win in a national election, given the extreme positions they have taken.

On of the best commentaries I heard in the last few days was from Mike Barnicle, an MSNBC Morning Joe contributor. He wrote a piece in the Daily Beast with the following powerful paragraph read on-air. The article, The Only Thing They’re Selling Is Fear, said, in part:

“Fear is hugely contagious. Used skillfully by politicians looking to manipulate voters it can become toxic and capable of infecting more than just a few. That’s what we have now. In Iowa. In New Hampshire. In South Carolina. In our country.

We have A Clockwork Orange parade of candidates seeking to capitalize on the legitimate worry many have about where the world is headed. In the days since a matched and married pair of Islamic terrorists in San Bernardino shattered our slight sense of security people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have acted as if the so-called ISIS is a reincarnation of The Wehrmacht.”

The Wehrmacht, according to Wikipedia, “was the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1946.”

While not as widely reported as some of the candidates other comments, I am frightened by the level of anti LGBT rhetoric coming from the majority of Republican candidates for president. Of the leading Republican candidates, Cruz has to be the worst, most vociferous, hateful candidate on LGBT issues. Rubio is not far behind. I am not really sure where Trump stands. He has stated he is against gay marriage, but beyond that he is not very clear.

The fear of men in ladies rest rooms; of offending ‘gods law’ with gay marriage; of ignoring the Supreme Court ruling on marriage are all openly discussed by Cruz. Fear and hate fill the airwaves. This is dangerous and harkened back to other historical examples where hate ruled and people were hurt.

The ugliness of Cruz was clearly shown in an article from Right Wing Watch, titled, Ted Cruz Endorsed By Anti-LGBT National Organization For Marriage:

“Cruz, who has actively courted even the most radical of anti-gay activists, including those who believe that the government should execute gay people, was one of several GOP presidential candidates who signed NOM’s pledge to back a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, order the Justice Department to help gay marriage opponents and “prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.”

Fear is hugely contagious. The leading Republicans are using fear to stoke the fires of hate across the country against Muslims, LGBT, immigrants, and other groups. The leading candidates need to repudiate hate and represent all of America, and not just represent a few right wing religious extremists.


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