Fear and Politics

A friend of mine said that they were concerned that the Republicans did not fear President Obama. I get what they were saying, we were talking about the difficult job of governing, i.e. getting things done on a political level.

The Bush-Cheney years were certainly governed by fear, not that we as a nation weren’t terrified, after 9/11–we were. But it always felt as if we as a nation were being manipulated by fear into complying with the Bush–Cheney agenda–those terror alerts being raised from yellow to orange on a regular basis, certainly enough to scare yours truly.

And as a Newburyport blogger I stopped blogging about national politics after realizing that Homeland Security visited my small blog on a regular basis, and that certain key words brought more intense scrutiny. I would imagine since some of those key words are used in this blog post, I will get some extra visits (I hope they actually read it).

I figured it was better to blog about local Newburyport politics and local Newburyport events, risking the wrath of local folks and politicians, rather than being confronted by a faceless Bush–Cheney delegation, which sadly turns out not to be the least bit paranoid on my part.

Governing by fear does not even appear to be part of President Obama’s disposition (I hope I’m not being naïve here). It often seems to me that President Obama approaches governing the way one would approach raising a child. First reach out and attempt a reasoned approach. If that doesn’t work on the wayward child, no spanking, but time out, and whatever needs to be done for the good of the family, gets done without drama, hysteria or threats.

This is a new dichotomy, the language of which seems untranslatable to his detractors. Reaching out is seen as weak. Helping the less fortunate is seen as Socialist or worse, Communist (the PBS documentary on Russia and Poland–“Behind Closed Doors–Unlikely Friends,” might be a good reminder of what cruel and mindless Communism was actually like–hardly President Obama’s agenda).

President Obama treats his detractors as unruly children. He is “disappointed” in them. And as a parent and a daughter I always found that a parent’s “disappointment” was far more powerful in the long run than an attitude of “spare the rod and spoil the child,” a phrase that I know many on the conservative religious Right adhere to.