by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
December 24, 2015
A GREAT NATION SHOULDN'T HAVE TO COWER IN FEAR
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The Republican Party has played the fear card for years, but it is truly breathtaking to see the cynical way that the current crop of that party's presidential candidates are whipping up fear for political gain.
Is there a reason to be afraid of terrorism? Not if you are an American living within the friendly confines of the U.S. of A.
Statistically, you are more likely to be killed by a lightning strike - 1 in 83,930/ - than to be killed in a terrorist attack. According to Time magazine, between 2007 and 2011 the odds of being killed by a terrorist in America were 1 in 20 million!
Yet, if you listen to the Donald Trumps and Ted Cruzs of the world, our nation is living in the shadow of terrorism and it is only a matter of when, not if, there is another major attack on American soil.
To prevent this from happening, they gleefully talk about committing war crimes - torture, indiscriminate attacks on civilians, mass detentions, and other horrific acts - in the name of keeping our nation safe.
Donald Trump thinks if we kill the families of Islamic State members, terrorists would think twice about committing attacks.
Ted Cruz was to "carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion" and test "whether sand can glow."
Of course, neither Trump nor Cruz see fit to explain why the indiscriminate killing of civilians by U.S. forces would different than the indiscriminate killing of civilians by ISIS.
Jeb Bush thinks waterboarding prisoners is swell, and defends his brother and his administration's use what it called "enhanced interrogation techniques" - or what the rest of the civilized world called torture.
GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson thinks the Geneva Convention and other international treaties to which the United States has signed off on should be ignored, saying he is "OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians" because in the larger scheme of things "it's actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by a 1,000 pricks."
All this nonsense is driven by fear, which in turn, drives our political policies and, ultimately, drives our lives. We get a steady torrent of fear from the news media, which helps feed the feelings of fear and hopelessness among many Americans.
It is how we get widespread fear that boils over into anger and hatred against those who not white, Christian, and heterosexual.
There are many things that we should fear that kill more Americans than ISIS and all can be easily remedied? How about doing something about the 30,000 Americans who are killed by gun violence every year? How about doing something about the lack of affordable health care, which kills thousands of Americans annually?
You want safety, security, and stability? How about fixing the crumbling infrastructure of America, which can save countless lives from bridge collapses and failures of other important systems essential to our daily lives and well-being? How about addressing income and wealth inequality, which exacerbates all the aforementioned problems.
Oh, and dealing with climate change, which merely affects the future of all life on our fragile little planet.
Those are things that our political leaders need to be concerned about. Unfortunately, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, all are being ignored by varying degrees by the Republicans and Democrats running for president.
May the New Year bring more people around to the idea that we are not a fearful people and that Americans, working together, can overcome any obstacle in our path, but only if we are willing to try.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at email@example.com.