Playing the politics of fear

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2009

"Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree," Carl Jung wrote in "The Undiscovered Self." "... For every manifest case of insanity there are, in my estimation, at least ten latent cases who seldom get to the point of breaking out openly but whose views and behavior, for all their appearance of normality, are influenced by unconsciously morbid and perverse factors."

It seems like the most vociferous members of our current Republican Party are well aware of this phenomena and are very good at pushing the panic buttons in people who are scared, ignorant and unreasonable. Conscious lies pandered by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Sean Hannity seem to be swallowed whole and acted on by the panicked mob that is rudely disrupting town hall meetings and blocking the flow of factual information and free discussion between supporters of President Obama's health program and the public. Limbaugh, Beck and Hannity's followers have tried to associate the president's plan with Nazism - not because there is any correlation, but because Nazism is scary.

Our own former Gov. Sarah Palin states, "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Palin's interpretation of the new health care program has nothing to do with reality and everything to do with deception and playing upon the fear and ignorance of her followers. I cannot believe that our former governor is that ignorant. She fails to mention that the president supports people being able to choose between private health care plans or a national health care plan. In other words, if you have the money, you can spend it on whatever medical procedure you can afford. Just like now.

The difference is that the president is offering millions of insured and uninsured Americans the opportunity to pick there own plan, be it private or public and, if they so choose, to not let private interests profit from their misery.

The Republican mantra has been that the government always screws things up. If that is the case, why are Republicans and their corporate sponsors so afraid of some competition from the U.S. government?

Oops! My bad. There I go being reasonable.

• Lisle Herbert lives in Juneau.

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