Friday, November 20, 2015

ISIS learned this week that it doesn't even have to attack the United States to create panic in the streets.  It is much easier to attack more vulnerable cities like Paris and watch the American reaction.  It has really been something to see.  I never would have imagined it could be so horrible.  Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Donald Trump comes out with yet another outlandish statement.  The fear that has gripped the Republican Party is as great as that which gripped the nation following 911.

It seems a lot of Democrats are also feeling the fear as 47 Congressional representatives joined Republicans in issuing a "veto-proof bill" that would place severe restrictions on the acceptance of Syrian refugees.  Screening procedures are already very tough, not that anyone bothered to read them, as it takes an average of 18-24 months for a refugee to be cleared for entry.  As it is, very few Syrian refugees have been granted access since the civil war broke out in 2011, and the Obama administration only plans to clear room for 10,000 new arrivals in 2016.  But, you would think he was letting loose the flood gates the way the Republicans are reacting.

Everyone has been chewing over the new ISIS video that threatens Washington, DC, saying they will make the White House black.  Another video takes aim at New York City.  The FBI has said there is nothing to indicate an impeding attack, but that doesn't stop cities from taking extra precautions, especially with Christmas shopping season soon upon us.

To a large degree, we have been conditioned by movies and television series to expect the worst, and now the news has become a form of reality show further heightening our worst fears.  It is pretty hard to find any reasonable commentary on mainstream television at the moment, as all the networks are relishing the strident voices, each trying to rise above the other to shout the most absurd claims.

Muslims have been invited on news programs to make a case for their minority in America, but all too often find themselves used as foils for demagogues, as was the case on The Kelly File.  Saba Ahmed has since been getting quite a bit of attention, but she was hardly able to get a word in edgewise with Trump's campaign representative.  Ironically, Saba represents Muslim-American Republicans.  Of course, it is a pretty small group so I imagine the Donald is not too worried about losing their vote.

The amazing part is that Trump still leads in the polls despite his 95-minute rant last week and his call for Muslim-Americans to wear badges this week.  It just shows how deep these anxieties run through the GOP, which has literally become the Ministry of Fear.  GOP candidates have used fear to intimidate and motivate voters alike, none better that Donald J. Trump.  His rallies are notorious for bruisers roughing up protesters and those who managed to sneak into the rallies.  Johari Idusuyi has become a bit of a folk hero herself for choosing to ignore the Trumpster during his epic rant by reading a book

You just have to wonder how these Paris bombings so deeply affect one segment of the American population and not others?  Is it hardwired into the conservative mind to fear the other?  If so, this might help explain why it is so easy for GOP candidates to take advantage of these fears, while Democratic leaders generally tend to urge calm.

Republican strategists have learned to take full advantage of these deep-seated fears, using them effectively to sway voters in pivotal elections.  The immigration issue is one that can be easily exploited on many levels, and so GOP candidates are looking to get the most mileage out of the Paris bombings, even if it undermines the President's authority on the matter.   Of course, they have long shown they don't care about President Obama's authority, similarly seeking any opportunity to divest him of his powers.  Despite all this outcry to get tougher on ISIS, Congress still hasn't extended him a new war powers act specifically to fight ISIS.

Yet, the  mainstream press continues to avoid informing the general public of this, instead filling up its airwaves with ranting Republicans and self-styled experts on terrorism giving us apocalyptic scenarios for the United States.  All this fear-mongering results in the need for increased security and other costly measures just to calm people's anxieties, when valium would probably be a better alternative.

It would also help to gag persons like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who are the ringleaders of this latest wave of fear-mongering.  ISIS leaders must be patting themselves on the back right now and saying job well done.

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