I blame the Democrats(*) and Republicans(*), and our feeble news media.
It is true, that some news sources like the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times are pretty good at giving us straight talk, but I admit that I am talking in generalities here.
(*) Bill Mahr says that the Republicans are the “feel good” and “party” people: they bullshit about the current economy being OK, bullshit about how we are totally screwing over the Iraq people right now, etc. But, they make people feel good! WooooHoooo!
Mahr describes the Democrats as being downers: they point out and fret about real problems, and make people feel bad.
I think that Mahr has put his finger on how the Republicans hold political power! Really, think about it:
Most polls show that the vast majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose. Most Americans favor universal health care (I don’t, but that is another issue…). Most Americans are grossed out by corporate malfeasance. Most people support stem cell research.
Still the Republicans win – even though their platform is largely out of touch with what Americans want. Bill Mahr correctly points out that they largely do this by using fear mongering. The Republicans want people to be scared. I am not too much of a history buf, but still the parallels with the Nazis seems apparent to me: Goebel, their propaganda minister, was quoted as saying that if you lie to the people enough, eventually they will believe you. The Nazis also consolidated power by fear mongering their own people.
It seems all too evident to me: real leaders who care about their people do not go out of their way to strike fear into the hearts of their people. Fear is a crippling influence that while can be used short term for political expediency, is just plain and obviously not in a country’s best interests.