Friday, September 26, 2008

The Politics of Fear

One of the best things about working outside the home is the 45 minute drive. It is 45 minutes that I have all to myself. I dream up the plot for my novel or listen to an 80's CD and sing loudly. I really enjoy this time. The past few days I have been listening to talk radio (i.e. NDR Info, which is a bit like NPR). They have had some excellent reports about the financial crisis.

After a very interesting bit about Bush's national address, the German and I sat down and watched a little CNN. The U.S. Under Treasury Secretary (I think that was his title; where do they get these people??) argued that Bush did a good job of explaining to and convincing the American public about his $700 Billion bailout plan. I went back for a listen, and I heard something very different.

Fear mongering. In a dark tone, the president forecasted gloom and doom for the average American citizen. Furthermore, if congress does not pass his bill, things will get even worse. Give me the power, or else. Gee, George, 8 weeks ago the economy was sound. But I have the distinct feeling that I have heard this all before . . .

After Sept. 11, the American public was scared, and over the next year that did not get any better. Fox News posted "Terror Alert" watches in the corner of their screen. I even had a friend who put up plastic on her windows because she was convinced that there would be an anthrax attack. Amidst this fear, the Bush administration gathered all of its executive authority. It pushed through things like the Patriot Act. All in the name of calming your fears. And if you did not support them, then you were unpatriotic. Shame on you disbelievers, they said.

It turns out though, that the Bush Administration has not really made the world a safer place. Despite confirmation that WMDs never existed in Iraq and that before the war Al-quida was not even there, they still insist that the war was the right thing to do. Now when Congress, or any one else for that matter, tries to investigate, the Bush Administration protects itself with its "Executive Privilege."

Today, they are trying to do the same thing. By comparing the finance crisis to Sept. 11, the Bush Administration is once again trying to collect unprecedented power in the executive branch. But this time, they may not get away with it. This time it is not the pesky unpatriotic Democrats who are protesting, but the President's own party. Talks broke down this morning and it seems they finally realize that Bush does not have the ol' Republican ideal of fiscal responsibility at heart. Guess that $300 tax rebate for all Americans a few months ago was not such a good idea, huh?

McCain is playing on those same fears in order to get out of a debate. I do not understand this. If there is a vote, then certainly both candidates should be there. But, what can they add to this mess? Not much. Friday's debate is about foreign policy, something he is good idea. One would think that he would welcome the idea to talk about something else.

Me, I got my ballot yesterday. I am going to sit down, think clearly and vote. I am sure you can figure out how it will end. On the other hand, I do get a bit warm and fuzzy when I read Nader's name.

This weekend is all about the fun. The Whiny Expat Bloggers are in town, and I really hope that Bremen puts on its best face for them.

Bis dann!


Anonymous said...

The economy was not sound 8 weeks ago.

The German said...

I don´t get this comment!
What´s your point. Everybody knows it´s not an 8 week problem (if he is a little bit informed in economics).
The other point is....everything would not be that bad, if the administration, and that´s why you can blame them, would not spend money everywhere and deregulation is one topic everybody loves like Hershey's .
So Anonymous...what´s your point?
The German