Yet, it is a ploy of rhetoric so often used by politicians lately that we have become almost desensitized to it. But the symptom of how Americans seem at times to require great drama and excitement before they will tune into things almost begs for the leverage of fear and hysteria to call attention to something if you want it to be noticed. And that is sad.
Lately, I’ve been reading Sir Winston Churchill’s six volume set of books on World War II, and the first, The Gathering Storm, written in the late 1940s gives me a contrary context.
The reason I mention it here is how staggering was the desire on Britain’s part (and several other victorious allies from WWI) to ignore the looming threat of Germany’s rearmament in the late 1920s and early 1930s. For his part, Churchill spent many long hours delivering facts and figures and warnings to his countryment from within parliament and elsewhere about the looming dangers. Yet, in his rhetoric he always stayed well above any attempt at encouraging hysteria. And his regret at having to predict WWII and yet accept his impotence at possibly preventing it ring through in the tone of his retrospective books.
Back to the present day, as I watch all manner of politicians or political movements attempt to gain the public eye (and access to the $ they desire to do their thing) by evoking giant reactions of fear, I always try to steer towards facts and away from the invitation to be afraid… be it fear of Al Gore’s decade old failed predictions of floods and planetary doom, or some walrus Hollywood actor predicting I should be afraid of tyranny at the hands of the elected, or failure of the power grid.
I’m not saying there aren’t grave issues that need robust debate. I eagerly await discussions and progress in achieving meaningful change both in America and abroad – and my opinions are worth what you pay for them. But it would sure be nice if every time I read an article, or watch a news cast, or enjoy a TV show I wasn’t bombarded with so much invitation to hysteria.