The Dangers of GOP Fear Mongering

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October 25, 2016 by Chris Kite

For several decades now, the Republican Party has been embracing fear as its primary tactic. It’s been effective, and the lies have been broad based.

Fear crime!
Fear the murder of babies!
Fear the loss of your guns!
Fear Islamic terrorism!
Fear immigrants!
Fear gay marriage!
Fear bathrooms!
Fear “Obamacare!”
Fear voter fraud!

These are all greatly overstated, overly simplified, and designed to fire up the conservative base. And they’re all at least a little dangerous.

But I’m particularly worried by the ongoing false narrative that voter fraud is an issue.

The right has latched onto voter fraud as a potential method of suppressing votes. By making it harder to vote, Republicans discourage the poor and over stressed population. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, working multiple jobs, living the insanely hectic life of a single parent, or intimidated by bureaucracy, these laws make if far more likely that you’re not going to make the extra effort to vote. This is very troubling.

But it isn’t nearly as troubling as the current situation with Donald Trump expanding on these fears and working his supporters into a paranoid frenzy. He is talking about not accepting the results of the election. He is telling his supporters that the system is rigged and the polls are a Clinton conspiracy. And his supporters are eating it up. They’re talking about the usual stuff. Loss of liberty. Leaving the country. And, quite scarily, revolution.

Oh, I’m not worried right wing nut jobs with lots of guns are actually going to overthrow the government. They may have Red Dawn like visions of overthrowing an army with their semi-automatic weapons and huge stockpiles of ammunition, but that’s not going to happen. The military has hundreds of thousands of well trained soldiers, high tech weapons, an air force, tanks, drones, and surveillance. A bunch of yahoos with AR-15s and Glocks aren’t going to survive long in that battle!

What I am worried about is increased threats from right wing terrorists. This paranoia and irrational fear risks setting off more Timothy McVeigh and Cliven Bundy types. With that comes more internal conflict, wasted law enforcement effort, and potential loss of life. Not just the well armed right wing lunatics like Leroy Finicum, but law enforcement, our military personnel, and innocent bystanders. They can’t win, but they’ve been duped into thinking a small arsenal of guns and bullets is going to them some kind of powerful force capable of standing up to the strongest military on the planet.

Republicans have been irresponsible and reckless for decades. This is nothing new. But Donald Trump, with his irrational rhetoric of vast conspiracies and stolen elections is creating a potentially explosive situation. We don’t need more fear. We need more rational thought and dialog!

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