Democrats & Liberals Archives

Fear is our Guide

We have finally given in to the worst of our impulses in the search for leadership. For the first time in my life we are actually electing a candidate based on our fear not our hope for a better nation. By this point in the campaign I genuinely dislike both of the men running for President from the major parties.

I dislike Kerry for embracing Bush’s nasty little oil war disguised as a sudden conversion to democratic ideals; and Bush because of his basic incompetence to govern this nation without tearing it apart along the cheesy political lines he and Cheney have drawn in the sands of our times. I do believe that Kerry will do better if he wins which is looking less likely with every mistake his campaign makes. But my real emotional connection to this campaign is disgust at the way we are so easily manipulated by our fears of terrorism. The damn terrorists are winning! This campaign is proof of that fact. They do have us terrified, we are so afraid that we will give up our ideals our civil liberties and maybe even our democracy to elect one of two men who are both ill equipped to lead this nation out of these dark days of fear.

I wanted to be passionately devoted to the election of the Democratic candidate this time out. Here we are eight weeks before the election and I am simply going to vote for him because Bush is a genuine disaster for the nation in regard to many of our most vital policy areas. Kerry would be better but marginally enough that he will probably never get the chance. How pathetic it is that we can spend a billion dollars on this campaign to find out that fear is the governing emotion in our politics today. We are a nation losing our grip on reality and this election season has underlined that fact.

Oil is a real burgeoning problem for the economies of the Western Democracies, there are a lot of words written about that issue every day now. It is hard to deny that importing oil is a problem for this nation, look at our balance of payments deficit and it becomes obvious to all but the most intransigent believers in the stupid idea that deficits don’t matter.
Pete Peterson who was our Secretary of Commerce under Richard Nixon points out just how much they do matter in his recent book “Running On Empty”. But the most masterful of the deficit builders in our recent political history, George W Bush, will be kept in office because the fear factor is greater than our common sense today.

Deeper than that is the underlying fact that our foreign policy has been shaped for decades not by our desire to export democracy but by our growing dependence on foreign sources of energy, particularly oil. Yes we fought Communism to a standstill by creating more effective warriors in Afghanistan. Russia was crumbling economically before that war sent it sliding down to the place where the only possible response was to change their system. Now Putin is dictator over the remaining parts of the Soviet Empire in all except the term applied to him by his captive press. Russia is a major supplier of oil to the world and its stores of oil and natural gas are going to last for at least thirty years. It is still our greatest threat and the greatest threat to the world with its increasingly decrepit stock of nuclear weapons atop aging rockets aimed at our cities.

We are afraid Al Queda will get one nuke and use it on us. Russia still has thirty thousand warheads aimed in our direction but we are doing nothing to reduce that number, it defies logic. Kerry can’t even come out with a clear statement about the deficiencies of Bush’s disarmament policies and the clarity of his own and be heard over the fear of terrorism. If anyone thinks that Russia, and particularly the old members of the KGB that are in power there, has given up its dreams of world dominance they are fools. We are now running down the path to future economic disaster with our combined deficits of over a trillion dollars a year. The cold war cost was a saunter compared to this combined set of follies. Meanwhile Russia’s economy is growing because of its oil and gas exports to Europe. How long will it take before we are weak enough economically to really suffer an economic disaster that weakens our ability to support our military at the level we do today? It will take less than four more years at this pace.

Now I am terrified, but not of the terrorists, of our own dedication to spending ourselves into an economic hole that more than one generation will have to work to fill in. A trillion dollars a year, think of it for a minute. That is how much debt we are creating for our nation by buying all of those cheap foreign goods and oil by the SUV full and spending more tax money than we take in each year. Yes free trade is good for the economy, but is it going to kill our golden goose by overfeeding it in the short term? Many more educated men and women than I believe it will under the current policy structure. Fear means we will not be changing those policies any time soon.

More than anything else I am saddened by the fact that we are now both willing to believe and being led into believing that these are somehow not tax dollars we are spending in our deficit spending spree. Bush has raised the taxes on every future generation of citizens here by raising the national debt. Sometime in the future these debts will have to be paid, that is an inescapable fact of life. How are we going to pay them? By collecting taxes, is it that hard to understand? The trillion or more additional dollars tacked on to our national debt by the Bush II deficits means having to pay interest on that many dollars and interest rates are still low, what will happen when they rise above ten percent by the end of this decade? Now that coming tax bill is something to fear if you are middle class and hanging on by the tips of your fingers like so many families are today. But we are too afraid of the terrorists to see that problem coming.

Today we have a seven trillion three hundred billion dollar national debt. It will hit ten trillion dollars early in the next decade by the most conservative estimates. At ten percent interest, which is in the lower range of possible interest rates we will be paying by then, we will be spending a trillion dollars a year on interest alone. With a twelve trillion dollar economy that interest alone will consume any reasonable level of economic growth. It leaves nothing for income expansion for any class of citizens in this nation and it will get worse from that point onward. Bush wants to talk about an ownership society but he knows what he has guaranteed our children is actually ownership of a huge debt growing grander every year. Fear that! It is the most real threat we face today, and it is of our own making! God bless and keep you all safe as our debt rises and rises and rises. ©Henri Reynard/GoldenBrush Interactive

Posted by Henri Reynard at September 19, 2004 11:54 AM