I have a love/hate relationship with talk-radio – the only form of media that conservatives can rightly claim dominance over. I love to listen to it while driving around in my car while screaming at those talk-radio conservative crack-pots that are so easy to hate, like Rush Limbaugh. Of course I know that Rush and his many clones in talk-radio cannot hear me, but my reaction to their ignorance is something that I cannot control. They just incite so much anger inside of me that I still continue to hold onto the hope that one day, they will hear me screaming at them through my speakers and just shut up. So, one can imagine my amazement when I was driving in New York visiting my parents and my fantasy finally came true. A Rush clone was on the radio, I started screaming, and the radio went dead. I had shut them up! Or had I?
As it turns out, my feat over the right-wing radio can be attributed to nothing more than the “Great Blackout of 2003.” However, while my small personal victory was cut short, a larger one was headed my way. When the power finally came back on and I was able to get to a television I saw something that absolutely amazed me. On TV I saw people in New York City actually reacting calmly to a blackout that could have easily disconnected their city from civility. You see, while I expected to see urbanites looting darkened stores and setting the streets ablaze, I was in shock to see pictures on my TV that showed just the opposite occurring.
After seeing NYC’s reaction to the blackout, I had to ask myself what caused me to fear the worse for them? Then I realized that against my will, I had been brainwashed by talk-radio and, worst of all, the conservative movement as a whole. According to conservatives I often hear squawking, NYC should have gone to hell when the power went out. People in NYC accept gays, are not the most God-fearing folk, pay high taxes, and, the ultimate sin, are predominantly liberal. From all I hear from conservatives, NYC will be, and should have been during the blackout, the epicenter of the apocalypse.
Fortunately for America, the fears that conservatives instill in Americans to get their votes have a tendency of being completely untrue. Take the current war with Iraq for example. Have we found those weapons of mass destruction? Absolutely not. Have we curbed terrorism due to our efforts in Iraq? I don’t think so. And yet, the conservative leader of the American Empire, George “dubbya” Bush, predicated the entire war on the fear of WMD’s and terrorism.
Then you’ve got people in the conservative movement like Senator Rick Santorum who fears that gay marriage would destroy the institution of marriage. In fact, Ricky would like to blame gays for a wide-range of things, including the degradation of the family and bestiality. As Bob Barr, a former conservative congressman, points out in a recent Washington Post op-ed – the family is falling apart not because of gays but because “the kernel of basic morality in America – the two-parent nuclear family – has eroded under the influence of the ‘me’ generation, which has left us with an astronomical divorce rate and a tragic number of hurting families across the country.” While I do not agree entirely with Bobby, at least he does not use gays as a scapegoat to explain problems with the families his sexuality created. Did Ricky even pay attention in history class when they talked about Hitler and using fear and scapegoating for political gain?
This fear mongering is also presented by the likes of Ann Coulter. In her recent book, she actually defends McCarthyism, which should come as no surprise as he was a politician who built a career on fear, and she also claims that liberals have bad sex. Wow, just when you think conservatives cannot get any lower, they make you scared of being a liberal because it will cause you to have bad sex.
I could go on, but I am not going to. I now have more than enough reason to rip the damn speakers out of my car before I need a lobotomy. I guess the only thing to fear is fear itself.
-The writer, a junior majoring in human services, is a Hatchet columnist.