The Paradigm of Hope & Illegitimate Fear in Politics
There is a distinct difference between a healthy fear, and an unhealthy fear. To put it simply, the fear of lung cancer as caused by smoking is a healthy fear, whereas nephophobia, the fear of clouds, is not. Healthy fears motivate us to get an annual check-up, eat nutritious foods, and exercise. Unhealthy fears only cause us anxiety and worry, and can eventually lead to heart disease. Rarely do we react to long-term threats with vigor because this far-off situation does not seem pressing; however, when the fight-or-flight response kicks in when we are faced with a dangerous situation like a bear attack, we react immediately. Many modern political pundits create an overabundance of short-term fears merely to push people toward their own political goals.
When President Obama was still president-hopeful and Senator Obama, one of the things that was attractive about him was that he chose to portray a hopeful image of our future, instead of a dark and gloomy one. Hope is a quality my mother and grandmother instilled in me from a very young age, for it is the lifeblood of a happy future. Fear begets more fear. Fear causes people to hand over their freedoms, make misguided decisions, mistrust and scapegoat. Fear can make a person settle for something ill-conceived, instead of fighting for what he believes in.
After observing the tactics of the right-wing media and candidates, it became apparent that their most widely-used technique applied to this very concept of unhealthy fear. While I came up with the idea for this short article a few weeks ago, the video embedded above illustrates this very concept of hope versus illegitimate fear. When I bear witness to our leaders using tactics rooted in optimism, I cannot help but feel that voters will be more receptive, and choose the road that is emblazoned in hope and representative of progress, and not fear and paranoia.