TEXAS FAITH: Why does fear sell on the campaign trail?

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TEXAS FAITH: Why does fear sell on the campaign trail?
Nov 02, 2010 | | Dallas Morning News

William McKenzie/ Editorial Columnist

By the time this Texas Faith question is posted on Tuesday, voters will be at the polls and the election outcome will be only a few hours away. Americans will soon know who controls one or more houses of Congress. Plus, Texans will know who will serve as their governor for the next four years.

Of course, this was another election during which fear played a big role. Nationally, Democrats  tried to scare voters into thinking Republicans were going to mess with their Social Security and Republicans tried to demonize President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  . In Texas, Republicans tried to scare voters into thinking Bill White was weak on illegal immigrants, while Democrats tried to paint Rick Perry as a man who was in love with power.

Putting aside your own political views, which perhaps lead you to agree with some of these claims, help the rest of us understand why this point: Why does fear play such a big role in our elections?

For example, is there something deep within our psyches and/or souls that responds to fear, perhaps in a way that we are unaware? Or is it that fear sells and strategists know it? Or is it something else?

I’m sure we’d all like to think elections play to our better angels. But they often don’t. Help us understand why.

Read on for some very interesting replies, including ideas about how the brain works.
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, DallasFear has been ingrained into our psyche from the moment we had a chance to life. Darwin proclaimed the universal truth, “Survival of the fittest,” though his reference was to survival of the species; it is indeed applicable in political, social, religious, cultural and other contexts.

Our journey began fighting for life with millions of fellow sperms who competed with us, every one of them withered. You and I have survived and made it to the end, to the egg and to the point of reading this note. Thus our DNA is stamped with fear. We must have been the fittest of all the millions of sperms to have survived to share our story.

The fear of elimination continues and we will be competing for just about everything in life; attention from loved ones to converting others to our point of view to gaining a majority in the Senate or House.

Fear is tapped by both the right and left among politicians to attain a sense of security and to preserve the values they espouse to work for the society. If moderates were to reign, co-existence rather than fear would play a key role in the elections.

The right wingers fear erosion of their values or at worst an end to their ‘normal’ life. They have become adept in cranking up imaginary fears and then assuring with ‘fake’ confidence that “we will fix it,” thereby giving hope to the ‘frightened ones”. The net result is often no real change.

The left perceives the same threat to their freedom and liberties. They seek change and venture into the unknown territory of experimentation, often giving doubtful confidence. They frighten the right, netting in a zero result.

Religion uplifts one from sheer animal instincts to figure out co-existence. Most people get the religion right and a few don’t. Those who get it right find deprogramming of their fears in achieving Nirvana, Moksha, Nijaat,Mukti, Salbation or freedom.

Those who don’t get it right, live in eternal anxiety. Religion underwrites protection for the vulnerable moments and works as insurance that blankets us all in a safety net.

We need to understand that our security does not hinge on big corporations, Republicans or Democrats but sane individuals who can balance the budget, create jobs and prevent wars. We need to demand commitments from the politicians and hold them accountable for their focus on the well being of Americans for today, tomorrow and for the next seven generations. As Americans, our loyalty should be to our system of governance and not to the parties and we can truly make this government of people for the people by us. Let your vote count, vote today

For full report: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/11/texas-faith-why-does-fear-sell.html

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About Mike Ghouse

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker and the Executive Director of the Center for Pluralism in Washington, DC. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikeghouse/