(November 11, 2002 // link)
There are many lessons that need to be taken from the slaughter experienced by Democrats in the last elections. For New Hampshire Democrats, the easy lesson is that there will be no income tax. Beyond that, the message is a lot bigger.
The Democratic party got creamed in local, state and federal elections because they failed to get out a consistent message. It is not accurate to say that they didn’t have a message, they simply lacked the courage necessary to get that message out after September 11, 2001.
Immediately after September 11, we began to search for an enemy to blame. Democrats let themselves be bullied into not asking critical questions for fear of being labeled unpatriotic, or worse, anti-American – worse yet, they stopped asking difficult questions about why the world beyond our formerly safe shores does not share our world view. Fear is the reason. Fear of backlash or repercussion, fear of losing power or stature and fear of entering the debate.
On election day, people voted out of fear, reacting to a world that has changed too fast. Wall Street is jittery and a sniper roaming around the nation’s capital made a whole nation uneasy. A new department of homeland security had to be created to stop terrorists before they strike again. A vote for a Republican was a vote for the status quo. Democrats could only allude to the fact that the Republican message was wrong. We weren’t brave enough to tell it like it is: that our view of ourselves must change before anything else can.
Since the recent election, I have watched with interest as small, independent oil companies complain that they will be cut out of a share of Iraqi oil by larger multinational companies. They are lobbying for government support in making claims to oil in a sovereign country. I bet they get it. Let’s not forget that we have not even begun the fight and we are already talking about dividing the spoils. We are fighting over the carcass, without even mentioning terrorism, the pretense under which we began this modern crusade.
We are going to invade Iraq and young boys and girls will die. This is all so that we can continue to drive big cars and blow-dry our hair. Our insatiable appetite for foreign oil is not going to improve our image among those Arab populations who are disenfranchised, resentful and angry. We are making a mistake of epic proportions.
President Bush will not call for the development of an energy efficient car or alternative energy program to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The press will not explore the connections between war, oil, terrorism and American business to the extent that they should.
It’s all about fear, and where fear inhibits our participation in government, terror reigns.