Monday, August 20, 2007

Peddling Fear

I don't pay much attention to the goings-on in the political arena. Not that I don't care-I do. I'm reasonably well-informed, I vote, and I do my part to "lobby" for those issues I feel warrant my lobby.

But I realized today that, over the past year or so, I've made a subconscious decision to ignore, and otherwise disregard, politicians, their political wranglings, and virtually all of the political pundits (including columnists, writers, talk-show hosts, and-yes, even bloggers) who nip about at the heals of politicians, looking for their scrap of meat to take away from the table, and lord over.

I was on the Internet, and somehow found my way to Arianna Huffington's blog. For those of you who've not read it, I encourage you to continue ignoring it. Not because it's rubbish-some of what she (or the various other writers there) write is actually decent. But it's overwhelmingly depressing. I found myself on the blog, and began to read the top post, and found my spirits plummeting. So I clicked the "back" button on my browser, and tried another; same result. After about four or five tries, I came to a post that perfectly explains how I feel. The post title: "When Did the Future Go From Being a Promise to Being a Threat?" I'll be honest with you: I didn't even get past the title.

Because the title says it all. I had this realization: politicians feel the desperate need to validate themselves (and the work they do). So they peddle the theory that they are there to "hold the line" against the various forces-both natural and man-made-that are working to degrade our environment. They sell the idea that we need them, or else life, as we now know it, will cease to exist. We need them-to ensure our children can grow up, comfortable, educated and well taken care of. We need them-to protect us from enemies-real and imagined, here and abroad. We need them-to make sure we don't get sick or overweight; and if we do, to make us well and help us lose weight. We need them-to take care of our children when we go to work, and our parents when they can't remember what toilet paper is used for. We need them-to take care of us if we lose our job, or simply choose not to work. And we need them-to manipulate those things needing manipulation-so that we don't all lose money in the stock market. We need them, we need them, we need them...

And we're lulled into a state of dependence. But more frightening than that is that politics becomes a sort of drug. Because, at some point, we start believing this rubbish. And we find ourselves afraid of the what the future might hold. And then some politician somewhere says the right things, soothes the right nerves, and we breathe a collective sigh of relief, and subconsciously thank our lucky stars that we no longer have to worry about that; it's under control!

What a pathetic cycle. And I guess that I've, subconsciously, elected to break it's hold on my life.

Perhaps you should try it.

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