Marching Backwards: The Spectacle of Fear

By John Cory
Posted by (

Everything old is new again.

It may be 2009 but the rhetoric is strictly 1950 when a man held up a sheet of paper and declared, “I have here in my hand a list of names …”
Glenn Beck is not original, nor was Joe McCarthy. The “red scare” of McCarthyism was merely the recycled red scare of the 1920’s, when Attorney General Mitchell Palmer and his right-hand assistant, J. Edgar Hoover, conducted warrantless raids on union halls and labor organizations deemed socialists or communists for their suspected anti-American, anti-corporate beliefs.

Each time the “red scare” gets trotted out, new laws are passed that ever so gently and ever so patriotically encroach on the integrity of freedom and individual liberties of our citizens. They bear great names like the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Espionage Act, loyalty oaths and investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and the Patriot Act. Each labels “the enemies of the state” and warns that our government, our very way of life, is in jeopardy of utter collapse unless we act immediately and act strongly against the influences of liberalism corrupting the very fabric of American life. The Constitution is hanging by a thread.

And what is accomplished?

The “Palmer raids” resulted in thousands of our fellow citizens being held without trial and hundreds deported on the flimsiest of innuendo, or worse, on the principle that they actually practiced their First Amendment rights and therefore were considered a danger to America.
McCarthyism turned neighbor against neighbor and friendship into a weapon of false allegation and fear mongering that took away jobs of an estimated ten thousand people and sent hundreds of others to jail and ruination. For all the hype and shouting, the end result was to add “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance so we could tell a godless communist from a god-fearing American. Was that what William F.
Buckley meant when he wrote this? “McCarthyism is a movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks.”
Now there is a new fuss generated by an article at NEWSMAX, advocating that the military overthrow President Obama with a bloodless coup to restore America to its true glory and power. Even that is not original. Barely past a hundred days in office, FDR was the target of a coup revealed by Gen. Smedley Butler after having been approached by “agents of Wall Street” financed by the Du Pont family, General Motors and Chase National Bank, among others, to use a veterans organization as the front for the overthrow of the New Deal and President Roosevelt.

The spectacle of fear is not new. Whether financed by Wall Street or organized by FOX News, fear is the product being sold for the sole purpose of maintaining power and control by those who themselves fear the power of the people. And that includes today’s mendacious media that see themselves as the “stars” in this political circus while collecting thirty pieces of silver for entertaining the public and betraying the people.

Fear is the root of hate and bigotry and racism. It drives the mob to build internment camps and free speech zones and segregated facilities. It sets fire to books and thoughts and people who would challenge the darkness. It seeks to paralyze the vision seeker and the dreamer. Fear is the flame that ignites war and genocide and collateral damage. But most of all – fear is the tool of demagogues and tyrants who offer themselves up as our red white and blue champions with the promise of salvation for one easy payment of obedient servitude. Fear is never free.

The GOP is nothing more than the recycled fearmongering of a hundred years ago. A party that would march us backward with banners flying and Hosannas shouted while people die from fear of health care reform or corporate regulation or the fresh oxygen of science and climate change.

During the coal strikes of 1902, mine owner George Baer, when urged to make concessions to the labor unions, wrote, “the rights and interests of the laboring man will be protected and cared for – not by the labor agitators, but by the Christian men to whom God in His infinite wisdom has given the control of the property interests of the country.”

Those are familiar words with a familiar sentiment. Is 1902 the same as 2009? The GOP and Glenn Beck and talk radio would have you think so.

Where Franklin Roosevelt took America into his confidence and told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself, the GOP whispers in the dark, “Be very afraid.”

Where JFK inspired us to ask what we could do for America, the GOP warns us that government must be feared.

Where Edward R. Murrow exhorted us to not walk in fear of one another, the GOP promotes suspicion.

Where Dr. King gave us a dream of diversity, the GOP rips us apart with fear of equal belonging.

Everything old is new again.

The GOP clutches fear in its tiny fists because it is all it has. It is the touchstone. It is not even original. Darkness never is.

So, Democrats, tell me again – what exactly are you afraid of?

John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 – 1970.(Posted by

Share This Post

One Comment - Write a Comment

  1. New World Order or One World Gov't is the "elites" agenda and ultimate goal, in order to enslave us all!

    9/11 was one of the pretext in taking away our rights as a free citizen of the world!

Comments are closed.