Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fear-mongering 101




















Apparently Congresswoman Virginia Foxx represents the most timid district in the nation. To hear her tell it, her constituents are all cowering indoors, "fearful, frightened and afraid." The clip, here, could also be used as Exhibit A for term limits.

9 comments:

Mark said...

This further aggravates by political cynicism. My new voting strategy is to vote against the incumbent regardless of party.

John said...

not a bad plan, Mark.

Kirk said...

...nothing to fear but fear itself...

John said...

I'm afraid so...

James the Thickheaded said...

So you disagree with her style (yes), her politics (probably but I don't know them), or her conclusion that congress is the problem (no, I think she got that right but probably for the wrong reason)? I think in a country where less than a third vote, and that therefore a "majority" is something like 51% of 33% which is about 17% of the total, the contention that you have the will of the people expressed in and and through this body is problematic at best and more like a joke. There's a reason these guys don't want the schools to work, huh? When this results in money speaking louder than voting because somehow money determines elections or leads to reversing them, I think we have a serious distortion. And if this sort of thing is seen as inconveniencing only the other 16% who "lost" the election, then pretty much anything seems "okay", and the will of the people isn't thwarted. Great to run a country on no harm no foul. Huh?

So with that preface, I have long wanted Congressmen to dress like NASCAR drivers in jump suits with their sponsor labels clearly identified. This should be required attire for all public appearances... even on the floor. I'm not alone in this... you see folks referring to folks: Chris Dodd (D - Wall Street) and Barney Frank (D - Citibank). Now if only we can figure out how to red flag these guys when there's an accident or ought to be one, how to spray them with fire extinguishers when they need it... or better... when WE need it...then we're getting somewhere. Oh, and I'd love to require the President to meet weekly with Congress for a little public Q&A like the Brits do with Parliament and the PM... I love the catcalls from the gallery that seem to let off some steam. And then I'd radically shift our voting methods from our legacy of presumed aristocratic landed wealth to something more reflective of how life and economic interests really work in the "modern" world and vote by Estates. Yes it'd be a collasal failure... but it'd be a democratic failure rather than this charade or masquerade. But I digress from my radical agenda...LOL.

Until then, I think the problem with term limits is we only gave it one shot to work... which is by itself a pretty lame attempt at reform. "Oh... that didn't work. I'm done. Reform's off. Where's my bag man?" Gee... that was handy.

IMHO, we clearly need reform far more fundamental to re-invigorate public life first. Otherwise, term limits just reduce the pool of unacceptable candidates to those least likely to feel constrained by their oaths and fealties of office.

Okay... what was in MY coffee this morning? Hmmm. Sorry 'bout that.

John said...

JtTH,

On one level, I disagree with her demagoguery, fear-mongering, and simplistic, inflammatory rhetoric. On another level, I take strong exception to her use of the “fear narrative” that plagues our nation, having almost totally replaced the “victimization narrative.”

I don’t have anything against the Representative from Mayberry (Her district includes Mt. Airy, NC, the model for Mayberry. She is also a dead-ringer for the character actress who played Howard Sprague’s mother in the later, and lame, Andy Griffith episodes. But I digress.) I’m sure her grandchildren love her. I had no knowledge of her other than this clip and a recent broadcast of her at the Capitol steps protest, standing behind loony Michelle Bauchman, nodding in agreement.

That said, I found her speech to be, well, despicable. We have had no real health care “debate.” There are legitimate, principled positions that can be marshaled on either side. Instead, we have a lot of sloganeering and fear-mongering, primarily from Ms. Foxx’s side of the aisle. I wonder when we became such a fearful nation? I find that we are afraid of most everything and everybody, and it permeates nearly every aspect of contemporary American culture, from the way we live our daily lives to how we conduct foreign policy and wage war. And now, according to Ms. Foxx, we are supposed to fear government health care. Good Lord. I am suspicious of all this rhetoric about “fearing” for the lost of our freedoms, etc. Most of these people seem to be merely tax-cranks writ large (and believe me, there is nothing more boring than a crowd of tax-cranks.) In my opinion, the root of their “fear” is the apprehension of some of "their" stuff being taken (taxed) and used for the benefit of others. All this flag-waving and talk about freedoms, individualism, etc. masks a inherent selfishness, in my opinion. To say this, in no way implies an assurance in this government as our salvation, either.

I own a small family business. I pay for my own insurance. I have a pre-existing condition (cancer). Last month I saw my insurance premium increase 35%. So, I have a vital interest in this issue.

I found Ms. Foxx’s comments to be without any redeeming value. They will play well in her district and in her re-election bid. I am sure they reflect the sentiments of her constituents. Compared to my representative, she is the very soul of discretion. So, my complaint is not with her, but with us, and the people we have become. And I’m just drinking Maxwell House.

James the Thickheaded said...

I'd agree that the "fear" demogoguery thing gets overused.... and I see it on both sides. It's almost as overused as calling everyone we disagree with a Nazi... as if we even have a real understanding of that any more.

Agree 100% on the small biz insurance thing: Let's see, my taxes go up so my insurance company can make more money for doing less when they jack my premiums 25%. Exactly how did I benefit from this supposed contingency - the promise to NOT pay? Secret is they want to shift us out of the existing structure and into the limited benefit plans... so they're pricing it to force cancellation or force you to another carrier... who...surprise... won't cover pre-existing conditions for a period of time (at least) or will cost almost as much. I'd call that forced rationing. There's really few problems with a new system that the old doesn't already have in truth... and the greater accountability of the private system is in serious question.

ealusaidghille said...

James and John, thank you! I needed a good laugh today and your commentaries have let me know that I am not alone in my sentiments.

TJ said...

I'm in her district. She talks Gingrich-Rove party line, has no mind of her own, represents republicans. She might be dumber than Palen, but better at saying nothing in a lot of words.