Washington, DC. Republicans may not have any new ideas or policies that would benefit the middle class. They may not have any candidates that appeal to Blacks, Latinos, the LGBT community, union workers, young people or single women. But yet there they are, poised to take control of the Senate, retain the House and make President Obama's last two years in office an exercise in abject futility, while gleefully euthanizing anything that even smells a bit like progressivism.
What is their secret? Well, besides heavily gerrymandered districts and SCOTUS-backed voter suppression, it's really not a secret and it's nothing new. It is the exact same thing they have enticed voters with for years: unreasoning, slobbering, paralyzing fear.
This is brilliant, because there's always something to be afraid of, and apparently about half of us are ridiculously easy to terrify. In fact, one of the first tenets of conservativism is to be fearful of that scariest monster under the bed of them all: change. Yes, Obama's campaign slogan alone was enough to cause millions of Republicans nationwide to piss in their pants at the same time.
Of course there is nothing scarier for Republicans than a Black president. That is change at its very worst. It smacks of equality and puts the unhealthy notion in the heads of little Black kids everywhere that they, too, might be able to rise above their predetermined station in life and succeed. At anything.
But there's always more than race to send Republicans scurrying under the bed in blind, convulsive terror. Gays are going to ruin marriage, and of course bring about the downfall of Western civilization. Never mind that they helped mightily in building it. Or that Christianity is under siege. I remember one church bombing. It was committed by people who called themselves Christians. Or Obamacare is going to turn us into Socialist Europe. Cool! Do we get wine with breakfast? Or that the Democrats are going to take your guns away. I wish they would. People suffering with delusions and paranoia should not be heavily armed. But they won't.
Then there are those very frightening brown-skinned people way over there in countries most of us can't find on a map that practice the wrong religion and don't seem to appreciate us slaughtering them for no particularly good reason. Republicans are convinced that any one of these barely functioning Western constructs is poised for World Domination and that every petty despot is the second coming of ol' Adolph.
Which is why Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is convinced that ISIS "could infiltrate our defenseless border and attack us right here in places like Arkansas." Sure. I can just hear al-Baghdadi telling his few thousand irregulars, "Today Little Rock, tomorrow the world!"
Now of course we have the horrifying Ebola virus to complete the nightmare scenario Republicans love to masturbate to. And even though Rush Limbaugh has had more wives than we've had infected patients, Rep. Tom Tillis (R-NC) says that "We've got an Ebola outbreak...we need to seal the border and secure it!"
Note to Border Sealers: The United States shares 5,525 miles of border with Canada. We share 1,989 miles with Mexico. And just for shits and giggles, we have 95,471 miles of coastline. And your plan is?
It doesn't matter. It's all about the fear. It's all about herding their cowardly base to the polls. It doesn't have to make sense. There is no real action required, or any to be taken. It's just about making stupid people believe they'll die if they don't vote for you.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. And fear itself is all the Republicans need.
©2014 Kona Lowell
You can hear a reading of this blog every Sunday at 9 AM Central at Brass Knuckle Progressives Radio.