Fear Took Center Stage in GOP Debate

Last night the GOP held their fifth debate. The moderators directed the debate towards foreign policy and ISIS. The candidates directed the debate towards fear.

Politicians like to use fear as a tool to pass policies. When they cannot convince Americans to support a policy through logic and reason, they turn to emotions. Politicians use fear as a means of persuasion as opposed to truth or logic.

  1. After 9/11 politicians scared Americans into supporting the Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act trampled on the 4th amendment rights of Americans by allowing spying on all Americans.
  2. The politicians also used the fear from 9/11 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This tore up the 5th Amendment, as the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens. That’s right, an American citizen, in America, can be imprisoned without being able to speak to a lawyer and without being charged for as long as the government wishes to hold that citizen.
  3. In the aftermath of San Bernardino, Obama has used fear to try to convince Americans to give away their 2nd Amendment rights.
  4. FDR used American’s fear of Japanese during WWII to justify detention of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans.

In last night’s GOP debate the candidates did not hesitate to use fear to make their points. Chris Christie started the fear mongering in his opening statement,

“Think about the effect that, that’s going to have on those children when they go back to school tomorrow wondering filled with anxiety to whether they’re really going to be safe.”

Christie is telling us to elect him because our children are scared. Something that provokes fear in every parent. While Christie said what American needs is strength several times last night, he is showing his cowardly personality by trying to exploit the fears of American parents for political gain. 

Bush, not to be outdone, also uses his opening statement to spread fear, “[We need to] to destroy ISIS before it destroys us.”

This is Bush trying to scare us into voting for him. ISIS has no ability to destroy America, ISIS has no navy or airforce. ISIS cannot get an army to America, but posing ISIS as an existential threat to America may help Jeb add a few votes.

Marco Rubio was the next candidate to scare the viewers with this statement,

“This [ISIS] is the most sophisticated terror group that has ever threatened the world or the United States of America.”

This statement is likely untrue. ISIS did not come to power through ability, but as a result of the power vacuum American created with our interventions in the Middle East. However, the more afraid of ISIS Americans are the better it will be for Marco. If Marco can convince the American people that ISIS is the worst terror group ever, than he can get Americans to support policies that will take more freedoms away from Americans.  

Ted Cruz also took his turn to scare the American people. Cruz said, ” ISIS and Iran have declared war on America.”

This statement leads viewers to believe Iran and ISIS are working together, a scary thought for most Americans. However, Iran has moved towards normalizing its relationship with America in the past few months. Iranian troops are also fighting ISIS in Iraq, so it would have been more accurate to say, Iran has declared war on ISIS.

Leading Americans to believe ISIS and Iran are working together against America, will make Americans more likely to accept Cruz’s plan to beat ISIS. At the beginning of December, Cruz said,

“We will carpet bomb them into oblivion…I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

It sounds like Cruz is suggesting is America should use nuclear weapons of ISIS targets. Using these weapons will no doubt kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  Americans will only accept this tragic idea if they are terrified.

As always, Trump was not outdone by his colleagues last night. Trump said,

“Our country doesn’t win anymore. We don’t win on trade. We don’t win on the military. We can’t defeat ISIS.”

Trump’s goal is to make Americans so scared of ISIS they are willing to sell their souls. Last night Trump advocated for shutting down areas of the internet, bombing the innocent family members of terrorists, and banning Muslims for entering the US. No doubt all the fear Trump created in Americans will help him to put these policies in place.

Fear is a very powerful weapon. By preying on the emotions of the American people you can have them accept and even encourage barbaric policies.  This happened to Ben Carson last night, when he agreed he was tough enough to be the commander-in-chief that orders the deaths of thousands of children.  If we continue to let politicians scare us, then we will be willing to commit any crime to ease our fears.

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