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Ira Israel Headshot

Fearless Politics

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"There are only two responses to the world, fear or love. Your life depends on which one you choose." Deepak Chopra.

"Fear is the absence of love." Osho

I often hear Republicans complaining about their tax "burden" due to "big government." However, I rarely see them marching down streets (paid for with tax dollars) holding signs that read "Close Public Roads!" "No More Police!" "End Public Libraries!" "Dismantle the Armed Forces!" "Stop Maintaining Bridges!" "End Unemployment Insurance!" "No More Street Lights!" "Screw the Food and Drug Administration!" or "We Can Put Out Our Own Dang Fires!"

Each state collects taxes in order to pay for myriad things such as public education. What would be the consequence -- the real cost -- of cutting funding for our schools? Well, obviously the more uneducated, unemployable, curious, bored 10-22 year olds meandering around our streets might cause crimes rates to rise. Police are paid for by taxes also -- right? So if you think it is in your self-interest NOT to pay taxes then please consider the alternative: your bank account will be marginally larger but there will be gangs of teenagers marauding around your neighborhood with no policemen to control or arrest them. Or, you could have your government borrow money now to pay for schools and police and then have your grandchildren pay for the freedoms that you enjoyed. With interest. Does that seem fair?

When Republicans say they're against big government, I often ask, "Have you considered moving to a country that isn't trying to figure out how 313 million people with 200 million guns can live together peacefully -- particularly when a growing number of them live in fear of survival?"

I cannot make the claim that Democrats are unequivocally fearless, but we certainly fear less than Republicans.

More so than Democrats, Republicans fear...

  • Governmental regulations and interventions -- except those initiated to save banks and other corporations deemed "Too Big To Fail."
  • Government funds wasted on healthcare -- but they don't want anyone to touch Medicare even if they don't want to pay taxes to fund it.
  • Sloth and torpor; they believe that Max Weber's analysis of the Protestant work ethic -- if you work hard, God will reward you with money -- still applies and getting rich at all costs remains the most accurate measure of leading "the good life."
  • People hurting them or taking things away from them and thus need guns to protect themselves.
  • Non-democratic governments; they believe that it is in the highest interest of those countries to be made into democracies so that the constituents can vote to sell their natural resources to us at low prices.
  • A woman's right to choose to have an abortion because they consider it to be murder -- yet they are in favor of the death penalty.
  • Same-sex marriage -- even in the face of disastrous failure rates for heterosexual marriages.
  • A lack of abundance; thus, people must compete for resources.
  • A caste system; they believe that America is a meritocracy and that everyone has an equal chance of success even though there is much sociological research to the contrary.
  • Challenges to their system of beliefs; they see change as a threat to their way of life.

Sometimes I dream that Republicans are going to accept my right to be in favor of universal healthcare, abortion, sustainable energy sources, social welfare programs, public schools, and same-sex marriages, and my right to be against the Military Industrial Complex, imperialism, and living in an oligarchy where 1% of the top earners have undue political influence.

But they're not.

It's clear that many tenets of Republican's ideology are based on fear. For many years, Republicans have been able to run political campaigns on as little as two words: Family Values. In case you didn't know, "Family Values" is code for white, male-dominated, Judeo-Christian, heterosexual, anti-abortion, proud descendants of Italian mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci who believe in nuclear families and nuclear bombs.

Is it possible that the old fear-based paradigm is propelling our planet and/or species into the dustbin of history? Is there not a better way to temporarily inhabit a swath of land on planet earth than by relying on nuclear families and nuclear bombs to maintain civil order?

Have we considered a "No-Party" system instead of the stale Two Party system? Why don't we live in a true representative democracy where all of us vote by our mobile phones? Why don't we have mandatory voting like in Australia? Why don't we have referenda to decide whether we want to pay taxes for silly things like clean water, the EPA, the Food and Drug Administration, hospitals, the military, roads, police and fire departments, Medicare, unemployment insurance, public education, and libraries? Why don't we eliminate Political Action Committees, Super PACs, and campaign contributions entirely? Instead, candidates could list their views on a single webpage and voters could match their own views to the candidate that best represents them.

The possibilities for a new form of government are endless once we think outside of the win-lose Republican-Democrat box.

When asked what a parent must do when his child publicly implodes amidst a bevy of drugs, prostitutes and sycophants, Martin Sheen replied, "You have to love more."

Human beings -- as well as all sentient beings and the entire eco-system -- are interdependent and can live together peacefully, safely, and even happily. We have to love more in order to demonstrate that a new paradigm is possible.

So the next time John Boehner or Rick Santorum or Donald Trump or Mitt Romney or Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann or Ted Nugent opens his or her mouth, please think to yourself, "I have to love more."

Because fear is the absence of love. And obviously if these people felt safe and loved and abundant they would not fear as much as they do.

We must be fearless.

We have to love more.