Looking back to my growing up in the Bronx in the early thirties I now realize that my life, to a certain extent, has been controlled by fear. As a young person, were I not to do what was expected of me I could expect any or all of the following to happen to me:
A verbal rebuke!
A punishment such as loss of privileges
Go to bed early
No ice cream
And a whole list of other things.
Most of all I was "instructed and educated" to be frightened. Parents and society realize that they can, to a certain extent, control people by using the "fear card."
My school, friends, relatives, and in particular my parents, controlled my behavior by setting up a series of not necessarily rational fears. To this day, when I see a cop I am scared and I'm ready to confess to anything in that fear of "the system" was inculcated into my very being.
Nearing the end of my 77th year nothing has changed for me in the fear department. All that has changed are the things that I am afraid of.
Things became worse for me in the Air Force as it was far more difficult for me to manipulate those in charge than it had been for me to "game" my parents.
In the years following the end of World War II, American people were "ready" to be afraid of something new, and was there a better "commodity" to sell us in order to make us afraid than the fear of the "Demon Communism."
Senator Joseph McCarthy and his minions created the equivalent of an advertising slogan like "have you had your soup today?" into the fearful expression asked of so many: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"
Almost sixty years ago McCarthy made a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he claimed to have a list of 205 people in the State Department who were members of the Communist party. Sure he did. Nevertheless, he realized the strength of the weapon he had which was the fear of Communism.
People learned to be afraid of Joe McCarthy and they were taught to fear those "heathen godless commies."
In the years following 9/11, America was in desperate need to be afraid of something else in that the Communist threat had gone away and the citizens of our great nation were ready to be sold on a new threat.
While 9/11 was a horrid event, it was necessary for those in power (The Bush/Cheney Manipulators) in order to have their way with us to turn 9/11 from a dastardly criminal act into a reason to take us to war in Iraq, and create "perpetual fear" as well as into a "war on Terrorism" that did not ever need to end.
It of course was the wrong war at the wrong time with the wrong country for the wrong reasons but what the hell, America was scared, the winds of fear were blowing, and the Bush Bunch could do whatever they wanted to do.
Politically, the incipient war scared the congress, and of course they could rely on those bastions of the Main Stream Media to do nothing! Do you suppose Bush had any power over GE, Disney, CBS/Viacom, Time Warner, and Rupert Murdoch?
Of course he did.
The 9/11 event was certainly "frightening" enough on the face of it, but the Bush/Cheney people who might have used the opportunity to calm the populace and prepare them to deal with criminal acts such as this chose to instill irrational fear into everyone!
Since then, we have managed to "evade" parts of our Constitution, incarcerate many without due process in that our nation has been sold the threat of Terrorism as we were sold on the threat of Communism over fifty years ago.
Members of the past administration, as well as others, continue to sell the "have you had your fear today?"
Had Bush/Cheney positioned the terrorism as a crime where the criminals needed to be apprehended and punished, it would have been difficult to "sell the Iraq War" to Americans.
Those politically motivated looked for and found a way to erode our freedoms by passing, (drum roll please
The Patriot Act, among other legislation. Oppose the Patriot Act? Of course not.
Joseph R McCarthy in the fifties tried to irresponsibly scare the crap out of us all. Thus, our newly formed awards committee has decided to "name" our award in his "honor."
We will give this award to an individual who is able to get on television often enough to frighten the population and alert it to the enormous dangers of a terrorist threat while at the same time re-writing history in order to glorify the Bush/Cheney years and how they kept America safe. Of course they have forgotten for obvious reasons that 9/11 happened under their watch.
The McCarthy Award bears the following inscription:
For outstanding and unequaled Demagoguery in the year 2009, by placing self interest ahead of the best interests of the citizens of our country. Your performance was the best, and you did what you did by utilizing the delivery of hate and divisiveness using the systems of Television and the Internet to divide our country. You use lies and duplicity beyond what one would expect from a politician in or out of office.
The presentation of the Award should include the words of the Army's Chief counsel Joseph Welch to Senator McCarthy of: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last. Have you no sense of decency?
Those nominated for this year's award to date are Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney.
Nominations close on July 1st.