Noting Arianna"s post that we need an "epidemic of fearlessness" to counteract Fearmonger-In-Chief George W. Bush- as well as today's debut of the HuffPo's new Becoming Fearless section, I thought of at least a couple of fear-driven women I have dated.
These were women whose behaviors and life situations should have made them more receptive to socially liberal argumentation. Their problems were they were so pre-wired with the fear gene they were (and sadly, still are) susceptible to panic attacks with each hyped up Orange Alert or "what if" scenario posited by a right-wing radio talk show host or Fox News "analyst."
One was a woman who I will call Rose. She had a daughter who was a single parent, and was struggling to raise her six-year-old son on a near-minimum wage. Yet rather than vote for candidates that would raise that minimum wage and enact universal health care that would ensure coverage for her daughter and her grandson, Rose was a fear-driven conservative.
I remember dropping by to pick her up one evening not long after 9/11. Rose she said she just saw on Fox News that Bin Laden had nuclear weapons. Probably that professional alarmist Josef Bodansky, who was spreading that assessment all over the airwaves for several months after 9/11. I told her that no, others say Osama doesn't have nukes.
Then later that evening as we went downtown to catch a movie, she heard a plane on its normal approach path to our airport, and visibly shook in horror at the possibility the plane was flying low and would hit a building just like other planes hit the World Trade Center a couple of months earlier.
There was this other woman who I will call Shelley. For awhile she was getting panic attacks when she approached a famous bridge because she heard warnings about Al-Qaeda truck bumbs on Sean Hannity or Michael Savage. And in May 2004, when Ashcroft delivered his final terror alert, I tried to tell Shelley this is the same Administration that thought there were WMDs and appeared to be playing the disinformation card. No, she said. Iraq is a big country, of course there are WMDs and we'll find them eventually.
Shelley is one of those women that has an extensive history with men, and frankly, needs not only excellent contraception but a Plan B rooted in legality. She says she is pro-choice but voted for the anti-choice candidate in 2004. That'd be the candidate who is one Supreme Court appointment away from overturning Roe. Why? "Well, I don't agree with everything he (GWB) says, but he has kept us safe."
So what exactly is it, that turns fear-prone women into unwitting but willing dupes of the neocon fear machine?
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. After all, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," a 2003 study of nearly 23,000 participants, found that "uncertainty avoidance" and "fear" were, according to the report's authors, "psychological factors (that) are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination."
More than two years have passed since the latest of those adventures. You know what? I won't date any more fear-driven conservative women. They aren't worth the trouble.