The Republican Path to the Dark Side

"Fear," a great Jedi master named Yoda once said, “leads to anger,” which leads to hate, which leads to suffering, which, of course, leads to the Dark Side.

And while Yoda’s warning was directed at the long ago problems of a galaxy, far, far away, we’d do well to take it in stride right now in America in 2015.

That’s because fear has reached an absolute fever pitch in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks, and, as last night’s Republican debate showed, it’s taking our politics into a dark and very disturbing place.

When the candidates weren’t coming up with fun and unique ways to start World War III, they were debating whether or not Muslim human beings deserved rights like other human beings, and talking about ISIS like it’s an army of zombie Nazis on steroids that owns its very own Death Star.

The conversation was apocalyptic, bizarre, and terrifying.

In other words, it went down exactly the way Republicans wanted it to go down.

They’ve always used fear to win elections.

Whether it’s fear of gay people getting married, fear of the government taking away the people’s guns, or fear of black men, they’ve always understood that fear works to motivate their white base.

Fear works because it appeals to our basic animal instinct to stay safe, and it makes the simplest, stupidest, and most downright evil solutions sound smart.

This is great for Republicans because they don’t have any real solutions, but it’s awful for our democracy and keeps us from having an honest conversation about the things that are really hurting our country.

Terrorism is a real problem, no one denies that, but Republicans and their enablers in the media are blowing it way out of proportion.

There’s no reason Americans should be as scared about it as they are, and according to recent polls, they’re more worried about terrorist attacks now than they have been at any time since 9/11.

This makes sense in the wake of a non-stop media and Republican scare campaign, but it’s still ridiculous in the face of, you know, facts.

The simple truth of the matter is that terrorist attacks in the United States -- especially those committed by Islamic extremists -- are very, very, very, very rare.

Since 9/11, a grand total of 93 people have been killed in terrorist attacks on American soil, and of those 93 people, the majority of them were killed by white conservative terrorists.

Could the real reason everyone is terrified of ISIS and not abortion clinic bombers be that the people who sympathize with ISIS are more often than not brown of skin and “foreign-looking”?

It seems pretty likely.

But anyways, neither jihadist terrorism nor right-wing terrorism is worth freaking out about.

Again, just 93 people have been killed in terrorist attacks on American soil in the past 14 years.

By comparison, in just one year (2013) 600,000 Americans died of heart disease, 580,000 died of cancer, and 150,000 died of respiratory diseases.

And in that same year, 130,000 people died in some kind of accident, 128,000 died of strokes, and 75,000 died of diabetes.

Oh yeah, and 57,000 people died from the flu, 47,000 died from nephrosis, and 40,000 died from suicide.

Amazing, right?

You’re honest-to-God more likely to die from the flu than you are from a terrorist attack.

And yet, there’s no special CNN debate devoted to talking about we can better immunize Americans against the flu.

Could that be because freaking out terrorism means more support for war which means more military adventures abroad which means more money in the pockets of defense contractors?

Again, it seems pretty likely.

America faces many serious threats right now.

For example, tens of millions of people are still without healthcare despite Obamacare; the middle-class is rapidly vanishing; and global warming is rapidly spiraling out of control.

And while jihadist terrorism is a problem, it’s a manageable one, and I guarantee you that if we'd listened to George Washington’s farewell address and minded our own damn business, we wouldn’t have to worry about it much longer.

If we had a mature political system with responsible parties, everyone would understand this.

But we don’t have a mature political system.

We have a political system where one party, the Republican Party, is totally and completely committed to scaring the crap out of people to get elected - so they can have access to money and power for their own purposes.

And that is something worth freaking out about, because if history tells us anything, it’s that when people are scared they’ll do pretty much anything to feel safe.

Talk about a path to the Dark Side...

Our message to the Republican Party - and their symbiotic fellow travelers in ISIL - should be simple: "We are not afraid."

And once that's said, let's get about the business of rolling back Reaganism and Clintonism and rebuilding the American middle class while being good neighbors and citizens of the world.

We've done it before, and we can do it again.


Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 14 weeks ago

Why are americans so paranoid?

Why don't you get some grit... like John Wayn

Been doing bombs and terrorist stuff for decades in other places

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 7 years 14 weeks ago

Sorry Thom! With the present candidates on any side of politics you will be damned hard pressed to roll back reagun or clitun

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 7 years 14 weeks ago

And the level of paranoia, and insanity, continues to rise. When, oh when, will we implode?

cccccttttt 7 years 14 weeks ago

Strange what captures the public's attention.

Kill 90 a day in the US by guns and its a yawn.


Kill 14 in a terrorist incident and the TV channels go ballistic.


stopgap's picture
stopgap 7 years 14 weeks ago

HEY REPUBLICANS!!! It's a presidential election; not "Wrestlemania!!

richinfolsom 7 years 14 weeks ago

The perfect storm. A reality television program, promoted more like a boxing match than an exchange between statesmen, has become center stage for millions of viewers looking for the knockout punch. The candidates reached their prominence in large part by learning the rules of the corporate manifested by the Tea Party.

Watching the debate was an exercise in patience – with both the candidates and the moderators. My thoughts are spinning with a feeling of disgust and having been insulted by the well-educated fear mongers.

Politicians or entertainers? Reagan was one of the first to successfully make the leap from a B movie star to politics. The bar has been lowered with the advent of a doctor with no political experience (why is he not in the ‘baby debate.’ Why do we even consider the ‘baby debate’ as a realistic event? Selling more commercial time, of course.)

As a child in the 60’s, in the midst of the Cold War, Vietnam, the civil rights – the assassination of the President; MLK, and Bobbie… The Constitution was not overturned. People were not deported in mass because of their color or religion. The country prospered with affording rights to vote and the right to Medicare for the sick and elderly.

CNN is the least trusted name in news. I am tired of hearing about fear. Fear of Ebola. The missing Malaysian airliner. Panels and experts prorogating “stupid” and never seem to know anything. Fear of terrorism. Fear of children shot and killed in an elementary school; or a Colorado movie theater; or …

There is a reason CNN and MSNBC fill there off hours with trivial, cheap entertainment shows.

I need to search for some more patience after writing this!

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 7 years 14 weeks ago

Not once has any Republican candidate talked about housing for the homeless vets and appropriate healthcare via the V.A. and/or private doctors. You'd think, wouldn't you, that they'd want to fix the problems we already have for our vets before creating thousands more of them to come home in less than stellar conditions. But no - that's a bridge they'll cross when they get there after they win the election (a bridge I can almost guarantee you that NO Republican wants to step onto, let alone cross!).

Not once has a Republican talked about how much larger they will expand government just on the premise of making our fighting forces and our cyber capabilities the greatest, most extensive Band of Brothers and Sisters anywhere in the world, OR how much money they'll have to BORROW to do so. Whatever happened to pay-as-you-go? Is that reserved for only half-black Presidents of a different Party? Or a woman President?

And, finally, not once have I heard them speak of making our food safer, stamping out diseases such as Ebola, T.B. and encephalytis, or even Lime's Disease, for that matter. They don't care about alcoholism. They don't care about Medical Marijuana. They're far too busy trying to figure a way to get back in the war games...

Clearly, they DO care about winning the 2016 election so they can pat their bellies, drink their toasts, and declare themselves "The Kings of The Hill" again - in charge, and ready to take care of repaying their campaign donors with favors and large benefits, all at the expense of the Americans who really DO pay taxes.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 14 weeks ago

The Jebster wants us to increase our already out of control military spending, which is exactly what ISIS wants us to do.

I'm sure ISIS is aware of the history behind the fall of the Roman Empire... while the Jebster surely is not.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 14 weeks ago

What more people need to grasp is that these Republicans ARE the terrorists.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 14 weeks ago

P.S. "...rolling back Reaganism and Clintonism"... Did Thom really say that?! (tsk tsk) Well Thom, I don't know about you but for me, that translates to a vote for Bernie not Hillary.

dianhow 7 years 14 weeks ago

Fear is the GOP 's Best Weapon ! Fear is primal It has NO logic or reason Thats why GOP uses it so well .... 'Mushroom cloud' Smoking gun ' WE have been here before under Bush Cheney Rice Rumsfeld ( known unknowns ) from 2000- 2008 / 2 long failed Wars - creating ISIS . 2008 global Crash / depression - TARP giveaway / Massive UN funded debt- good jobs gone overseas, Killing maiming, wasting trillions. GOP lead up to another world war must be stopped !! NO more far right wing pro wealth pro corp anti middle class Judges . Citizens United Must be repealed ! Bernie Sanders would be a great President as would Liz Warren.. if not Hillary is lots better than ANY GOP candidate !!

KCRuger's picture
KCRuger 7 years 14 weeks ago

@cccccttttt: There is a huge intellectual distinction between crime resulting from poverty & drug laws (gang turf wars) & people using the Koran to justify indiscriminate massacres. You understand perfectly well why one gets more attention, as it should.

Dr PeterPalms's picture
Dr PeterPalms 7 years 14 weeks ago

Thom you know what's the problem as well as I do. Its the federal reserve Act and no one in either of the two pareties, which is actually only one, have mentioned it and how they would rescind it.

So There is no way to solve the probelm which none of the candidates running for office is interested in solving. Please read them.

A book is available. Non of the candidates will have read it. It tells what they are doing to America. "The Creature From jekyll Island" 5th edition 37th printing March 2014 .You can find it in any library

here are most of the detailsin my blogs at

Get someone to talk about it. It describes the destrcution of the United States.

America can't be helped if it ignores this subject any longer, But the reat of the world will put a stop to this totalitarian feudalism

In the absence of what i have written, the best hope for Americans for results is. No one shows up to vote for the elections. non cooperation is the only viable action at the moment.

I admire and respect you. Yourthree hour TV interveiw recently on Book review was extraordinarily impressive

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