The Politics of Fear

Much is being written and said about the guy with the toupee these days… I cannot claim to be following the news intensively, I rather pick them up in bits and pieces, but what I’m picking up scares the shit out of me.

How proud was I of the US when they elected their first president of color. How shocked am I by the rise of Mr. Toupee… How is it possible that this creature has even one single supporter? He contradicts everything the US claims to stand for, freedom for everyone no matter of which religion or color of skin he or she is. What happened to this core value?

I thought George W. Bush was bad… he seems like a sweet little kitten compared to Mr. Toupee. I visited an American friend once in California, I think it was 2005, and she had a newspaper clip on her refrigerator with the headline: How can 59 million people be so dumb? – referring to the number of people who had voted Bush into a second term.
Now the same is happening all over again, even worse. How can anybody be so dumb to fall for the rhetoric of Mr. Toupee? Being German, I cannot help but draw comparisons to things that happened in my country some 80 years ago……………

Mr. Toupee rides on people’s frustration and fears. Period. Anybody with at least five brain cells should be able to see that…
There is another cruel saying out there in the world: A people get the government they deserve………
I do not 100% agree to this statement. For example, I truly believe that, for example, the North Koreans do not deserve their government, but there is a grain of truth in that saying.

I very much hope that the American people do not deserve Mr. Toupee. For if they do, if they elect this creature president, then all gods of the universe help us, please. I fear WW3 if this thing becomes president. And so I sit here and watch and read those bits and pieces about Mr. Toupee in horror and disbelief. I recently re-watched The Shining, it’s said to be one of the scariest movies ever made, yes, but Mr. Toupee is far scarier. I am not religious, but I pray to whoever or whatever created the universe, that there are enough brain cells left in the United States of America to spare the Earth from the horror of The Thing with the toupee………… please!

Fearing the Wrong Things

This is a very interesting topic in my opinion and people far more knowledgeable than me have written articles and whole books about it. I don’t claim to know anything about the topic but nevertheless I dare to have an opinion.

There are a ton of things humankind wrongly fears. One classic example is shark attacks. Maybe a dozen people die every year from shark attacks – but how many die from smoking? Car accidents? War? And and and? Not a single death from smoking makes it into the media, but shark attacks are big news. – why? Because shark attacks are rare, scary, and sudden, whilst dying from smoking is a long-term process.

Which leads me to the statement that we fear short-term, sudden things, no matter what they are, much more than long-term, creeping, and slow things, while actually it should be the other way round. This fear of sudden things like a shark attack is juicy for the media and they ride it out for a few days until the next big news happens, which is again short-term, and so forth. Thus our focus shifts from what we should really worry about, long-term creeping stuff to short-term catastrophes.

One great example for that is climate change, which doesn’t happen overnight. Other great examples are smoking or alcoholism. Stuff that destroys you over years and years seems far less scary than it should be.
What triggered thinking about such stuff was an article, which I forwarded around in Facebook, about the health problems in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. In that article they stated that nobody had any problems with radiation, but people died from being suddenly evacuated or from suicide triggered by losing their homes, social networks, jobs etc. People all around the world went bonkers when Fukushima happened, as far as Germany, which is 10,000 miles away. Even four years on, I hear ridiculous comments about babies being born with three ears here because we are all radioactive, while natural background radiation in the south of Germany is three times higher than radiation levels in Tokyo. I do not wish to say in any form that what happened in Fukushima wasn’t/isn’t dangerous and terrible. I think it’s crazy to have dozens of nuclear reactors operating in one of the seismically most active regions in the world. But just how many people who believe that we are all radioactively contaminated here smoke and/or drink…?

I think that our media reporting and our desire for scandals, big events, and big news is distorting reality. Short-term, sudden events get much more media coverage than they deserve. What really kills people and what really affects the future of our planet, slumbers in the background and doesn’t get enough attention and that could prove to be a fatal mistake, quite literally.