Time magazine's cover story August 30 asked the question in big bold letters: Is America Islamophobic? If one were to listen to right-wing radio, television, newspapers, and blogs, the answer is unequivocally, YES! But wait, these same people also seem to believe that Americans also need to fear same-sex marriage, masturbation, atheism, higher education, science and other forms of rational thought, the will of the majority (who clearly were out of their minds in electing Democrats to Congress and the White House), helping the poor (unless they are in a country far away and we can tell them to believe in the savior Jesus Christ before giving them food or medicine), immigrants that don't look 'merican, especially if they speak a language other than English (because who knows what they're plotting?), fighting global warming (note that they are not afraid of global warming itself because it doesn't exist to them - they are afraid of changes in their lifestyle needed to fight global warming), history (unless re-written by the Texas Board of Education), socialism (which is oddly defined as a form of Nazi-ism), and the list goes on and on.
Of course, the key here is fear. Ask any sociologist, and they'll tell you that fear is a far greater motivator of the masses than love or understanding. It takes so much less work to fear something different from yourself than to try to understand it. Unfortunately, this means that combating fear is a long and arduous process - something that is not rewarded by the way our political system is currently operating. It's hard to tell if the general populace is going to give in to the politics of fear this November or not. Sadly, the Obama administration has been played by the politics of fear through its first two years, shirking its responsibility to make the changes promised during its campaign in a bizarre and unrealized hope of winning bipartisan support for its proposals rather than fully utilizing its numerical advantage. If you want to know why Democratic voting numbers are down, look no further than the dismay and confusion on the faces of those of us who wonder why we squandered two years of controlling both the legislative and executive branches of government by looking for idiotic compromises with Republicans who were ultimately afraid to compromise anyway.