Photo: The Associated Press.
By Janelle Clausen
When my mother was my age (22), Ronald Reagan was President. He had charisma and direction, she says, despite this being a time where the prospect of nuclear annihilation with the Soviet Union was still plausible.
And yet, Reagan could talk with the Russians and make people feel safe.
“He didn’t scare Americans,” my mother recalled. “He empowered them.”
Now we obsess over terrorism, rather than other vital issues like economic insecurity. We feel vulnerable. We feel weak. We feel like we are falling apart. Today’s Republican Party, for all its talk of “strength,” is now the party of fear and taking advantage of all this. It’s instilled false fears that Planned Parenthood is murdering all the babies, that Sharia Law is coming to America unless we bar Muslims from coming in, that the vast majority of Mexicans are criminals and so on.
This debate was certainly no exception.
Among the first words at this debate from Ted Cruz were “America is at war” with “radical jihadists.” He’d go on to say that, like purple unicorns, that there are no such things as “moderate rebels.” His later slight, eager smile when the moderators questioned him about carpet-bombing all ISIS controlled areas, even if it could harm thousands of civilians in the ISIS capital of Raqqa, was disturbing.
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz got into a debate regarding immigration, amnesty and Syrian refugees. “Border security is national security,” Cruz concluded after deeming JFK airport being the “front line” in this war just like Syria itself.
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) shared this sentiment.
“Everywhere in America is now a target for these terrorists,” Governor Christie said when asked how he’d make sure fear wouldn’t get out of hand. He also said that terror threats are “the new normal,” stood by his comments to keep out any refugee, including women and children and said that he’d enforce any no-fly zone (even if it risked World War III with Russia).
Donald Trump said he’d be all about “security, security and security.” He stuck by his comments of keeping all Syrian refugees out, securing the borders, and for killing the (likely innocent and uninvolved) families of ISIS terrorists.
When pressed by Rand Paul about the Geneva Convention and later following the Constitution, he responded with this: “So they can kill us, and we can’t kill us, that’s what you’re saying?”
Governor John Kasich, while coming across more rational, was not immune to hyping up the terrorism threat. “When I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should’ve been talking about destroying ISIS,” he said.
Marco Rubio vehemently defended a surveillance state, saying that a lack of access to all phone records would be necessary in wake of a few attacks motivated by jihadism. In other words, he supported the NSA’s collection of data.
“This is the most sophisticated terrorist threat we have ever faced,” he said. “We are at a time when we need more tools.”
An entire religion is being demonized, the borders are insecure, muslims are coming to kill us and we need to show we’re strong and destroy everything, apparently. We must be willing to give up rights and our morals, they say. The voices for a rational response, mainly from Rand Paul, John Kasich and even Jeb Bush (to an extent) were largely drowned out.
So congratulations, fear. You won more than just the debate: You stole the Republican Party and have endangered us even more.