The Only Thing We Have to Fear is the GOP Itself
Years ago when I was still with my family, we'd gone to Cape Cod for a summer vacation and during it we took in a live show. I don't recall the name of the hostess and star of the show but to this day it gets rave reviews in local newspapers as being the scariest show on the Cape. While waiting for the last show to end, we'd looked at an actual embalmer's table and pictures that people had taken of dead relatives who were posed as if they were still alive (a common custom in the 19th century).
Essentially, it consisted of some hooded woman walking around in virtually pitch blackness telling ghost tales, kind of like a paying version of the campfire tales only without the flashlight under the chin. Every once in a while, she'd raise her voice while the women in attendance would shriek in alarm.
Eventually, our attention was called to a really creepy painting in the center of the room and as she reached her peroration, I began wondering what the big finish would be. Would some guy clad in black or invisible piano wires lift the painting and make it fly all over the place, would the lights suddenly come on and we'd find ourselves face to face with hideously made up actors? What would be the big pay off?
Nothing. She simply stopped talking and the show was over. No big finish, no nothing. Just, Please exit the theater in an orderly fashion.
It's kind of the same with the fear-mongering ghoulish Rudy Giuliani faction of the GOP, who never tire of using the spectre of 9/11 to achieve their aims. The above video, trumpeted by Sean Hannity, was financed by House Republicans and appeared yesterday just as President Obama had arrived in Egypt.
Let's just ignore for now the typical Republican hypocrisy of badmouthing a president or his decisions while he's out of the country, something the GOP was screaming bloody murder about when Bush was criticized while he was abroad.
Let's, instead, focus on the GOP cynically using 9/11 for their own sinister ends, in using the clearly mentally feeble Abu Zubayda as some terrorist mastermind as part of a commercial to keep Gitmo open and its 245 detainees under wraps forever before many of them have even had charges brought before them.
Risibly, the Republican Party is still operating under the criminally clueless supposition that just because Northern Alliance bounty hunters had labeled these men as terrorists and enemy combatants then we should keep them indefinitely detained without due process even years after their capture. It's perfectly fine to continue this slow-moving and completely dysfunctional star chamber that's been abducted and run independently from both established military and civilian courts.
In fact, the House Republicans who'd brought this propaganda video into existence are so bankrupt of fresh ideas all they can do is shriek "9/11!" hysterically and steal the more reasoned meme of the Democrats, who are stalling funding for the president's initiative to close Gitmo by asking, "Where are we going to put them?"
Attorney General Eric Holder already gave Congress the start of a good answer by saying the innocent will be released and the trials of those who appear to be less innocent will continue apace. But that hasn't been good enough for the sons of Rudy Giuliani.
And this fear-mongering is what we saw all throughout the 2004 general election and again in the '06 midterms and once again last year, culminating with Tom Tancredo's mushroom cloud campaign video that said essentially, "Elect me or we all die."
As with the Cape Cod show, the raised voices of alarm were expertly timed and interspersed and Tom Ridge even told us years ago DHS's terror threat level spiked toward red to coincide with certain moments in the election year to goose peoples' innate fear of being attacked.
The GOP has been so adept at keeping paranoia just beneath our skin they know damned good and well we'll flinch when the images of another 9/11 rears its turbined head. When watching Godzilla or Cloverfield, who among us doesn't think of September 11th?
But the GOP's fear mongering has long since gotten as stale as that show on Cape Cod. No one will grab you by your foot, nothing will start flying through the air under its own power and there is no big finish at the end.
We've finally outgrown the GOP and its campfire stories and no matter how many times Dick Cheney comes out of his spider hole to tell right wing commentators that we haven't been attacked since 9/11 for good reason, it will no longer wash.
There's such a thing as being unforgivably complacent. It's another thing entirely to no longer cower under our beds every time the "grownups" start muttering about bogeymen and the one incredibly lucky day they had 8 years ago in order to get us to behave.