Much was made last week of Tom Tancredo's campaign ad depicting an illegal immigrant with a knapsack, presumably filled with explosives, entering a US mall. "The politics of fear" was the near immediate refrain from the mostly liberal comments posted in response to this news item. "A vote for anyone but Tancredo is a vote for letting your children get murdered by Islamofacists and your wife raped by Jihadists. You have been warned" opined another commenter.
I was in New York on September 11th, 2001, along with millions of other New Yorkers, from both the left and right persuasions. The terrorists didn't discriminate between those following a particular political belief set, killing anyone they could possibly reach. How then did we get to this point where nearly half of this country has deluded themselves into thinking that any such talk of another terrorist attack happening again must be some sort of manipulation or fear mongering?
Mr. Tancredo appeared on Tucker last week defending the premise of his ad, citing that the scenario depicted was actually mentioned in a recent National Intelligence Estimate. It's worth mentioning that the NIE has been used by many on the left to disparage the Bush administration when convenient.
Convenient? We are talking about protecting Americans, the government's first and foremost job. Is that the sad state of affairs we are in where real threats cannot be acknowledged without treading over a political taboo? Where suggesting the reality that terrorists are here and actually do want to repeat and improve upon 911 immediately results in a charge of fear based manipulation? I know that we are just under a year away from a contentious election, but the lack of leadership and responsibility shown by those on the left never ceases to amaze me.
Rather than the politics of fear, I would argue that many on the left are indulging in the politics of willful ignorance. It was one thing when the left engaged in some nose cutting to spite the face when they had rejected the President's plan to privatize Social Security, even though before Bush took office Democrats were for privatizing Social Security. Not having a workable social security plan for the future won't kill (many) people. But being willfully ignorant of the serious threats that face this country is the sort of self destructive side effect of Bush Derangement Syndrome that could result in the deaths of quite a few innocent Americans. Not to mention the impacts to the economy, and our society as a whole. Take a gander at the severely dampening effect recurring terrorists attacks have had on the once booming society in Israel, it can happen here too if we aren't careful. This isn't the politics of fear that I am talking about, it's the politics of reality.
To delve just a little more into reality, it's been over six years since 9/11. We've been safe all of these years, not because of serendipity or the goodwill of our enemies, but because of the hard work put forth by all levels of our government, police, military, and even dare I say it, the President. While there have been no attacks within US borders, there have been several failed attempts that we know about, and likely many other attempts that have been stopped that we don't know about. I find it appalling that this outstanding effort of our countrymen to protect our way of life has been turned and twisted in such a way so as to stifle any kind of debate on national defense. That the payment for protecting the people of this country is the widespread belief that we could never be attacked is the height of chutzpah and ignorance.
I view my friends on the left not as enemies, but as Americans and political opponents. Should we elect a Democrat to the office of President in 2008, I won't be leaving for Canada or renouncing my US citizenship (like some on the left proclaimed they'd do in November 2000). However, the total lack of engagement on this serious issue by the Democrats, the willingness to place the entire issue on Bush's doorstep, as if it's all "his problem," or to cast any such discussion as engaging in the politics of fear makes me very scared for the consequences of a Democratic win in 2008 (a sort of reverse politics of fear).
As a nation, we need to wake up. Like it or not, WE elected Bush our president twice. Those that hate Bush will see the end of his presindency in just over a year from now. But the repercussions of any terrorist attack on our homeland, especially one that happened because we ignored, or worse, politicized our self defense, will not go away in 4 years. The lives lost in such an attack won't be remediated by the next election. Let's try and come together on this one, with our eyes wide open that yes, this can happen again, and will if we aren't careful.