Published December, 2004
Xenophobes and Homophobes at Democratic Underground
Xenophobes and Homophobes: The Fear of Terror and the Terror of Fear
December 4, 2004
By Alison Ross
I learned a new word today: Phobophobia, which basically means "fear of fear."
America needs more phobophobes. We have plenty of homophobes and xenophobes, but a perilous dearth of phobophobes.
Homophobes fear the idea of people of the same gender enaging in an act of consensual sex. Xenophobes fear the idea of people engaging in the act of being foreigners. Neither gays nor Arabs can help being what they are, yet xenophobes and homophobes fear them and discriminate against them anyway.
It would be one thing if xenophobes and homophobes simply talked about their fears. But the fact is, they act on them. They lash out at gays and Arabs, and when the government gives them the opportunity to enshrine into law their discriminatory mindset, they seize on it with the rabidity of wolves.
This was nowhere more apparent than on November 2, 2004. This past election, America had a prime opportunity to boot Bush out on his butt. They had a prime opportunity to show the nation's most visible xenophobe and homophobe the door.
Instead, they invited him back for one more round of local and global destruction.
"Please, Mr. Bush," they seemed to be pleading, "come back to slaughter one hundred thousand more Iraqis, and to cripple the lives of thousands more soldiers and their families; to make healthcare more costly, to oustource millions more jobs, and to privatize even more of the country; to further erode our civil liberties, to further inject God into government, to further encourage discrimination against gays. Please?"
I mean, really, why would millions of Americans elect such a terrifying tyrant? Because, my friends, of a little thing called fear.
America has always been a nation of stark ambiguities and ambivalences. Of course, all nations are. The difference is, the American government has consistently forcefed the American people a steady diet of lard-filled lies about how we are a "good" nation, a "free" nation, and so forth.
But true freedom does not entail ripping the land away from a group of native inhabitants, brutally enslaving people stolen from their own countries, and the systematic oppression of an entire gender. True freedom does not entail the repression of worker's rights and invasion of other, more impoverished lands for their resources. In other words, America has a dark history of suppression of freedom.
The good news is, there have always been people willing to combat the notion of fake freedom and fight for authentic liberty - abolitionists, unionists, suffragettes, and others. And this is what has made America a great nation: the fact that there have always been people who dared defy government's subtle, tyrannical rule.
But in recent years, the American government's subtle tyranny has morphed into blatant autocracy. No longer are its imperialist intentions simply cloaked in the guise of benevolence and enacted with delicate stealth; now, the American government is explicitly imperialistic, while still, of course, wrapping its plunder in the robes of good will.
With the rise of the Bush regime, American imperialism has reached its fatal zenith. Bush was not popular until the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. But since that day, he has been able to exploit the fear of a nation and parlay it into two devastating military campaigns. He has also successfully stoked the puritanical fear of homosexuality, as eleven states have resoundingly voted for Constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.
Now, to be fair, many Americans are poor and uneducated, or undereducated. Thanks to a prejudicial economic system that cherishes the crooked CEO but scorns the honest hotel maid, and an education system choked by political machinations, many Americans suffer poverty of the mind, spirit, and wallet.
Furthermore, the media is so tightly censored by corporate cronies and by monopolizing miscreants like Clear Channel that nightly we are treated to propaganda and disinformation that poses as real news.
Still, this does not excuse the educated citizen from cutting through the thick curtains of deceit, seeking out alternative news sources, and voting their conscience.
The problem is, these educated people have permitted fear to invade their realm of conscience: Fear of terrorism, fear of gays, and fear of change.
Of course, I'm well aware of the controversy surrounding the possible rigging of this past election, and do believe that much malevolent mischief was afoot. I actually have no doubt that the election was rigged through a combination of factors: "malfunctioning" (read: "tampered with") electronic voting machines, mysterious paper ballot miscounts, and so forth. There is too much supporting evidence for me to believe otherwise.
Besides, I simply don't trust an eerie black machine manufactured by a Republican-crazed CEO. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but something in this whole process reeks of fish.
But whether the election was rigged or not, the distressing fact remains: millions of people selected Bush. Franklin Roosevelt famously said, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." Well, the only thing I fear is millions of Americans who seem to fear everything but fear. Phobophobes, unite.