Monday, November 1, 2010

Being Awake to Fear (Mongering?)

Would the video below pass the civility test urged by John Stewart, Jim Wallis, or James Calvin Davis?  

On the one hand, it seems like a typical sound-bite video meant to inspire fear, and yet on the other hand....I tend to think it's got a point...there are some scary folks on the Right who seem to be dominating the Republican Party.  

In midterm elections, national ads can't help but generalize about an array of candidates.  So for the Right, the campaign is bound to become about Obama & Co, and for the Left, the election is sure  to focus on the angriest voices in the Tea Party.  The irony is that the Left is schooled in the danger of stereotyping, which would seem to make it more difficult for them to engage in these kind of slash and burn ads that are supposedly necessary to win mid-term elections. They depend, it seems to me, on Republicans becoming so scary that they just roll tape.

It is easy to be critical of this kind of tactic--especially when practiced by the other side, but in a world of mass media, huge campaign budgets, and an ill-informed electorate, it's hard to imagine another way, especially in mid-term elections, especially THIS mid-term.  

In this context, might communities of faith and good will have an special opportunity (and responsibility) to generate forums and conversations that consider issues and elections in depth? Of course, in our current political climate, talking about politics is risky business.  Perhaps Martin Luther was right when he advised that we must be content to act with courage. Knowing that we will err, we should "Sin boldly!" rather than timidly avoid our duties. 

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