One of the joys of Halloween is to dress in scary costumes and pretend to frighten others, who pretend to be frightened. But with less than two weeks until an evening of trick-or-treating, it’s possible there won’t be anything scarier than what’s already happened in the country.
We are being told to fear the swine flu virus, and then learn that the vaccine, which was supposed to be available in mid-October, won’t be ready for awhile.
It makes little difference anyhow, since about fifty million Americans don’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford the cost of vaccinations or treatment.
The ogres of health reform, also known as Republicans and the insurance industry, have already frightened Americans by spewing lies and hatreds no costumed kid could ever top.
The teabaggers, thousands of Americans dressed in work clothes but who seem to despise the working class, disgorge even more lies, half-truths, fear, and hatred, along with spurts of poisonous doses of racism and bigotry, since they have to blame someone for their own problems.
The minority party has long since ceased being the loyal opposition and are now just bitter and venomous cogs in the progress of society. These pseudo-patriot reptiles who have taken over the Republican party have further shown just how disloyal they truly are when they hissed at the President of the United States for winning the Nobel Prize and then cheered that Chicago lost the Olympics bid to Rio de Janiero. The increase of hate isn’t likely to level off soon.
Also not leveling off are unemployment, bankruptcies, housing foreclosures, and the problems caused by increased homelessness, all of which began increasing more than two years before Barack Obama became president. As long as the Party of No, with the assistance of Blue Dog Democrats, can block reform, don’t look for an eight-year-old wearing a devil’s costume to be the scariest thing around.
American taxpayers have doled out billions to banks, which have figured out new ways to scam their customers and clients. The taxpayers have also bailed out auto manufacturers who had frivolously spent more than a fleet of drunken sailors while not being able to figure out how to get their own operations in ship-shape competition.
Americans, who are struggling just to survive, are being tricked by banking, insurance, and investment portfolio executives who are wearing Cheshire cat grins while they continue to reap in millions in taxpayer-provided bonuses for being incompetent and inefficient.
The fear instilled by the 9/11 attacks led Americans to willingly yield some of their Constitutional rights, while pretending that such laws as the PATRIOT Act would protect them from further harm. The fear of the past eight years that has led to the theft of six Constitutional amendments is scarier than any costumed pirate.
Frightening is also having a mass media that prefer to do play-by-play reporting on the latest celebrity break-up or coupling, real or imagined, rather than looking into critical social issues.
Indeed, ghosts, goblins, and things that go bump in the night don’t stand a chance of competing on Halloween with the fear that now exists in our country.
[Walter Brasch’s latest books are Sex and the Single Beer Can: Probing the Media and American Culture and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush. Rosemary Brasch is a former secretary, labor union staff grievance officer, college instructor of labor studies/labor history, and Red Cross national disaster family services specialist. The Brasches are syndicated columnists. You may contact them through www.walterbrasch.com]