The Fear

Do you remember the fear?

The theme of the 2002 elections was this: Terrorists are everywhere, and are about to do terrible things to us. The Democrats won’t protect you, but the Republicans will.

The Republicans said that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, had weapons of mass destruction – including and especially nukes – and was going to give those weapons to terrorists or use those weapons on us SOON unless we act. “Dirty bombs” might go off at any moment. Smallpox might hit any day. We must go to war to save ourselves. Those Democrats are against the war – are against protecting ourselves.

The threat was so imminent that we must take the unprecedented step of having a war vote just before the elections.

The Republicans campaigned that they would protect the public from this terrible, immediate, imminent, mounting threat, and the Democrats won’t. Their campaign ads said Democrats are weak and wishy-washy and we must not risk delay at this time. Their radio stations and columnists said that liberals hate America (just like the terrorists), and “objectively” support Saddam. In the South they said that liberals are not good Christians; they are on the side of evil.

Remember how the terror threats were raised, and there was constant talk of the terrible dangers we faced? The public was pumped full of fear, day after day. The news was full of terrible stories about smallpox, and the horrific effects of nerve gas, even warnings about what to do if there is a nuclear explosion in your area.

But now – what happened? Where are the threats? They didn’t find any weapons in Iraq, which could only mean that terrorists possess them now. Yet, the “threat level” is lowered. The budget for homeland security is reduced, but not discussed. The papers and radio and television are not warning us that terrorists will strike at any moment. What changed?

What happened to the fear?