In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt cautioned the nation that, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Donald Trump is using fear and half-truths to whip enough of the nation’s voters into a frenzy to elect him president because he can “fix it.”
He doesn’t say how he will do it. But he is using fear to get people behind him. And it seems to be working.
Last month my stepdaughter, her husband, our grandson and my son-in-law’s mom were strolling along the promenade in Nice, France.
A week later, a 31-year-old man drove a large truck through a crowd of people, killing 84 including 10 children. It appears he acted alone.
“We were right there where the truck went,” my 13-year old grandson told me last weekend.
An Atascadero man was shot by an Atascadero police officer not 2,000 feet from my home on the Fourth of July. It appears from what I’ve read that the action taken by the officer was justified.
Should I move out of the neighborhood? Maybe move to Los Osos where nobody can find me?
Trump suggests not so subtly that the reason for the increase in police shootings is a lack of leadership by President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
No president, even if it turns out to be Trump, can prevent a mentally disturbed person from committing an act of violence.
Fearmongering can be a very powerful weapon.
In 1950, Sen. Joe McCarthy made it work with his “Red Scare,” suggesting that there were Communists everywhere trying to destroy the American way of life.
Adolf Hitler rode a wave of dissatisfaction with the conditions in Germany after World War I to get himself appointed chancellor. He soon named himself both president and chancellor.
In the 1690s, the Salem witch hunts in Massachusetts were able to be carried out because of fearmongering.
My stepdaughter says she will continue to travel.
Another grandchild, this one 12, said she knows there is violence out there and she tries to be “watchful” (her word), adding, “but not everyone is evil.”
I remain convinced the United States is already great and what would make it even better is if both sides on any given issue sat down and talked instead of hurling insults at one another.
I fear this won’t happen soon.
Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.