With the fifth anniversary of 9/11 less than a week away, and Election Day 2006 entering the post-Labor Day home stretch, we can expect the White House to play the fear card every chance it gets. As Rahm Emanuel said: "After six years, they've only got fear to sell."
After all, banging the fear-gong and trying to scare the hell out of us every time they need a bump in the polls has worked like a charm for Bush and Rove. Ratcheting up the fear-mongering rhetoric is Plan A. Plan B is Repeat Plan A.
The president officially kicked off the big push to the midterms with a fear-triggering speech last week in which he warned, "If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face terrorists in the streets of our own cities." We've seen this movie before. It's "Be Very Afraid" all over again.
It has, after all, been a frighteningly effective sales pitch. Fear is a powerful, universal emotion -- always there to be exploited. And that's why we need a major counteroffensive -- a wide-ranging campaign to help spread fearlessness so as to inoculate the country against this shameful campaign strategy.
Otherwise, we're going to once again succumb to our lizard brains and keep voting our fears -- even as our logical brains (and the latest polls) tell us that the fearmongers in power have made us all less safe.
To this end, HuffPost is today launching a new feature section devoted to promoting fearlessness in all aspects of our lives. Using as its springboard the themes in my new book, On Becoming Fearless, the section contains blog posts, news stories, and special features on relationships, work, parenting, health, sex, food, entertainment...in other words, life.
The lifeblood of HuffPost will always be politics but this new section will be for those times when you want to put politics aside for awhile. And if you are one of those rare creatures that lives and breathes politics 24/7, well then, no need to click on Becoming Fearless.
Obviously fearlessness, though indispensable at this moment in our national life, is a great gift independent of politics. And this book is the most personal one I've ever written, dealing with my own struggle with fear and how it has shaped my life and my politics. As its release takes me on a national tour over the next two months, I intend to highlight the issues in the book that touch on the many ways the personal intersects with the political. Because the more we learn to overcome the fears that limit us and to live in fearlessness, the more we'll be able to counter the dark forces -- both political and cultural -- looking to keep us shrouded in a fog of fear.
In the end, the more fearless we become, the more effective we will be not just as husbands, wives, parents, and co-workers but as citizens -- and the more we'll be able to demand courage and authenticity from our leaders.
We've had enough of spineless, fear-driven, walking-on-eggshells would-be leaders. As I've said before, the vast majority of those on the political scene are like Beltway versions of the Cowardly Lion of Oz, driven by the fear of saying the wrong thing (wouldn't want to give the other side ammo for the inevitable attack ad), of offending someone (anyone!), of going out on a limb, and, above all, of losing.
As a result, we get a seemingly endless lineup of fear-driven candidates who, with each new election cycle, become a little more wrinkle-free, a little more foible-free, a good bit less interesting -- and considerably more idea-free. They are so programmed to avoid the pitfalls of actually standing for something, we might as well have robots running.
If this sounds like any politician you know, send them the link to our new section.
As I write in the book: "Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. Rather, it's the mastery of fear. It's getting to the point where our fears do not stop us from daring to think new thoughts, try new things, take risks, fail, and start again. Fearlessness is all about getting up one more time than we fall down."
For much more Fearlessness click here.