Why you should fear fearmongering
Views 25 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 14 - 2018 | By: Alex Leiseca
The recent Election Day was a stark reminder of the great divide currently splitting our nation. As the anticipated day approached, an overwhelming amount of messages and ads popped up, urging people to use their voice and go vote. While I do believe that it is important for people to utilize their vote, some organizations were using dishonorable techniques to inspire and even sway voters.
Perhaps the most prominent of these tactics was the use of fearmongering. The Oxford Dictionary defines fearmongering as “the action of deliberately arousing public fear or alarm about a particular issue” (Oxford University Press). This tactic is contemptible because it prevents the voter from making a thorough and educated decision about who to vote for.
President Trump provided a terrific example of this technique when he tweeted “every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally.” Once the reader can decipher the tweet despite its multiple commas and exclamation points, it is clear that Trump is using the anger and fear surrounding the widely discussed migrant caravan to spur citizens to vote Republican.
President Trump and White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders both claimed that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners” made up part of the caravan. Both Trump and Sanders were unable to provide proof of this claim. These unfounded comments incite fear into the hearts of American voters and persuade them to vote to tighten our current immigration policy, and therefore vote Republican.
Fearmongering is also apparent in local settings. For example, I attend Anthem Chapel in Goleta every Sunday morning. I adore this rapidly blooming church, but I noticed that representatives of the church were using Christian-themed fearmongering to influence the congregation’s vote.
For instance, my friends and I were handed flyers with the words “the wolves are encircling the church! It is your Christian duty to protect your flock!” emblazoned in bold lettering on them. Another flyer that we received listed several current political issues and described each party’s viewpoint on the topic.
The flyer was clearly created with a biased agenda and it even seemed to imply that one party was “more Christian” than the other. These two handouts were created with the intention to scare or guilt Christians into voting their “biblical worldview,” which robs them of making an intelligent and informed choice after sufficient research of each candidate. I was disappointed with the content and intent of the flyers because Christ warns the church not to be “of this world,” and become entangled in worldly affairs (Romans 12:2).
Above all, it is crucial to remember that God is above our broken political system. He cannot be labeled as a Democrat or Republican because both parties are fractured human inventions while He is completely holy and without fault. While it is easy to get caught up in the fearmongering tactics that arouse fear, remember that the most important thing is to focus on God with heart, soul and mind.