Racism and fear has been working so well for the National Front Party in France that the GOP has decided to adopt the strategy for themselves to win the 2016 election- and if we are not careful, it will work.
The French National Front Party has gained a great deal of support in recent years by spewing anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric under the leadership of Marine Le Pen. Le Pen has been charged with inciting religious hatred against Muslims, but at her trial, supporters chanted “France for French.” It is a strategy that is becoming familiar to the American public as Conservative talking heads and candidates attempt to benefit from the same fear-driven rhetoric of the National Front in the wake of the Paris attacks. As recent polls have shown, it is absolutely working.
People, as a general rule are afraid of that which they do not understand. It is why tribalism has been around for as long as humanity has existed; it is why racism exists; it is why religious wars have been waged; and it is why even today we are eager to distance ourselves from those we believe are different (and therefore dangerous). One might have thought that humanity was somehow more evolved, but the massive attitude shift in the wake of the Paris massacre is a clear indication that it is not so.
This oversimplified and reductionist sort of copy-and-paste message is a perfect example of the way the GOP and its supporters are taking advantage of people’s ignorance and fear in order to drive an anti-other message. This fear increases a push for some sort of extreme action that the GOP is only too glad to deliver in the form of restrictive and discriminatory legislation and an increasingly violent and volatile culture where Muslim citizens are alienated.
This message, like the messages coming from GOP presidential candidates (Looking at you, Trump) ignores the good done by Muslim people and the billions of peaceful members of Islam, while equally ignoring the evil perpetrated by Christians in the past and today. Presidential candidates call for databases and non-christian bans to the cheers of thousands in packed auditoriums. People are eager to hate, to fear, and the GOP is all-too-eager to give them a target.
This is what we are up against and it is exactly what will lose the White House to hatred and rhetoric in 2016 unless massive efforts are made to call out discriminatory and hateful speech. This trend will continue to grow as the election draws nearer and the GOP will continue to cash in on the crazy.
They’re only doing it because it works; don’t let it work.