Can Our Leaders Stop Using Fear and Race to Divide Us?

Maybe we need to stop letting them

David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler campaigning together

Living in Georgia amid a crucial run-off election, I became fatigued with the relentless campaign texts, mail, and political ads interrupting my video streaming. It ended with both Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning against David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. This campaign season, like the last four years, has been a rollercoaster. That’s to be expected. But, between David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, I have never seen more race-baiting and fear-mongering in my life.

Perdue mocking Kamala Harris’s name at a Trump rally made me cringe. He knows what her name is because he’s served in the Senate with her. Yet, he drew the racist bully card in front of a crowd who cheered him on.

He reminded us that racism is an acceptable currency in our politics.

Eallier, he released a campaign ad deliberately enlarging his opponent Jon Ossoff’s nose, playing on anti-semitic tropes, which he later downplayed. Most of his ads are scare tactics that use conservative buzz words like “radical” and “socialism.”

While he was busy attacking Ossoff and attempting to scare voters, he could not talk in detail about how he’s helped his constituents. The one item he did discuss focused on was how a member of his staff helped a veteran, not himself.

He is also among the Republican senators who support objecting to the Electoral College vote. Sixty judges, Republican election officials, governors, and Trump’s former Attorney General and personal presidential attorney, William Barr, said no election fraud occurred. Still, he supports this last ditch effort that is doomed to failure for political positioning.

Drawing from the same playbook, Ann Coulter’s more evil twin, Kelly Loeffler, continually called Reverend Raphael Warnock a “radical. ” Her main political talking point, she said it at least 14 times in their last debate because she had no statements of substance to make. She couldn’t defend opposing relief to individuals at the beginning of the pandemic and offered nothing but deflection about her profiting off her COVID-19 briefing.

Warnock countered her “radical” narrative with his own ad talking about how she is trying to make voters fear him because she fears them. Most of her ads attack Warnock, avoiding highlighting her achievements. Mysteriously, a leaked police bodycam video of a domestic dispute between Warnock and his ex-wife surfaced. Since no charges were filed and there were no injuries to anyone, this attempt to discredit him backfired.

While Loeffler is trying to prove Warnock’s radicalism, she aligns herself with far-right groups and poses for pictures with them. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for her racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic statements, endorsed her. In the past, Greene has also supported QAnon, who the FBI has called a domestic terrorist threat. But the pastor of Ebeneezer Baptist Church is the bigger threat.

Kelly Loffler and Marjorie Taylor Greene at a joint press conference together.

Rather than stand on a record of service, both Perdue and Loeffler stoke the flames of fear of a phantom “radical” agenda that will take away our guns and turn us into Venezuela. Meanwhile, we already have “socialist” programs in place like Social Security and Medicare.

Is it reasonable to think that expanding “Medicare For All” is radical even if you disgree with it?

Yet Loeffler, Perdue, and others like them will make those false comparisons, and people will listen. They will also accept that rhetoric because it feeds their narrative that there’s something to fear. Maybe these leaders should empower their constituents with resources and information to improve their lives, to move beyond fear.

But of course, they won’t do that.

An informed and economically stable voter will, most likely, see through their lies and not vote for them. They will no longer be able to profit from their office as they’ve done for so long.

Having people united won’t sustain their agendas. Their best offense is to keep people afraid of other people and circumstances they don’t have familiarity with. Perdue and Loeffler’s go-to base are the ardent racists and people who refuse to believe systemic racism exists. We’ve seen this play out in Georgia.

It may be time for the people to be focused on their own agenda, their own interests. From there, they can choose the candidate that serves those interests. Instead of blindly following what any leader says, they need to look at facts to draw their conclusions.

Overly relying on what people in power say is a precarious position to be in. Voters have to go beyond the sound bites and short interviews on their favorite news outlets, seek out facts for themselves.

It’s not so easy to scare a more informed electorate.

And then, maybe, once the politicians can no longer scare their voters they may actually try to serve them.

Former teacher who retired early to pursue a passion for writing. Personal development content writer and fiction author. Dog mom. www.sameenakmughal.com

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