I got stuck watching a bit of Fox News a month or so ago. One of the things that really struck me was how quickly it became clear that its target audience is terrified, and of very nearly everything. In the world of Fox News, blacks are protesting not to prevent police violence, but to overthrow the very order of law itself. America’s young adults are brainwashed into Marxist zombies who want nothing more than to tear down everything good about this country, live off the livelihoods of hard working people like Fox News viewers, and banish Christianity from the national scene and polite company. Immigrants are flooding into our nation, every last one of them looking for a good, hard working white person to rob or rape or kill.
It’s a laughably inaccurate portrait of America, yes, and a thoroughly disgusting one. To believe it, you’d have to put real effort into ignoring all of the evidence around you, and assume everyone outside of your ideological bubble was lying to you, all of the time. And you’d also have to think, deep in your heart, that anyone who isn’t just like you–in your religion, your culture, your social status, your tastes, your values, and often your race–is at best a dangerous rogue, and at worst only a threatening beast.
But most of all, you’d have to see the world exclusively through a miasma of fear and anger and resentment. I just can’t imagine how terrible it must be to live that way. How small and powerless it must make you feel. How penned in and thrown off balance.
I was reminded of that Fox New viewing and my reaction to it when I saw today that Trump had declared his emergency at the border. Of course there’s no emergency at the border. No serious person with any experience of the world and any grasp of the evidence would think so. But if you’re terrified, all the time, and of everything, then the whole world, every bit of it outside your door, is an emergency, and it is only through extreme measures that we can push back on this ongoing catastrophe of otherness.
What an awful, damaging, depressing, and profoundly sad way to live.