Those of us who have heard the story are reminded of the famous Halloween hoax of 1938, when Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre of the Air broadcast a production of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. The radio play, disguised as a series of perfervid news reports, was so realistic that many Americans, actually believing they were under attack from extraterrestrials, packed up what they could and attempted to escape. Wells made a disclaimer at the beginning and the end, but many chose not to hear it.
This just proves, once again, that people will swallow anything if they’re scared enough. The year 1938 was a time of uncertainty and fear, just like 2010. The Great Depression had been grinding on for almost a decade, and as if that weren’t enough, Hitler looked poised to take over the world—at least all there was of it on the other side of the Atlantic.
Just substitute radical Islam (to a lot of ignorant people, the term is a redundancy) for the Nazis, and you have a vile-smelling brew of deception simmering on the current stove of state.
It does not help that there are opportunists out there willing to stoke the fires of hatred for their own immediate gain, whether it’s to win an election in a couple of months or to attract more listeners and viewers to their radio and TV shows.
What they are doing by taking advantage of the fears of those who don’t know any better is tearing holes in this nation’s fabric that will take a long time to mend, certainly longer than the span of our lifetimes.
All of us—liberals, progressives, moderates, and conservatives—rallied behind President Bush after 9/11. There were aspects to the man many of us didn’t like, but he was our leader, and we were smart enough and scared enough to know that we needed one, for better or worse.
We need one just as desperately now. Why is it so hard for some of us to accept the man who was duly elected by a majority of the people?