Fear is a powerful motivator. Words, actions and intentions we would never consider reality become perfectly normal when reacting to what scares us. Among friends, even those who are highly educated, the irrational fear that makes people accept what is simply not true is even less understandable.
The Democratic Party in Michigan worked tirelessly this election to educate people on what our Republican-dominated state government did to us over the past four years, and what they have every intention to do if they win next Tuesday. People with the capacity for rational thought got the message, but there are still a group of people who don’t seem to get it, no matter how much evidence or facts are presented to them. You may call them low-information voters, Fox News watchers, tea party, or something much worse.
No amount of facts or proof, even if you have first-hand knowledge will penetrate the irrational wall of fear that surrounds people. Only one person in this country has died of Ebola, but that doesn’t stop low-information people awash with fear from making death threats against health care workers returning from Africa showing no symptoms and testing negative for the disease.
In Michigan, irrational fear motivates low-info tea party members in the state. They even use a terrified animal as their banner on Facebook.
A brief overview of the issues they’re using to motivate voters is typical: Fear of minorities, same-sex marriage, women exercising their constitutional right to choose their own health care, Ebola, immigrant children, and the irrational notion that Sharia Law will ever be something we need to worry about. We already know what they think of the Affordable Care Act.
All of these concerns which the tea party considers most important have one thing in common: There is not one shred of evidence that any of these issues are real problems in the United States or Michigan. Being afraid of them is enough.
As frustrating as it is, talking to these people in the state of fear they live in is useless. They will never listen to you or your mountain of evidence nor appreciate how rational you are when you attempt to explain the truth. Facts don’t matter for these voters, their fear leads them. Understanding how much recently became apparent when a dear close friend accused me of trying to control her thoughts, “because that’s what you Democrats do.” In 2012 we called this fear the bubble. In 2014 there are thankfully fewer people inside the bubble, but for those who are still there, it’s what they take with them to the polls this Tuesday.
And that is why we can’t be apathetic this year like we were in 2010. It’s vital that people who are well informed and know what’s at stake if Republicans win four more years in Michigan get out and vote on November 4. Halloween has nothing on the angry, fearful, low-information voters who will vote next Tuesday.