From my earliest childhood, I have been told to watch out for the bogeyman. He might be hiding under your bed or in the depths of your closet, or he might be waiting for you in the shadows if you venture outdoors on a moonlit night.
Even today, I look over my shoulder when I take out the garbage in the dark.
Fear is natural. It’s part of our survival mechanism.
And it makes us easy to manipulate.
Cunning politicians know this, and they use it to gain power over us.
Take Herman Cain (photo above, left), for example.
This candidate for the Republican presidential nomination conjures up the threat of menacing Muslims lurking in the underground, waiting to impose Sharia law on American communities.
Cain said he would be wary of naming a Muslim to his cabinet because they are so dangerous. And he supports community efforts to ban mosques, claiming the Constitution doesn’t protect the Muslim religion because it’s so “political.”
Cain is one of many conservatives who depict Muslims as potential terrorists and urge special precautions against them.
I wonder why he doesn’t fear Christians?
He must have heard of the Oklahoma City bombing, and he probably read about yesterday’s Oslo massacre.
No Muslims were involved in either attack.
Indeed, the suspected Oslo terrorist is described as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing views and a hatred for Muslims (click here for details).
Furthermore, the man, Anders Behring Breivik, is a blond and blue-eyed Norwegian (photo above, right).
That’s the type of racial profile that would probably slip by most American airport security agents.
But the Oslo massacre reminds us that a terrorist attack could come not just from a disgruntled Muslim but also from some Christian or Jewish zealot.
And it shows how people like Herman Cain exploit human tragedy and human nature to manipulate the public.
This is a dangerous world, and real bogeymen abound. We can never afford to lower our guard. But there is no one hiding place for the bogeyman. He could be wearing a turban or a swastika tattoo – or nothing out of the ordinary.