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TEXAS FAITH 32: Why does fear sell on the campaign trail?


Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

By the time this Texas Faith question is posted on Tuesday, voters will be at the polls and the election outcome will be only a few hours away. Americans will soon know who controls one or more houses of Congress. Plus, Texans will know who will serve as their governor for the next four years.
Of course, this was another election during which fear played a big role. Nationally, Democrats tried to scare voters into thinking Republicans were going to mess with their Social Security and Republicans tried to demonize President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In Texas, Republicans tried to scare voters into thinking Bill White was weak on illegal immigrants, while Democrats tried to paint Rick Perry as a man who was in love with power.
Putting aside your own political views, which perhaps lead you to agree with some of these claims, help the rest of us understand why this point:
Why does fear play such a big role in our elections?
For example, is there something deep within our psyches and/or souls that responds to fear, perhaps in a way that we are unaware? Or is it that fear sells and strategists know it? Or is it something else?
I'm sure we'd all like to think elections play to our better angels. But they often don't. Help us understand why.
Read on for some very interesting replies, including ideas about how the brain works.

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called māyā. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord.
-Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.37
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here