The Republicans want to “Make us Safe Again,” at least according to the Day #1 theme at their 2016 convention last night
That, of course, presumes that we were safe before and that now, we’re somehow, not safe.
So, since one of the things that this blog is devoted to is to expose propaganda where we find it, let me just point out that we’re basically as safe as we’ve ever been. Under President Obama. Yes, President Obama.
The Republicans are, of course, hoping to stoke everyone’s fears, especially with respect to events that have not happened in the United States, but have happened instead in countries like France and Belgium, and much more in countries that Americans generally don’t care about, like Turkey, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, and Iraq.
But we did have the massacre at Pulse Orlando, which happened to victims that Americans generally don’t care about. You know, gays, Latinos, and especially gay Latinos.
More recently we have had the shooting of various young black men by police officers, and now, the shooting of police officers by various young black men. In each case these turned out to be trained war veterans. The shooting of police officers, that is something that Americans do care about.
But there is nothing like the fear of lawlessness or of “swarthy” terrorists that Republicans aren’t only too happy to exploit. Just to gain some perspective, let’s look at 10 things that are more likely to kill you in the United States today than Islamic terrorists:
- Cows. Yes, cows kill an average of 20 people a year, although mostly people who work on farms, obviously.
- Televisions. Not from watching television, although that might kill of your intellect. No, televisions actually fell on people and killed them about 176 times last year.
- Coconuts, which cause about 150 deaths annually among Americans.
- Champagne corks, which kill an average of 24 Americans per year.
- Fireworks, which kill an average of over 7 people a year, to speak nothing of the number of fingers they blow out of people’s hands.
- Cars. Which kill an estimated 37,000 Americans a year. Now there’s a statistic!
- Cops. Who killed almost 1000 people a year from 2013 through 2015. They’re especially dangerous if you’re a young black man.
- Prescription painkillers, which kill an average of 16,060 Americans a year.
- Swimming Pools, in which an average of 3533 Americans drown in a typical year.
- Cribs, which lead to the accidental death of an average of 3500 infants per year in the United States.
You know what’s not on the list? Sharks. Sharks are not on the list. They really are less likely to kill you than an Islamic terrorist.
But Sharks share something with Islamic terrorists: they activate our primal fears, and thus are subject to easy manipulation. Jaws, Sharknado, that kind of thing.
To make us feel safer again, the Republicans trotted out this unremarkable “who the hell are they?” list of unforgettable speakers for Monday:
- Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and Buck Commander, star of Duck Dynasty
- Governor Rick Perry, Former Governor of Texas
- Marcus Luttrell, U.S. Navy SEAL
- Scott Baio, Actor and Television Producer
- Pat Smith, Mother of Benghazi victim, Sean Smith
- Mark Geist, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazi
- John Tiegen, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fought in Battle of Benghazi
- Kent Terry and Kelly Terry-Willis, The Brian Terry Foundation
- Antonio Sabato, Jr., Actor
- Sabine Durden, Immigration Reform Advocate
- Jamiel Shaw, Immigration Reform Advocate
- US Representative Michael McCaul
- David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County
- US Representative Sean Duffy
- Rachel Campos Duffy, The LIBRE Initiative
- Darryl Glenn, El Paso County Commissioner
- US Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)
- Karen Vaughn, Mother of fallen U.S. Navy SEAL
- US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
- Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City
- Melania Trump, Businesswoman and Wife of Donald Trump
- Gen. Michael Flynn, U.S. Army (ret.)
- US Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
- Jason Beardsley, Concerned Veterans for America
- US Representative Ryan Zinke
Duck Dynasty? Seriously? It’s also nice to see them trotting out the parents of fallen veterans, including a few that died in Benghazi. No political manipulation there.
In any case, when it comes to Republican propaganda, don’t say that you haven’t been warned.
 In case you’re wondering, as much as I may have wanted to, I didn’t just pull these numbers out of thin air, or perhaps more appropriately, out of my ass. No, they came to me through three actual websites, one from Antimedia, one from Think Progress, and one from WNYY Radio.