According to Webster's Dictionary, a boogeyman is defined as something frightful; anything imaginary that
causes needless fright or excites needless fear.
As in many countries, Boogeymen in Azerbaijan are creatures conjured up by parents, so their children will behave.
If you are a parent who requires absolute capitulation, the boogeyman is your friend. Because the physical qualities of the boogeyman are usually left to the child's imagination, the boogeyman will take on the characteristics that are most frightening to that child--whatever images have been instilled in that child as threatening.
During the McCarthy era, the boogeyman were red communist loving traitors who may or may not ever have read a book written written by Marx or Engels. Careers, families and lives were destroyed in the hunt for anyone who may have 'sympathized' with a socialist.
To many of us now, it seems crazy. But the hysteria which reigned just 60-70 years ago was very real indeed and those who spoke against the government's hunt for communist sympathizers jeopardized their reputation, families, and livlihood.
Most people reflect on the McCarthy era with incredulity, shame and regret knowing that innocent people were ruined by the threat of an imaginary enemy. Standing in the shadows and allowing friends and co-workers to be arrested were frightened collaborators, protecting themselves through silence.
As we well know, the bogeyman hasn't always been male. Approximately nine million bogey women were murdered as witches for being pagans, healers or merely wise and powerful women over a several hundred year period.
Imagine without the help of right wing radio talk shows or Fox News being able to whip the world into enough of a frenzy to ensure that 9 million women are put to death for deviating from Christianity? Even though it is unimaginable, and in spite of the discrepancy in numbers, it happened. And with only the occasional and timid intervention.
Those who split hairs over the number of women actually exterminated by fear tactics claim those victimized are grossly exaggerated--as if the 'softer' claims of 900,000 offered by the Christian church diminishes the genocide or minimized the complicity of those who allowed it to happen.
Some of these same naysayers refute the studies which estimate that between 10 and 100 million Africans were transported to the Americas between the 16th and 19th century during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Many resist believing in the atrocities because it is too painful to accept that the Christian Church colluded in both of these travesties.
Without cultivating hysteria, hatred and fear of communism, women and blacks, none of these diabolical endeavors would have been possible. Instilling terror in the 'unthinking' guaranteed that gruesome violence could be committed on a mass scale. And none of these atrocities could be accomplished without the silent agreement of those who secretly objected.
But this is all in the past you say?
Now, the sleeping simple minded children of talk radio have been awakened to the horrors of a new boogeyman. This time the extremist parents of talk radio and tv, Daddy Rush, Daddy Glen and Grandpa O'Rielly--have created the 'super boogeyman'--a man who is not only black but who they fear, has socialist leanings. Oh My!
Even though most of the children have probably never read Marx or even know the difference between socialism and communism, they are afraid. Very afraid. And that is important.
By tapping into their latent racial fears, all the uncles are assured full and unquestioning cooperation from the children who will out-shout, out weapon and march themselves to Washington with scary signs warning that the anti-christ and the second coming of Hitler threatens us and our very existence--all with universal healthcare coverage. Oh No!
Yes, it is boogeyman time in America. Unfortunately for all of us, history has proved time and again that without reason and dissent, innocent lives are at stake. And now, not only are the lives of the uninsured threatened, but without our opposition to the absurdity, so is the president we elected.
If you believe that vitriolic protesters are a harmless radical fringe who are behaving "disrespectfully", remember the Salem witch trials, white mobs during Jim Crow slavery and ask yourself if there are not similarities in the tone and tenor of the hysteria. Death panels? Signs declaring "God Hates Obama"?
We have all seen the atrocities enacted upon those who march into battle believing God is on the side of their hatred. We know it is madness but we watch quietly, none the less. And people die.
If the last several months have taught us anything it is this: The real boogeyman is alive and well. And it is silence.
How many voices will it take to disrupt the insanity? How many voices will it take to drown out the madness that dominates the airwaves. Screaming is not the solution. Simply pick up the phone, write an email, make a phone call, attend a rally. Send a message to those who measure their heartbeats in votes.
Whether we are Democrat, Republican or Independent, silence is complicity.