While much of my professional focus is on international politics and democracy building abroad these days I can't help but notice the scary similarities of late between politics in the US with those in some of the countries I work in...and in a pretty depressing and dangerous way. 


 So much about the upcoming congressional elections involves politicians and partisan news outlets purposefully twisting facts and out right lying in an effort to pit people against each other and demonize minority groups. The motivation is clear, gin people up with false facts to galvanize voter turnout for your side or increase eye balls and ad money for your broadcasts.  Despite the known facts that the immigration "problem" is at an all time low, meaning numbers of undocumented workers are down and the vast majority are law abiding, violence in cities along the US side is down (just like it is among other cities in the US), and we have more resources and law enforcement along the border then we have had since the Mexican-American War, politicians and "pundits" are screaming crisis and a shockingly high percentage of my fellow citizens are vulnerable to this message.


Over the years I have worked in Bosnia I asked my colleagues about the history of the ethnic tensions and the causes of the war.  While Bosniaks blame Serbian professional forces most agreed that before the former Yugoslavian state dissolved in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union ethnic identity was not important, villages were integrated, families inter married.  You could tell what ethnicity someone was by their last name but few paid much attention.  It was politicians who fanned the flames for their own personal gain.  Ethnic politics is still the bane of Bosnian political life, instead of focusing on real problems like corruption, education, and infrastructure development; politicians gain election by pitting people against one another, and it works because people fall for it.  I am not saying the situation here is on the verge of civil war but in my life time I haven't tasted this much anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-other in the air.


The Tea Party activists are coming to DC this weekend and I was thinking of putting together a fact sheet for them and passing out....I might.  I will certainly go and check out the rally as I do admire their organizing work, even if a big chunk of it is driven by Glen Beck, and other corporate sponsors besides Fox News.  Part of me really feels sorry for them however condescending that sounds because I think they are worried sick about "facts" that simply are not true.  We have real challenges in the US, but immigration, mosques, and having an illegitimate President are fortunately not among them.










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