“Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.” – Jeff Cooper
Perception shapes the world. Regardless of facts, figures, statistics, or evidence, the way in which we come to understand the world around us is what defines opinions. We absorb information, and it passes through a lens which has been formed over the course of our lifetime. This lens shapes the information we are given into coherent or not so coherent opinion. Our perceptions drive our political beliefs. If we believe Republicans to be intolerant, we will be more likely to view conservative policy in a negative light. Regardless of us having heard of this policy prior, we will have a preconceived opinion. This notion may, or may not be true, but our perception of the Party creates a climate in which that negative belief becomes culturally true to a segment of the population.
Perception does, however, give us a guide as to how we should craft our policy, and which policy is more correct. According to NBC:
“… a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll…reveals that 47% of Americans believe the country is less safe now than before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks…The level of fear across America also is up substantially from last year when 28% felt the same way…The new poll also found that more than six in 10 respondents believe that taking military action against the Islamic militant group ISIS is in the nation’s interest.”
This new poll suggests that Americans are deeply afraid. Because of the new threat from the terrorist organization ISIS, many Americans are more invested in our national security interests than they were before ISIS came on the scene. Additionally, Americans don’t seem to believe that Obama is equipped to handle this new threat.
“…the NBC/WSJ poll finds that just 32 percent of voters approve of his handling of foreign policy – an all-time low on this question…And that appears to be hurting his party. The poll shows that Republicans have an 18-point advantage (41 percent to 23 percent) on which party best deals with foreign policy. That’s up from the GOP’s seven-point edge (33 percent to 26 percent) a year ago…Additionally, Republicans hold a 38-point lead (54 percent to 16 percent) on which party ensures a strong national defense – the GOP’s biggest advantage in more than 10 years on this question.”
Looking at this poll, a trend is readily apparent. In times when the nation is in a state of relative security, more liberal politicians are favored. When there is no imminent threat, more people trust that liberal politicians are equipped to handle our defense, and our security. However, once a threat becomes imminent, and the United States might be in peril, those numbers drop dramatically. In these instances, Americans tend to favor conservatives.
The public perception seems to be that, in very broad terms, conservatives are more likely to dispel an imminent threat, and are better suited to protect, and defend the United States. If that’s the case, why would anyone ever favor liberal foreign policy, and defense strategies?
If the defining objective of much of Middle Eastern foreign policy, and the defining objective of security, and defense is to protect Americans from harm being leveled at us from without or within, why would anyone ever choose to elect those in whom they believe only when there is no imminent danger? We are never in a state in which there is zero possibility of danger. And it is common knowledge, and very logical, to assume, given history, and the state in which we live today, even if we are safe now, that we will not be safe in the long term. Threats come, and go; they never cease entirely.
Given Americans’ low trust in liberal foreign policy, and security policies in times of heightened danger, and given their trust in conservative policy during those same periods, and given that the objective of defense, and much of middle eastern foreign policy is to keep us safe, it seems that conservative defense, and security policy is better suited to reality.
If Americans have such a seemingly strong disapproval of liberal security, and foreign policy, why would they choose to put their trust in that Party, whose policy will eventually, and certainly, fail to keep them safe?
The perception of the American people has very clearly defined what is the better policy. Fear of danger brings them closer to those who would better protect them. And in the end, that is the sole objective of our national defense, and security.