The politicians are the ones who are inflaming people irrationally

BROOKLINE — Unlike a letter writer in your Aug. 12 issue, I had no problem whatsoever with the semantics or the emphasis in MacLean Gander's essay about COVID-19.

As he says, although we here in Vermont are in better shape than most other states, the virus does not respect borders and this is no time to relax our vigilance. The thing we have to fear with this virus is people not taking it seriously enough, rather than taking it too seriously.

The letter writer exhorts us to “Tame your fear. Think clearly. Ask who is structuring the narrative and why. Maintain a healthy skepticism of what you are reading and hearing. Do your research, get informed rather than inflamed, and come to your own conclusions.”

This is great advice. But I don't think the column in question sought to inflame anyone irrationally.

The people who are doing that are the politicians - such as our president - who are stirring up fears of things that are not real.

Such as that mail-in voting is by nature fraudulent.

Such as that if Democrats are elected, black and brown people will invade and take over the suburbs, brown people will flood over our southern borders unchecked and take our jobs (if they're not all applying for welfare).

Such as that bureaucrats from the “deep state” will show up at your door to confiscate your guns, religious people will no longer be allowed to practice their religion.

Stirring up and exploiting fears is what autocrats, and would-be autocrats, do in order to set their subjects against one another and cling to power themselves.

This is Trump's playbook, and this in my view is what we truly need to think clearly and get informed about and do something about.

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