How do you gauge fear?
In the world of martial arts, the dangerous opponent is the one who meets you with business in mind. The art of winning is all about business, as it turns out. Your opponent comes to you requiring a service – namely to be beat down. You provide that service and your opponent pays for it.
This is business. It has no place for fear.
But in the case of politics – as in the case of other more simple forms of fighting – you see fear played out, and often it is on a grand scale.
Consider for a moment the current Administration. Obama and his czars have consistently attempted to use campaign tactics against a growing number of disaffected people. In essence, his team has been targeting media and the general public's opposition with increasing levels of hostility.
Fox News, which is obliterating their competition with between three and five times as many viewers, was initially faced with the “time-out,” strategy where their reporters are gently slapped by being last on the list for anything, then they were hit with the “deep freeze,” which has cut them out of the loop entirely for every story. Now, they are facing direct, outward, hostile attacks by White House officials.
In fact, the word, “lies,” which was so shocking, when called out in response to the President’s obvious lies, has been thrown at Fox by none other than White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn.
Dunn recently was quoted by Time Magazine as saying, the Obama team plans to be “more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
But distortion seems to run rampant, because both liberals and conservatives alike have been peppered with such claims. So where’s the truth.
I would like to humbly suggest that the truth is where it always is – in the eyes and the actions of the opponent. The fight or flight response is built into us. So to circumvent it requires years of training and reinforcement. Subsequently, if you do not have that training, you react as anyone would – you run or you stand. Sometimes people even freeze up. It happens.
But look at the two opponents in this match and see who is on the defensive, and who is loudly shouting that they are going to bring more to the fight. Their voices are shrill because they know they are in deep – and the opposition is getting stronger every day.
I have seen doomsayers on Twitter literally quaking because the Internet czar is allegedly coming to get them. Then there are people like Dunn, who are claiming to have what it takes to target the largest, most powerful and successful media concern on the planet; Fox. It doesn’t really matter if you like ‘em or hate ‘em. They are running strong. They are not acting twitchy and reacting poorly, like the Administration. They are causing their opposition to step out of its’ comfort zone and they are "cutting away at the edges" - a strategy described in one of the world's masterworks on strategy, Musashi's "Book of Five Rings." Their fight is causing the White House to take more chances and use stronger language and actions, just to maintain their ground in public discourse.
If they were a fighter in the ring, I would suggest that they are outclassing their opponent dramatically. But they aren’t alone.
The only reason they can gain as much ground as they have in the PR/media world, is if they have a serious groundswell of support. That groundswell is you and I and everyone who thinks that Washington is full of big, fat, bottom-feeding catfish. And so it is. That’s why you’re starting to see some action from Congressmen afraid of losing their jobs in 2010, and that’s why you’re hearing comments like Dunn’s. People only react that way if they're afraid.
If you are approaching the fight with business in mind, you don’t care about the outcome, because that’s not what it is about. It’s about kicking ass and taking names.
We already know their names – and they understand that, and are afraid.
Now it’s time to kick some ass.