In the wake of all of this, I have been hearing radio commercials and reading newspaper ads advertising bedbug identification and removal service. The print ads usually feature a picture of an adorable beagle with a cute name like “sniffles” or “peach.” Apparently, “sniffles” has been specifically trained to pick up the scent of bedbugs and will notify the exterminator upon doing so. I have even seen exterminator trucks with hastily attached pictures of “sniffles,” or one of his colleagues, with a few lines about the pooch’s amazing ability and effectiveness.
It occurred to me that I have honestly never seen or heard an ad extolling the virtues of a bedbug sniffing dog. For that matter, I realized I had never heard or seen any bedbug advertisements. It also occurred to me that bedbugs are a scary thing.
Fear sells. Could you imagine being told that you’re apartment or workplace was infested with bedbugs? Wouldn’t you do just about anything to ensure that you were not bedding down with insects whose sole purpose in life was to drink your blood? Wouldn’t you get right on the phone with any of these companies who now, suddenly and conveniently, have “sniffles” at the ready? I know I would.
These companies are capitalizing on that fear. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s capitalism in its most basic form. However, since I have never heard of “sniffles” or any of his ilk before, it could be logically surmised that some of these companies aren’t quite on the up and up. It could be logically surmised that there are a few scam artists amongst the "sniffles" and "peaches" that are out to exploit on that fear and make a buck.
As I thought on this, I couldn’t help but to begin to draw a parallel to the bedbug hysteria and the Tea Party movement. Well, not the entire movement, but some of the characters that have sprung up as key figures in the movements wake.
The Tea Party movement didn’t just spring up out of the ground. The Tea Party movement is a result of a horrific economic environment and the disenfranchisement of a large segment of the population. There is fear, fear of losing jobs, houses, pensions. And let’s be honest, there is a fear in this segment of people of an executive, legislative and judicial branch of government who they feel does not represent their beliefs and ideals.
That brings us to Ms. O’Donnell and her views on witchcraft, masturbation, the theory of evolution, and poor J.R.R. Tolkien. The same Ms. O’Donnell who has had a lien placed against her by the IRS, has been accused of misusing campaign funds for personal use and repeatedly lied about her education background.
Despite the fear that was the impetus of the movement’s beginnings there are, to be sure, many sound candidates backed by the Tea Party movement who express a reasonable concern about government and fiscal responsibility. It can be logically surmised, however, that, in this atmosphere of fear, a snake-oil salesman or two of questionable repute and intentions may attempt to capitalize on that fear. Ms. O’Donnell strikes me as one such person. And many people in
No. You’re not me.