This week's commentary is by 60 Minutes Columnist Steve Hartman.
The way I see it, the basic message of both presidential candidates boils down to this.
Vote for me – or we're all gonna die.
Why do they insist on scaring the pants off everybody?
During the Cold War, Reagan was reassuring. During the Depression, FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself. And yet this year, both Bush and Kerry have basically told us to be afraid – be very afraid.
I believe their hype has given America a false sense of insecurity, which is why I went door-to-door the other day, offering my fellow citizens some much-needed perspective.
I did some research, and did you know the best way to improve your homeland security is to do some serious remodeling?
Every year, the toilet and its accomplice, the tub, cause nearly a quarter of a million serious injuries.
Nearly 20,000 are assaulted by their ceiling fans, while dishwashers bring down another 7,500.
For some reason, it's hard to frighten people with a cotton pullover. Most were extremely dismissive of my everyday dangers.
Hartman: In this world, 2.8 million deaths a year.
Neighbor: From dust alone?
Hartman: From dust alone.
Neighbor: I don't believe it.
Hartman: What do you think? I'm making this up?
It's just human nature to be more concerned with unpredictable events than everyday life.
Of course, I don't expect the candidates to start taking each other to task over dust bunnies and curling irons. And I certainly don't mean to trivialize terror.
I just think it's important to remember, as the politics of fear come to a head this month, that odds are, if anything bad is going to happen to you in the next four years, it's going to happen right where you're sitting.
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.