One nation, in fear
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” and our world today is proof of his statement.
Fear has become the primary motivational tool throughout our society, employed by politicians seeking to convince us their opponent’s election will result in the end of civilization as we know it and by virtually every piece of electronic or snail mail we get from groups urging us to contribute to their cause to help ward off the evils they believe to be standing at our doorsteps.
Today’s political and social discourse is crippled by fear. Many live in fear that some deranged killer will mow down our children or grandchildren unless we turn our schools and churches into virtual prison camps. Others have been convinced by self-interest groups that, despite constitutional guarantees and Supreme Court rulings, the federal government is intent on taking away all of our guns, even our single-shot .22 rifles.
Others seek to drive well-meaning environmental agendas by creating fears of a world drowning in melted Arctic ice if we all don’t switch from cars to bicycles, even as their neighbors warn of black U.N. helicopters swarming into our area to enforce non-existent Euro-zone environmental rules.
The pledge to our flag proclaims that we are “one nation, under God,” but if that is true today, the god we are under must be the god of fear and retribution so often described in the Christian Old Testament rather than the savior proclaimed in the gospels, who in his Sermon on the Mount told listeners not to be anxious about tomorrow because tomorrow would take care of itself.
This doesn’t mean we should accept everything that comes our way, but it does reflect the need to accept that life carries with it some risk and that we must learn to live with that risk.
Are we willing to replace our schools and churches with online, in-home classes and sermons in order to end all risks of mass shootings or of Sunday school kidnappings by divorced parents?
Are we willing to live in a world where everyone thinks he or she has to carry a loaded, semi-automatic weapon everywhere to create the illusion of being in control of one’s destiny?
Neither living behind barricades nor behind personal arsenals is going to give us the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that was proclaimed as a national goal so long ago.
Perhaps when we are ready to accept that life isn’t perfect and there are risks and unknowns all around us, we can compromise with our fears and with each other and find acceptable levels of risk that allow us to live life to its fullest without our country becoming an armed camp or building medieval-style walls around our churches and schools.
Weather JournalStarting to look a lot like summer