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When did we become “America, Land of Fear”

August 15, 2011

Somehow we have become a nation afraid.  We seemingly fear everything. We fear a recession, terrorists, each other, earthquakes, global warming, and anything we don’t understand.

The media feeds these fears just by using the word fear and any other gloomy adjectives they can find.  “The Dow Jones industrial average ‘plunged‘ 519.83 points, or 4.6 percent”, according to the front page of the  Mercury News on 8/10/11.  The plunge didn’t make the top ten list of worst days and is a blip compared to Oct. 19, 1987: when the market dropped 22.6 percent.  It is interesting that on 8/11/11, when the market went up about 400 points, that story was buried inside the business section.

We have all given up our freedoms to accommodate the government’s reaction to terrorists.  We submit to searches, body scanning, security checks, and stand like idiots with our shoes off to board a plane.

We have become fearful of each other.  If you are on a plane and a “middle eastern looking’ man gets aboard you have a twinge of fear.  God forbid he is wearing a turban.  A woman walking sees a black man approaching and tightens her grip on her purse.  Your neighbor is being loud and you sit in your house afraid to say anything because he might retaliate.

The media loves to blow out of proportion any natural disaster with speculation of what could happen.  Whether it is an earthquake in California that triggers discussion of the “big one” or the recent tsunami in Japan that was headed for the U.S., the reporters spend most of their time telling us the worst case scenario.  Which, at least to date, has never happened.

As for global warming, just watch “An Inconvenient Truth” and be afraid.

We have become a nation that fears what we don’t understand, be it a people, a philosophy, or an idea.  The reason for this is we are lazy, we don’t want to take the time to understand.  I have seen people fear the homeless, for example, until they sat down face to face with a human being and realized but for the grace of God…

In 1985 according to the Wall Street Journal, the greatest fear in this country was the fear of speaking in front of an audience, today it is all of the above.  Rick Ungar has called the last ten years the decade of fear.  And as he says, and I agree, “the time has come to shake off the fear and loathing in America and get on with it already.”

So if we ask the question what is the opposite of fear? Some might say it is faith, others might say love.  To me the opposite of fear is knowledge, the more we understand something, the less we fear it.  Take the time to understand the true economic situation, the reality of the terrorist threat, your neighbor, the actual threat of a natural disaster, the facts of global warming, and anything else you may not understand, and fear dissipates like the smoke from a chimney.

In the words of Franklin Roosevelt, “let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  An let me add that only in ignorance can fear survive.  Let is become once again  a nation not of fear but of resolve!

Oops!  This just in from today’s newspaper—Sunspots will strike the earth in 2013 and 2014 disrupting communications networks, power grids, and the internet.

Be afraid, be very afraid America.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 5, 2015 10:59 am

    Thank you! Thank you! In 1988 I was in the US for the first time, as a German tourist. I returned in 2011… and it was a trip to a different country. I didn’t say anything to my hosts, afraid of insulting them, or maybe misunderstanding what I was witnessing, but the fear was palpable everywhere… entering from Vancouver at the Bellingham border crossing, to airport security screenings to the “feel” of the country. Back home, I told my husband, “Those 9/11 terrorists? They’ve won. Only America doesn’t realize it yet.” So sad. I want my old America back!

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