Be Not Afraid

It occurs to me, the uproar about Muslims, terrorists and madmen coming to American to end life as we know it, is all about fear. The Daesh (what I prefer to call ISIS or ISIL) wants us to be afraid. The NRA, your local gun store and the arms industry as a whole, wants us to be afraid. And the fear mongering does not stop there. The pharma industry wants us to be afraid of illnesses we’ve never heard of and are never likely to catch. An entire political party wants us to be afraid — afraid of “liberals” (like me), President Obama, “big government”, LGBTs, pregnant women, single women in pants suits, any regulations imposed on business, blacks, Asians, actually, any non-whites, the ACA (Obamacare), the homeless, Illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, refugees and terrorists — but only Muslims.

For some reason, Republicans don’t seem afraid of men walking the streets in body armor wearing loaded assault rifles and rapid-fire pistols, regardless of their qualifications or mental stability.

Ironically, those who accept the predictions of our planet dying from our pollution are also trying to get our attention — trying to make us afraid.

I refuse to be frightened by irrational fear mongers. Why? IMHO, it’s all about money, greed and a lust for power. The most recent racist and islamophobic rantings are made to pander to unsophisticated (and easily frightened) voters. While there are security concerns, our irrational reaction to those threats is unwarranted. These fear mongers have convinced a broad swath of the population they need to buy all the guns and ammunition they can before someone comes to their senses and makes owning 9,000 rounds of semi-automatic rifle rounds and fifty assault rifles illegal, or makes buying a gun as hard as licensing a car — as it is almost everywhere else in the world. And it’s working. The sale of guns and ammunition is at an all-time high and the arms industry is grinning ear-to-ear. They’re making suckers out of vast swaths of the American population.

We’ve already seen the easily expected side-effects of this fear mongering. Mass killings rise each year — all made easier by the availability of firearms, police not trusting the people they’re sworn to protect and fear-crazed men wading into crowds, hell-bent to right some imagined wrong — and virtually all of these were perpetrated by white so-called ‘Christian’ men. Because of the flood of guns in American homes, unintentional deaths by firearm happen almost every day — and we don’t hear about those which only wound a toddler or another family member. IMHO, these incidents can’t be called “accidental” just as leaving sticks of dynamite lying around is just ignorant and willful, wanton negligence. And only here in the US — land of the free.

And as I said, there are things to worry about. Things like global climate change — which will kill and displace far more of us all over the world than all the wars and gun violence we’ve endured. And yet we just talk about the problems and do little. It does not take a Nostradamus to foresee what damage rising sea levels will bring to our doorsteps, or what more severe storms brought on by global warming will do — these consequences have already begun. They’ll only get a lot worse, even after we begin to take measures to fix the damage our generation has caused. Frankly, I expect it is too late. And why haven’t we acted? Profit — it’s that simple. The corporations which run this country are convinced (and rightly so) their shareholders will be angry if they admit fossil fuels have brought us to this sorry state. Add to that the Congressmen and Senators who work for them fail to pass meaningful legislation to address this issue.

But I’m not afraid of Muslims, or immigrants, or refugees, or homeless or others in need of a safe place to live and work away from the ravages of war. I am more concerned about Americans who let themselves be frightened into doing desperate, horrible, senseless acts or simply turn their backs on those who need us — again — as we turned our backs on the Jews in 1936. I’m concerned that too many intelligent voters have bought into this fear mongering and will put another demagog like Hitler in the White House. I’m also concerned about church leaders of all faiths, and politicians who feed on this fear to gain power or wealth or to feed their egos. They should be ashamed of themselves — and they call themselves “Christians.”

So yes, I might be naïve. However, I do know the vast majority of those we are told to fear are loving, caring, honest people who want the same things in life as we do. They have families to protect, mother-in-laws, girlfriends, boyfriends and a desire for peace. I think we should help them find it.

Bill

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