FEAR AND SECURITY

Listening to the GOP debates tonight . . .

I’m so tired of the repeated propagation of fear . . . fear of bad government, fear of social program bankruptcy, fear of ISIS, fear, fear, fear.  This was most obvious in the 5:00 pm debate among the 7 candidates who didn’t “make the cut” for the main event, and I wondered if that had something to do with it.  Were their campaigns based more on this model than those of the ten who would appear later?

At 7 pm, I do believe I heard more solution-oriented comments — in fact, I was actually hoping that some of the various ideas would find their way into the policies of whomever is elected to succeed Barack Obama.  Oh, heck — why wait? If they’re good ideas, why not take them under consideration now?  There were cogent approaches to taxation, immigration, even international relations that could possibly be refined and incorporated . . . even by Democrats!

And all this fear talk reminded me of a time when I was about 22, with an infant daughter, and having a conversation with my dad while on vacation.  He was a Republican, and generally fiscally conservative, and I had been raised in a comfortably protected bubble.  Now I was struggling financially.  My M.A. in music was economically useless, and I made $15 a week as a choir soloist.  My husband, still in grad school, had started his own business, so his income was unpredictable.  I got into a fairly emotional (post-partum?) discussion with my dad over security.  And security is the flip side of fear.

“What do I need to do — how much do I need to make — to be secure?” I begged. “But there is no such thing as security,” he tried to tell me, which just increased my anxieties.  My dad, the epitome of security, says there is no such thing?

It was the first time that I, as a protected white kid from an upper middle class family had ever faced what both my parents had grown up with, and which the 99% have always known.

And yet, politicians, aided by the media, continue to hawk fear, while the populace demands security.  Still, there is and never will be such a thing as security in this life.  One of the video questions asked tonight by a citizen was (approximately), “When will I no longer feel afraid in my own country?”  Well, sweetheart, if you never felt afraid before, you really shouldn’t feel afraid now.  The number of deaths from terrorists are miniscule compared to highway deaths, heart attacks, etc.  It’s one thing to be vigilant and quite another to be afraid to walk outside.

Now, if you’re African-American (which she was not), it’s a different situation. You have probably always felt afraid . . . afraid of being profiled, afraid of being accused, afraid of being turned down for a job, afraid of losing a child to a drive-by shooting.  So when will you no longer feel afraid in this country?  Perhaps there’s hope that that day might come, when you or your children might feel more secure, if not totally unafraid.  The time has come in the United States for re-training of all police and state troopers, all military-esque forces, so that we might hope for such a day.  The time has come so that hiring and land purchases and school acceptance might become more transparent, so that we might hope for such a day.

These are the things that have gone through my mind, watching the debates tonight.  I expected a comedy routine, and at 5 p.m., I have to admit, I got what I expected for the most part.  But I am gratified that there was more substance at 7 p.m.  I am gratified that I am not as fearful of the conservative GOP candidates as I expected to be.  I have one qualifier:  I will never vote for any candidate who intends to impose his or her religious views (i.e. views on marriage or women’s medical care or abortion – those hot-button “moral” issues that cloud the conservative Christians’ views from the issues of the living, starving, poverty-stricken humans, the tortured human and non-human animals, and the groaning earth) on the citizenry of this country.  It is not simply an issue of church and state, it is an issue of not forcing one’s religious views on others who might hold to different sacred beliefs and practices — or none.

It’s late, and I might not be making sense any more.  But it was high time I added to this blog.  Next I will post some sermons.  For now, as Jon Stewart suggested, I’ll leave the ongoing conversation.

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