“Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 Inaugural Address
For anyone alive for the last two weeks, existence has been less than pleasant, and that goes for either end of the political spectrum as well as the middle ground where the indifferent have existed for some time. It’s on most people’s minds, in everyone’s social media news feeds, popping up as news notifications, on the morning and evening news programs, etc. The ongoing fight between good and evil, each side advocating for its own sense of the two, has been exhausting, and it’s OK to admit it. The fight for your right to be right about your point of view is practically without end. But to that point, we are still right here in this moment, living day by day, trying to enjoy our lives; and we can’t forget that.
Over the last two years, Donald Trump has campaigned hard on the idea of fear; and, now, he is pushing that agenda to its limits, wreaking havoc on a global scale. Conspiracy theories and investigative reports abound as to his apparent and real reasons for this, but whatever the case, it’s causing severe division that we as a country may not be able to recover from. As if playing out like some Hunger Games-esque reality show, we have a certain war over ethical principles versus presidential power versus constitutional boundaries while the average Joe just wants to sleep well at night to make it to work on time in the morning. Welcome to the era of uncertainty.
If we examine what preempted all of this more closely, we must seriously consider the harm of living in a state of perpetual fear, whether justified or not. And it seems to depend on the corporate news outlets that one comes to rely on, with pundits equally declaring propaganda over politicizing of the “facts” as they understand them to be. Right is left, up is down, the sky is green and others see blue. And every “expert” has an answer for what we citizens should believe to be the truth, the worst of which is that we have become so polarized that the truth seems obscure. In the end, however, truth and justice have a way to rising to the top because humanity depends on it.
We do need to come to grips with the facts of history: Many autocrats have used the same fear tactics to control the states that they’ve governed. Trump’s actions are already feeding hostile elements, which are now using this perceived “Muslim ban” as evidence of the West’s attempt to fight Islam. Whether or not one agrees that the threat to our safety has been pending or is now certain because of the ban, choosing the undying stranglehold of fear has led to this.
With each passing day, it’s hard to shake this new fear, the one of uncertainty, of whether our economy will keep moving forward, whether the stock market will hold, whether our civil rights will stay intact with a president so sensitive to dissent, whether the truth will ever surface as real undeniable facts that we can all agree on before it’s too late. But with all the outpouring of outrage, one thing is certain: We are all wide-awake rather than being lulled into an apparent false sense of security.
As we as a society move forward, we cannot forget that we are all in this together, whether we like it or not. We must take some time to recognize the value of our neighbor’s existence and the importance of our own. Regardless of what happens in D.C., we must be vigilant to keep our local economy churning forward, because if we fail to live and enjoy our lives, then all is lost anyway.