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This Scares Me…

March 17, 2016

Just read a quote from Robert Kennedy. Here are some more of my thoughts if anyone is interested in a dialog on fear…

Why is this simple quote so difficult for folks to understand. The idea that fear is what serves as a foundation for how we interact as a society is terrifying. Ironic that I basically just used the idea of fear on steroids to try to make my point but irony aside, I am terrified. Not of any particular group or individual but of the path our country is seemingly embracing. By not saying no to continual racist actions, by not stopping choices made with little to no embracing of facts or truth, by simply standing on the sidelines allowing this growing parade of hate to grow louder, stronger, more powerful, I fear that our country is going to stop being grounded in hope. We will stop being that light on all of earth for people to gather and roll up their sleeves side by side working together toward a hope filled horizon. I try to teach my daughter that perfection is not a realistic goal in life. I see perfection as nothing more than an abstraction really and more often, I find the idea itself boring. Being excellent though is so much more inclusive. Why not aim for excellence in all we undertake as a society? I’m looking at this quote attributed to Robert F. Kennedy (RFK). Clearly, history has revealed him to be a most imperfect man. But in his shortened life of both extreme privilege and significant public service, I think he embraced a concept of excellence for all. Like RFK, I remain committed to that idea that together, side by side, strong and not strong, we as a country can find an excellence in each other worth celebrating. Challenge yourself and others around you to look for ways to work together and find ways to say YES in all we do instead of finding a rationale for a limiting, defeating, and hopeless NO..! When we are approached to stand up for our country, to identify areas that need our resources of money, work force, and time, find a way to say YES. It all starts with identifying this irrational fear, this narrow minded thinking process that immediately limits our possible options to overcome whatever challenge before us, to be seen for what it is in reality. How can a country so full of great people all of a sudden be seemingly defeated by groups of people because they follow a certain religion, because their skin is different, because they may be coming to our country from places with names we can not properly pronounce or can’t easily find on a map? The truth is that we can never be defeated by these folks who are different. And we never will be defeated by these new people, these different people. These folks are not a threat to us in any way. The real threat is from those that pray upon this fear. Don’t get me wrong. Fear is a very powerful force and is often used to motivate, or I should use the word manipulate here and all of the negative connotations that comes along with the word, manipulate. When we are manipulated through fear we stop processing information completely. Facts are no longer needed as we have all we need through emotion. And those that are tapping into those emotions are getting exactly what they want from us. They really do not want us to look at facts. They want to be in positions of power and so they tell us loudly and constantly that these immigrants are our problem. Refugees are dangerous people and they are determined to kill us. Guns are not dangerous and the government is going to take them away from us if we let them. We can’t let folks marry if they are of the same gender as that will destroy the fabric of our society and we can’t let that happen. All life is sacred so we can’t let folks have abortions. And the list of things that will destroy our society grows and grows and nothing changes.

I am legally blind and I have bought 3 firearms in the last 6 years for either hunting purposes or for simply having fun target shooting. I have been hearing that my guns are going to be confiscated since 2008 and no one has knocked on my door asking for them yet. I have known multiple folks over the years who have been in long term loving relationships with someone who happened to be of the same gender as the other person. I have shared meals with these folks, shared communion at church, worked as a volunteer with these folks helping neighbors who are dealing with homelessness multiple times with these friends countless times. And not once have I sensed a danger to my way of life. What I have sensed, what I have experienced on multiple times is the love of friendship and a shared willingness to be part of a solution to meet our community’s needs side by side.

You want to know what does scare me in my life? I am scared to see countless posters on the walls of neighborhood businesses announcing a fund raising dinner or band concert for a family that is over whelmed with medical bills as someone in their family has been diagnosed with cancer. With this reality they are facing insane bills that has destroyed their savings. And all too often these families already had some sort of medical insurance but it simply wasn’t enough. Why in our country do we know more than one family, more than 5 families, more than 10 families who have been financially destroyed due to illness? That scares me.

I am scared that at least once every 3 to 6 months there is a news story of a major highway bridge that has failed and there are multiple fatalities. There are stories of a train derailment caused by the track system rail bed was way behind in maintenance and the rail simply failed. That scares me.

I am sitting here looking at my son’s transcript from college as he is about 8 weeks away from graduating from college. He will have several thousand dollars in student loan debt that he must pay back. And he will over time because he is committed to meeting his responsibilities. But on the off chance he isn’t able to meet those obligations he will not be able to discharge this debt through bankruptcy. Why is it then that some businesses that received government subsidies through tax breaks or other incentives are allowed to be forgiven through bankruptcy if they encounter challenge later on and can’t meet their obligations? That scares me.

Why is it that when I hear of certain political groups scream that all life is sacred and abortion is wrong as it is killing life are all to often the same people who are fervent supporters of the death penalty and or the Stand your Ground laws? Where is ok that you are perfectly within your rights to shoot to kill someone for trying to steal your TV or your silverware but the same person will scream at the top of their lungs that it is morally wrong to allow for an abortion. These same folks often are saying that we should drug test all folks who get food stamps or other public assistance as they are living off the government dole. But then when a company asks for a tax break, that is the same group of people who say that it will create jobs. And these same folks will say that they need these tax breaks in order to be competitive. And then they offer jobs to folks at a minimum wage of less than $8.00 an hour. And they speak of being competitive. When was the last time any one of these corporate folks tried to live on $8.00 an hour and feel that they were being competitive in their world. I am all for folks maximizing their wages and their income. But that effort should not come at the expense of so many folks who are not able to “compete” on the same level. That scares me.

Why is it that our congress, our federal government, is so willing to commit our 18 to 35 year old population to war after war after police action and say that if you are not supporting our troops, then you are not a true patriot? How are they supporting our troops by not fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs? How is it support when so many of our troops wait ridiculous amount of time for appointments, folks in positions of authority lie outright about the wait times for appointments, the veterans die from illness or they lose all hope and commit suicide, and then these same politicians scream when the President doesn’t attend every veteran funeral and say he isn’t a real Commander in Chief because he doesn’t properly salute the Marine standing outside Marine One? One missed salute constitutes no support for veterans? That scares me.

So let’s wrap this up as I think the biggest thing that scares me is the money. In Hollywood or in politics or in life, when one wants to find out the real motivation for how things happen or why they happen, it is wise to “follow the money” to get the answers you want and or need. I suggest that anyone who is afraid of refugees, afraid of someone of color, a religion that is different, ask yourself where is the money in what I am hearing or what I am being told by these talking heads? Why can’t we fully fund college education? Why can’t we fully fund public healthcare? Why can’t we pay for the needed repairs to our infrastructure? What is stopping the United States from taking care of the challenges we are facing right now? I think that money is making people do some very heinous things in our society and until we identify this love of money, we will have to learn to live with a fear of fear for a very long time. And you know what? That scares me. A lot.

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