Monday, October 11, 2010

We Are A Nation Afraid of Our Own Shadow

Something really, really, terrible happened in September of 2001. Yes, the Twin Towers came crashing down upon over 2800 of our friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and people we did not even know. When given the chance, our president, George W. Bush, took the low road and convinced us that we have everything to fear including fear itself. He could have given the old FDR speech about how we have nothing to fear but fear itself but he chose to scare us into submission. So, in addition to the fact that we collectively were saddened by the deaths of our countrypersons, we breathed a collective sigh of relief that it wasn't us, and then President Bush followed it up immediately with, "yeah, but not only could it have been you, it may still be you!" That is correct, we are scared out of our collective wits. This is not your vanilla afraid of things, this is look under the beds, check out the closets, keep your doors locked every second of every day 'cause the Al-Quaida terrorists will seek you and and kill you scared!
With that fear he was able to accomplish what the terrorists could not -- and in one sense they have won already. Yep, they want us to be afraid, their tactics and their overall goals depend on us being afraid. We have cut civil liberties especially those issues revolving around the first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments. Our mail is read, our Internet chatter (yep even this) is spied on, your phone calls your right to a speedy trial. And with that has come this huge push of aliens. Not just foreigners but those who do not look or act like us. That's right, the immigrant is taking a huge blow to the head right now because we are afraid that some is going to sneak in and hurt us and so we want everyone to go home! And yet, which of us did not originally come from someplace else (My grandmother enter this country when she was 13, probably illegally) Our economy doesn't help this either. But the lesser known fallout is the LGBT group that is taking a tremendous pummeling right now, because we are afraid-- yep, we do not know these folks and so we are afraid and that fear now drives us to Proposition 8 (in California) and the kinds and types of things that create suicides and deaths of our friends.

So you see, Al-Quiada has won. We have lost our ability to look fear in the eye and not blink. We have adapted our lives to that fear. The terrorists require nothing more than that for they know that when we are afraid we do stupid things and unfortunately we have demonstrated to the entire world that they are right.


Lauralew said...

My husband still refuses to fly as he is afraid of terrorists. His politics have skewed so right that Dick Chaney is his hero. The things he taught me before 9/11 about respecting the other he denies he ever said. Very sad.

Elizabeth said...

As someone with training in psychology, I watch and recognized what they were doing. This was led by someone who knew that the best way to develop a strong, durable response was intermittent reinforcement. So now the majority of us in this country are unable to evaluate risk. You are right about some of those who are paying the price. I would submit that there are many others who fear a terror attack in their rural American town. I saw it happen in my town. Ordinary people living in fear that a foreign terrorist will attack at any moment. We have a lot of work to do.

Murdoch Matthew said...

"A Nation Afraid of Our Own Shadow" -- very true, in the Jungian sense of Shadow as the feared and unacknowledged parts of our own psyches, projected onto other.

JCF said...

You have my sincere pity, Lauralew. (Is there any kind of therapy---singles or couples---you could try?)