Saturday, July 23, 2005

Thinking about Fear

A couple of nights ago, I was on my way home from an errand, when I stopped off to visit Gus the dog, for whom I was dog-sitting. Or would that be dog-walking? Anywho, I was listening to the radio on the way over, and some station was rerunning "War of the Worlds". When I exited the vehicle, I was surprised to find myself afraid. Looking over my shoulder. Looking up and down the street. Calling out loudly as I entered the house, otherwise empty except for the exuberant Gus.

"War of the Worlds", just a little verbal snippet of it, scared the shorts off me. Thinking about fear.

Tonight, I was reading about the bombing in Egypt. How the bombing occurred in a touristy area, and now tourist are flocking away from Egypt. Out of fear. Thinking about the stiff upper lip being shown northward in London, as citizens continue to go about their business instead of plural bombings and extraordinary shootings in the Tube. Thinking about fear.

When 9/11 happened, my husband and I were a few weeks away from a planned tour of DC. After the initial shock and sorrow of the day, the week, I adamantly refused to live in fear. I even flew a month later to visit a friend, taking advantage of low airfares. But I was equally adamant that both of my children's parents were not going to fly to and spend time in DC so soon. So my husband went alone. Thinking about fear.

Is inflicting fear part of the strategy for these militants, bombers, insurgents? The ability to inspire fear gives the inflicter tremendous power. Or is terrifying people planned because it brings the bad actors sadistic satisfaction? Gut-wrenching fear inflicted dehumanizes further. Or is the fear merely a welcomed side effect, with the destruction of people and places the main goal?

Does it matter? Probably. It might influence our response to terrorism. Responding out of fear makes us less effective, as a rule. It is better to act rather than react. And fear-based reactions tend to be less rational, to say the least. Witness the last election, where Dubya so skillfully manipulated the populace and its fears to four more years in the White House.

In the US, we're getting tired of being afraid. It's yesterday's news, even given its prevalence in today's papers. We're getting tired of our fears being exploited by Dubya. We're just plain tired. And our fear in action isn't solving the problem. Our actions in Iraq haven't stopped terrorism. The war on terrorism appears to be causing increased terrorism.

Our terrorized actions are causing more terror. More fear. We need a leader who acts from true strength, not fear. We need strategies that come from a moral center of love, not hate. We need policies that open doors, not close them. We need to protect ourselves, yes. But there are other ways to protect than war and Gitmo.We don't avoid fear by inflicting fear.

We need other ways. So we can be not afraid.

Until tomorrow,


Post a Comment

<< Home