America's Poisonous Culture Of Fear
The Politics of Fear in America: A Nation at War with Itself
Watch John Whitehead's Video Blog Here. . .
“Fear is the foundation of most governments.”
~ John Adams
Turn on the TV or flip open the newspaper on any given day, and you will find yourself accosted by reports of government corruption, corporate malfeasance, militarized police and marauding SWAT teams. America is entering a new phase, one in which children are arrested in schools, military veterans are forcibly detained by government agents because of the content of their Facebook posts, and law-abiding Americans are being subjected to the latest in government spy technology.
These threats to our freedoms are not to be underestimated. Yet even more dangerous than these violations of our basic rights is the language they are couched in—the language of fear. It is a language spoken effectively by politicians on both sides of the aisle, shouted by media pundits from their cable TV pulpits, marketed by corporations, and codified into bureaucratic laws that do little to make our lives safer or more secure.
This language of fear has given rise to a politics of fear whose only aim is to distract and divide us. In this way, we have been discouraged from thinking analytically and believing that we have any part to play in solving the problems before us. Instead, we have been conditioned to point the finger at the other Person or vote for this Politician or support this Group, because they are the ones who will fix it. Except that they can’t and won’t fix the problems plaguing our communities.
No amount of freedom has ever been won by sitting back and watching things play out, or by voting for a certain person, or giving money to a certain group. Freedom is won through action, not just in terms of nonviolent protest or petition (which are vital), but in terms of daily interactions with friends and neighbors, discussing the issues and how best to equip communities to deal with daily challenges. Freedom is won most effectively by taking a stand, starting at the local level, whether it’s challenging the influx of profit-driven red light cameras at street intersections, taking issue with a school board decision that sends a message to young people that they have no rights, or demanding that local police de-militarize.
Read Whitehead's entire article here. . .