Why So Much Fear In America?

Why So Much Fear In America? February 2, 2017

pope-new2When I lived in England people were not so scared all the time.

Here in the USA I hear so much fear from people. I’ve lived back in my home country now for ten years. For eight of those years Barack Obama was the president.

From those who disliked the president there was so much fear mongering. You read the junk like I did: There were FEMA camps prepared to house the religious people when Obama declared martial law. Obama was a Muslim Manchurian candidate. He was a foreigner and a secret communist. He was gay. He was atheist. He was anti American. He wanted to take your guns. He despised you. He wanted to close down your churches. He was secretly working for the Saudis and the Iranians. He hated God’s people.

You know all the conspiracy theories and threats. They were all based on fear.

Now Trump is president the other side are engaging in the fear mongering. Trump is the new Hitler. Trump is going to bash gays, ban Muslims and bring about martial law. Trump is the dictator and his staff are Goering, Goebbels and Himmler. Trump is the demagogue, the pawn of the big internationalist oil, industrial military complex. Trump is going to bring about the end of our freedoms.

Really?

OK. I don’t like Trump, and I sure didn’t like Obama, and I really didn’t like Hillary, but why all the fear?

In England they people weren’t paranoid all the time. They generally considered the government to be on their side and that it was run by fairly competent people who knew what they were doing. Sure there was corruption and lies. Sure there were political extremists who either hated Thatcher or hated Blair of hated whoever was in power, but honestly, there was not the same level of fear and conspiracy theories you find here in the USA.

I have a theory. I think it is because of who we are as a people. Look at our history. Most of the immigrants who came here were fleeing some kind of persecution. Protestant settlers came for religious freedom from oppressive state religion regimes. Jews came here to escape pogroms. Irish came here to escape the English oppression. Others came to escape crushing poverty caused by greedy capitalists, aristocrats or politicians or all three. The Native Americans and Blacks were oppressed and enslaved.

America was founded as a protesting nation–a refugee nation–a nation of people who had every reason to suspect the powers  that be. They were a people who had every reason to be cautious and to believe that the powers that be were out to get them, to grab their wealth, smash their religion, quash their freedoms and enslave them.

I think that fear and distrust of the establishment runs deep in our bloodstream.

Is it healthy? I think up to a point it is. We should be suspicious of those who hold power.

But if we’re Christians we should also have a bit more  trust and confidence in God’s providence. What he is doing is always and everywhere above and beyond the little power plays of people here on earth. Will we be persecuted from time to time? That is what the master promised. Will we be misunderstood, maligned and even martyred? It seems that is part of the deal. Will government powers hate us, wealthy people scorn our values and the diabolically controlled despise us? Of course. It they did that to our Master why do we think it will be different for us?

And if that is not the case right now at this time and in this place for you and for me you can be assured it is the case for many thousands of our brothers and sisters elsewhere in our sad and frightened world.

If it is not the case here and now for you and for me, then stop worrying and be thankful.

Then remember the words of Pope St John Paul II who lived through the Nazis AND the Communists, who stepped out on the balcony and said,

“Do not be afraid!”


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