Home » General » Fear and Individualism

Fear and Individualism

This is not my typical type of post. But I feel a strong need to add my voice to this discussion. I know I’m opening myself up for all kinds of criticism. We each have the right to our opinion. I will be the person over here—> teaching her children to be compassionate, accepting, tolerant, and caring.

I was driving Little Man to school one morning last week when I saw a sign on the side of a bus, “Report suspicious activity.” At first my brain said, “Yes, we must report suspicious activity,” but then my brain said, “Hey, wait a minute…..someone is bound to take that too far.” It sounded like something from a movie. It sounded like something you might hear in the 1950’s, or 1940’s.  I became worried, and afraid.

As citizens who care for one another’s safety, yes we should make known things that are out of order. But there will be those who take advantage of the process. This is my fear…..we are moving backwards, and an environment of fear is being created. People are preying upon the fear they’ve created.

Ban all Muslims from entering the country, Trump says. Create a database. Tell the police about any “suspicious” activity. Sound familiar? Nazi Germany, anyone? Or maybe McCarthy USA? Or we could take it all the way back to Salem, Massachusetts and the witch trials. Create an environment of fear and individualism. Separate neighbor from neighbor so there is no remorse in turning them in, even if you make up “suspicious activity.”

Why are we so afraid of different? There are bad people everywhere. Nothing about skin color, religion, race, sex, or creed saves a person from being evil. Nothing. Look at our own history; you don’t even have to go back too far.  We have memorials for a reason – so we remember the bad things we did ourselves. Let’s not go backwards. Yet I fear that’s exactly what’s happening.

I’m not a paranoid person. Neither am I a conspiracy theorist. And I do believe we need to be aware of our surroundings. But I’m more afraid of going back to the days we put millions of Japanese-American citizens into interment camps, had neighbors reporting neighbors as Communist just because they annoyed someone, turned in the girl down the street as a witch just because she looked at you sideways.

When did we stop caring about other people? Nowadays, it’s commonplace for people to shoot other people on the freeway because they cut you off, or to yell at someone in a store for not moving quickly enough. It seems selfish, self-centered, me-first behavior is the more popular way to go anymore. I almost think that’s why the stories of people doing good go viral – because there’s so little of it anymore we pay attention when it does happen.  We need more “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and less, separatist, selfish, individualist rhetoric. As a mom, I preach kindness to my children. Would that more would do the same.

6 thoughts on “Fear and Individualism

  1. Absolutely, positively agree with you on all counts. We are teaching kindness. I think we’re too tuned into media. What’s happening when I walk out the door is usually pleasant. Plenty of warm, friendly people, meaning well, being kind. As long as we have more of that than the other, I feel hopeful.

  2. Interesting post and great observations, Donna.

    We’re at a point where the country has a unique opportunity to define itself. Will it lose its identity through categorical hate, suspicion of others and between ourselves? Will it react emotionally and not objectively at a time of conflict? Will the message-makers, national leaders, media, and pundits stop for a second and decide upon a unifying message or a decisive message?

    I would challenge us all (as anyone who follows the nonsense I post on FB) to look/listen critically at the messages being put out to the public via the sources above. Agree or disagree, but start listening to each message from a position of, 1) Who is originating this message? 2) Why are they telling me this? 3) Do they have an ulterior motive or is it trying to move me towards a certain action/reaction? 4) Is it trying to find facts or is it trying to editorialize?

    “When did we stop caring for people?” We stopped when human lives are considered secondary to “rights.” People say, “I have a ‘right’ to arm myself” but are willing to allow others, even innocents, to die in order to protect that right. We stopped when people give even a moment’s pause to the idea that entire segments of society should be marginalized. That’s when we stopped caring.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s