I just finished reading Jumping at Shadows by Sasha Abramsky. In a very enlightening way it articulated the how and why Americana fear just about everybody and everything that is different, or that they either can’t explain or understand. Mr. Abramsky puts into writing what I have been feeling for a long time. As an American society, we have become so paranoid and so focused on ourselves that there are many times we don’t look at those around us as being human. The media hype that promotes fear has turned us from rational, thinking adults into little children who are just waiting for the boogey man to pop out from under the bed.
Both mainstream and social media have contributed to public anxiety, and the way we react to this fear is in unkind, unjust, and very disturbing. Mr. Abramsky explains the reasons behind much of the reactive fear, and also unravels the myths behind many of the ideas. He gives the real statistics behind the news information instead of the Facebook version of whatever the story is. But people don’t want to hear it.
When discussing politics, news events, and even philosophical ideas, I find that I can’t share my true feelings. Looking back at how I raised my children, giving them freedom and independence, I see that people don’t or can’t do that now. In my very simplistic way, I want to see this change, but how do we begin to alleviate the societal push toward anxiety and fear? What makes me afraid, is how people act and react when afraid. But I can only do for myself, and I know that I need to face the fear or fear head on. I am not afraid of others, I am not afraid of people who are different than me and all those little things like flying or Ebola. I am resilient and I am strong and in the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.”