In the face of fear

When I noticed that my last article was written unusually long ago, I realized there have been so many words uttered with such intensity and urgency by so many people, that I have been stunned into silence. There is so much fear in the air, so much analyzing, so much yelling, so much nonsense. In the past when that happens in my life I go inward looking for some basic principle that makes sense to me.

Fear, of course is perfectly normal for any human but there is a substantial difference between fear of a lunging pit bull and fear of a dropping stock market. The difference is that fear of the pit bull does not depend on thought or social constructs, it is what we call “instinctive.” But fear of the falling market is entirely mental in nature. To have a fear of a falling market, or losing a job, or not being able to pay bills one has to buy into a very intricate system of culturally based principles.

We usually say that something is “all in your head” but there is always a reality behind these cultural fears. Hunger and homelessness are very real and primal. It is not that fear of losing money, possessions or value is not in any way wrong or invalid, but they are just different and that difference is the key to dealing with them.

President Roosevelt’s famous bromide about fear is part of the tool, but another part is action. If we remember that fear of most things in the life or ordinary people is not the same as the leaping tiger, we get just enough room to stand aside and look for solutions.

Frankly, I do not know whether the bailout was disastrous, whether the economy is on its last legs, or what to do to bring about world peace. I am very suspicious of anyone who claims they do unless they are standing shoulder to shoulder with those suffering, getting their hands dirty and working not preaching.

With all the areas with which I disagree with Sen. Obama, his call for Americans to work together speaks to me. It could be all insincere on his part, but that doesn’t really matter to me. It is a call that I have made many times and I am very pleased to hear a Presidential candidate speak words of community and sacrifice.

And that is what I realized was the place I go when things get hectic and tough – to work with other people who hear the call to action and community. I am always enriched when I respond to that call and see that others are as well.

If for no other reason, I will vote for Barack Obama because of his appeal to Americans to remember what made us such a successful nation – looking fear in the face and finding strength in working together for solutions that make life better for us all.


  1. Malibu

    Mister Hoskins, I took a petition all over the internet to stop the bailout. It resulted in over a million letters sent to the House and Senate. This was done in 4 days! We had several call-in radio shows barking on the evil of this bailout. CSPAN received many calls against the bailout.

    I did not do this in anger but in sincere fear that many Americans would lose their jobs and homes. It would be faster to weed out the good mortgage and loan companies and let the banks work it out on their own. The government has no business issuing orders to extend loans without credit ratings. They did and it came back to kick them in the butt.

    At least the government realized the citizens were serious with these efforts so they should not be surprised when the lot of them lose their elections. I am a simple man, Mr. Hoskins and would like nothing better than to work locally in all our political actions. If our local governments would take the lead in many of our problems, then it would be an advantage to them and to us.


  2. Phil Hoskins

    While large action on a grand scale can be tempting, my personal choice is action on the most local scale. For some tht will simply be a family, for some a neighborhood, for some a city or area.

    The main point is to take some action on a scale that looks possible. The biggest enemy in times like these can be despair and defeat.

    The big steps may not be available to us all, but it is certainly possible to pay more attention to one’s loved ones, pick up some litter on the sidewalk on your block, or some other act that may seem trivial.

    Phil Hoskins

  3. EffPee

    Your list of trivialities is incomplete, Mr. Hoskins. You have left ‘post your opinion on the internet’ off the list. It is perhaps the most trivial of all the trivial things we do these days.

  4. ekaton

    I see the bailout in rather simple terms.

    Major banks are holding the economy hostage by refusing to loan money unless they are paid a ransom of $700 billion tax dollars. The former head of the world’s largest investment bank, Goldman Sachs, is the Secretary of the Treasury. He is their point man. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

    Do you think this $700 billion will be the last? (Fool me once, shame on, pause, shame on me. Fool me twice, long pause, can’t get fooled again.)

    The national debt is already unpayable. Its costing $400 billion a year in interest alone! Doesn’t that ANGER you? Inflation coming from all of this printed/borrowed money will become rampant, and even those of us who “own” our homes with paid off mortgates will eventually be taxed out of them due to inflation purposely engineered by central banks like the Fed and by huge “banking interests” declared BY THEIR MINIONS WITHIN THE GOVERNMENT to be “too large to fail”.

    It is going to get REALLY bad. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet of how bad it is going to get. Its going to make the “great” depression seem like a tea party. And at the end the bankers are going to own it all for cents on the dollar, and you WILL do as you are told or you will be cast aside to die homeless in the gutter.

    — Kent Shaw

  5. Phil Hoskins

    I am not going to let this discussion get sidetracked to 9/11, so I deleted some posts and will continue to monitor the thread to keep a focus.

    Phil Hoskins

  6. Malibu

    Good advice, Mr. Hoskins. I have been a strong team member all my life. The attitude in the last 20 years seems to be anti-teamwork. The individual feels more at home with himself than trying to collaborate as a team. Even within successful business endeavors, employees want a competitive atmosphere which is small ways can mean improvement of the product or services involved, but in many cases adds stress to the job itself.

    The dynamics of teamwork can succeed as greater than the sum of the individuals. There is a word for that, that skips my brain this morning.


  7. Malibu

    Thank you gazelle! Yes indeed! Synergism is what is missing in our glorious world at this time.


  8. Ladywolf55

    Definitely synergy.

    I wondered myself, thinking back to the history of the USA, where is the sacrifice, the coming together for a cause, the holding out of a hand to your neighbor to keep them afloat in their time of need, the strong family ties that help ones to survive in crisis?

    It disappeared among the “Me” generation. And now the chickens are coming home to roost. Perhaps it’s we, the baby boomers, who can take the hand of the “me’s” while they’re beginning to go hungry and losing their shelter,and dying from lack of health care. We have the knowledge and can show them how to plant and grow food, and how to begin again when all is lost, and develop character. Perhaps that will be our legacy to our grandchildren and their children-teaching them how you lose everything and begin again…. and work together for a common cause—Survival.

    That may be what President Obama has to do with what he’s been given to work with: A failed Constitutional Republic on it’s last legs. I hope he, (and we) are up to the challenge.

  9. Malibu

    Lady Wolf. As long as we have this forum for us to discuss what is wrong and what is right in America, we should survive. We have allowed greed to lead most of our federal programs and the voters have allowed our own representatives to vote against our wishes. Many of us tired to warn about allowing emotions to lead us in our votes in 2000.

    Clinton’s shenanigans brought out the religious voters who demanded leglislation to stop adultery. A clear desire for a police state brought Governor Bush of Texas into the white house. It was the start of the downfall of the GOP. Here at Reader Rant the fights for freedoms took a toll on everyone. It was a time when Mr. Thompson was out during a illness and our forum exploded.

    Reader Rant was just one small voice in how the American voters reacted to the Clintons. They went in the opposite direction and we had 8 years of a born-again dictator. We have lived through wars and the fall of the stock market that put our credit in terrible jeopardy.

    We can survive it after the election and only if the two sides can synergise. Mr. Hoskins has the solution and we must form a team behind a compromise to return to the Constitution that gives us American freedoms.

    There is nothing wrong with individual opinions in our homes. When we start legislating them, we run into trouble. Many American homes have no place for homophobia or using abortions for personal problem solving. Racism adds to the dissention and it must stop influencing our voting decisions. We are heading in the right direction to stop this bigotry but the problem still exists at the voting booths.

    Only through honest discussions as we have here can we start thinking as Americans.


  10. griff

    Yeah, we can work together to bring about what? Mega-Socialism? No thanks.

    The disaster of the Bush administration, and the Republicans as a whole, has made mindless robots of us all.

    While every aspect of McCain’s history is examined and re-examined, Obama gets a free pass. I’m quite certain that, had Obama spent the same amount of years in the Senate, his record would be much the same.

    In the few short years he has been in Washington, he has toed his own party line. He voted for all the legislation his supporters claim he wants to change. His record in Illinois is equally as unimpressive and partisan.

    He voted for the bailout, the Patriot Act (renewal), and everything else. He didn’t need to vote yea for these items to pass, but he did. A slap in the face, but we continue to apologize and rationalize. Is this change? I think not. His actions defy his rhetoric.

    A shining example of the two-party control system and the mindless mesmerization of the unthinking masses. Any-port-in-a-storm thinking. When the storm subsides, we’ll find that the port is filled with pirates – the same pirates that have been there all along. The names and faces will change, but the men behind the curtain remain.

    I am in utter disbelief that we’re still buying tickets to the same over-played and tired drama.

  11. Ladywolf55

    Well said, and very true, Griff. While Obama has great intellect and I feel he has some empathy for people, he does vote right down the same line as the Republicans on taking away our freedoms and giving our money to Wall Street. He’s no different than all the rest of Congress, pandering to the Corporate masters. Two heads of the same beast, I say.

    But American’s tend to talk a lot and do not much of anything to change it. Apathy is still stalking and killing the American Dream.

  12. Malibu

    Griff speaks the truth as do you Ladywolf. But why can’t we wake up the voters to do the right thing? I’m reading Peggy Noonan’s new book “Patriotic Grace” and she goes through all the terrible treatment that the government has forced on all of us who travel by air. It is as if we are forced into the fear of another traveler toting a bomb. Many of us have to be physically patted down by strangers and live in fear of being rejected before boarding our plane. This treatment is right out of the worst stories out of pre-war 2 Germany and described brilliantly by Orwell.

    One of the reasons I want more investigation about 9/11 is that our White House was too eager to control all of us like sheep being rounded up before the shearing or slaughter. The strong hand of a group of dictators was quickly at the ready to control all Americans. But the House and Senate agreed too quickly. If terrorism was actually a threat to us, why did the borders remain open even at this time?

    I registered at CHB to try and locate a working committee to try to work out a new political action group to come up with some changes in what we want for a political party.

    How much do we want in entitlements which always means raised taxes or can we limit the authority of the government to save us enough to not have to depend on federal credit? As a team we should be able to talk this out. Look at the opportunity we have to spread our ideas. We have CHB in the format we have now and there are IPods to use for further exposure. Millions of Americans listen to talk radio to and from work.

    We need to pool our brains and learn how to market new ideas. I was very impressed with Mr. Hoskins’ commentary and hope I read his words correctly.


  13. Ladywolf55

    Very good post, Malcolm. Same questions many of us have asked time after time, but all we get from our government is “shut up and take it” instead of answers.

    I have lived in other countries, so I can see the vast difference between what Americans are told/taught in their schools and on television vs. what is the truth. If Americans could only go to another country and see all the lies we have been fed by our own government in order to control us, they’d be outraged and ready to act on it.

    The government controls the internet and all forms of communication. Unless you have an encrypted way to communicate, they can see every word you type, or hear every word you say. And believe me, they watch. I think people know that, and are afraid at this point to do something about it. Just my .02

  14. griff

    It really is astounding how domesticated we are. Fear is the most powerful tool in their arsenal. Even Obama’s campaign is one of fear – fear of a McCain presidency. The driving force. When did we become so weak?

  15. griff

    Thanks. What I find interesting is the insistence by Obama’s supporters that he will listen to us when he wins. Well, he certainly didn’t listen to us last week, and he hasn’t even won yet! What makes anyone think that he’ll do so after he inherits the dictatorial power handed down from his predecessor? History and logic tells me that he won’t.

    This election can’t end soon enough, I’m having a hard time coming up with new analogies.

  16. ekaton

    “This election can’t end soon enough, I’m having a hard time coming up with new analogies.”

    Copy that! At least when its over we’ll get about a six month break before campaigning starts for 2012.

    — Kent Shaw

  17. EffPee

    You don’t know the meaning of “weak”!

    Watch the reaction when Obama goes into election day with 5% spreads in the polls, ends the day with 7% spreads in the exit polls, and then later in the evening has to call McCain up and concede because they did it again.

    That reaction will be the new standard for WEAK, my fwend.

  18. sherry

    Doug tried to form a PAC a couple of years ago. For all the blowhards on this board, it died due to lack of interest.
    Having said that, life 2 years ago was a piece of cake compared to now.
    Do you guys ever wonder what the world would have been like had Gore been given his victory? Or Kerry to a lesser extent. I supported Kerry because he wasn’t Bush, but let’s face it, he was one empty suit,
    Ok. I am so dreaming. It’s the last refuge of dispair.
    We, the people stood up to the bailout, but we blinked and they did what they wanted anyway.
    They always do.
    Obama will follow the lead of the puppet masters.

    I so admired the Irish who refused to ratify the EU constitution. EU is all up in arms as to how they will convince the unwashed masses to come their way. I guess they don’t call em the fighting Irish for nothing.
    So, are we going to sit her and beef, or are we actually going to do something?

  19. griff

    We didn’t excatly blink – the bankers merely overrode us. This country has truly turned into a third world banana republic – before our very eyes.

  20. ekaton

    “I have lived in other countries … ”

    This is key. I have traveled for work to many foreign countries for months at a time. I’ve been to Japan, Greece, Italy, England, Bahrain and others. Exposure to other cultures will open your eyes. We claim to have an open society, but we really have a closed society ruled by fear. Most Americans have not traveled a lot and therefore are caught up in their own provincialism and fear of others, easily led about through the rings in their noses called propaganda.

    — Kent Shaw

  21. Harve3

    I have lived in other countries, so I can see the vast difference between what Americans are told/taught in their schools and on television vs. what is the truth. If Americans could only go to another country and see all the lies we have been fed by our own government in order to control us, they’d be outraged and ready to act on it.

    Many of us are unable to travel abroad and thus aren’t exposed to the “truth”, as you say. This might provide guidance for a valuable dialogue, esp. with the upcoming just weeks away. Could you provide one or two prominent examples of the “lies” being used to control us? Pls avoid those extreme examples which might provoke “outrage”. TIA

    Hill Country Weisenheimer