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.

Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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. 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

  5. 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.

    Malcolm