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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.