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I’ve seen it written on the Halls of Kos and elsewhere that we are the party of hope, and the GOP is the party of fear. It is very hard to allay the fears of the nation. Mostly it’s Anglos fearing Brown People; Haves fearing turning into Have-nots; or Evangelicals fearing heretics and unbelievers.  But it is also expressed in America as a whole, in our willingness to terrorize the rest of the world in our War on Terror. It shows in our eagerness to globalize our Prohibition of Some Drugs into a Crusade to Create an International Mafia. It is apparent in our eagerness to spy on Everyone on Earth – friend, foe, or citizen. We as citizens, as a self-governing Commonwealth, permit it.

We have personal fears like cancer:
Afraid of being tested; afraid of being drugged
Afraid of tubes being threaded from bottom to snout
Not knowing what they’ll see there, soaking in sweat and pain
Afraid of not knowing; afraid even more to find out

Heart attack:
Driving home from work now; can’t work any more
Stop to call, dreading a fall, pain rips me apart
A miracle of love, a miracle of luck, a marvel of skill
It isn’t time to end, but time to make a new start.

The Boston Marathon Bomber:
Fear of the bombing; fear of the strangers
Fear of being blown up and blow apart
Not knowing who to turn to; not knowing where to run
Fear of those around us is shredding my heart

I don’t want to go there, to feed the beast inside.
I don’t want to be like… those whose conscience has died.
But it’s so hard to fight the panic; it’s hard to keep calm
When here, deep inside me, ticks a bomb.

I feel these fears, and others, as everyone does. But why is the richest, most powerful nation ever so full of fear?

[We] react to genuine dangers in ways that, instead of ending the dangers, actually create new ones. We amass wealth to provide security, but wealth creates a high profile that excites jealousy in others. We build walls to keep out dangerous people, but those walls become our prisons. We stockpile weapons, but they can easily be turned against us.
How can we prevail in the face of fear? Last fall I attended a local community Emergency Preparedness session held by a couple of state legislators and featuring Beaverton, Oregon's Emergency Manager, Michal Mumaw. It focused on the recently discovered history of Magnitude 9.0 earthquakes in Oregon at 300-600 year intervals - most recently January 26, 1700  - and how to prepare for the next one. There was a question-and-answer session at the end. One member of the audience suggested that preparation should include arming everyone with guns, and that this potential emergency was another argument in favor of further loosening gun laws and responsibilities. Mumaw responded, more adroitly than I can recall here, that far more likely than neighbor stealing from neighbor was neighbor reaching out to help neighbor - that experience in Chile, Japan, and other such large-scale disasters worldwide speaks far more powerfully to our social side, to our compassionate side. The questioner had no follow-up, and the audience responded warmly to Mumaw.

That is who we are - as Democrats, as Americans, as people. That is the example we aspire to. That is the course of action that speaks louder than any words we can speak or type. Although we may each carry a bomb of some sort, our mission must be to show the power of compassion to overcome the fears we all carry, and how that compassion can and will overcome those fears and the fears of our Republican opponents - who continuously trumpet their lack of compassion for the majority of Americans and belittle compassion as somehow being un-American.

To win, we must assuage our own fears first. Competitive fear-mongering will not result in as persistent Progressive majority. More than hope, we must meet fear with compassion for everyone. Only in that way can we guarantee the rights of all Americans to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Originally posted to Tom Lum Forest on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:22 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Sangha.

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