“This I Believe – Living Without Fear”

Joseph - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on February 27, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that fear is a choice.

I’m talking about manufactured fear, not primal fear.

Primal Fear is the exception. A man points a gun at you. Your system goes into autopilot. You may give up your money. You may run. You may put a Jason Bourne butt whipping on him. But your choices are limited. You just do whatever you have to do in order to survive.

With most fear, however, you have a choice. You are constantly reminded of the threat of terrorism, violent crime, Chinese toys and peanut butter. You are told that your life would be safer if it weren’t for illegal aliens, Muslims, Mormons, or homosexuals.

Our leaders market fear to us. You can even download a terror alert meter on your computer to remind yourself just how afraid you are supposed to be on a given day, though there are no instructions as to how you are to use that information.

“If a girl scout comes to my door on an orange alert day, do I need to check the Hidey Ho’s for anthrax? Are the birds at my backyard feeder planning an attack of avian flu? Are the pigeons planning a Coo?”

Each time you go to the airport, the safety routine has changed. You used to be told to leave your guns and hunting knives at home. Then they started making you remove your shoes. (as Eric Idle lamented “Why couldn’t it have been a bra bomber?”) Now you are practically strip-searched and aren’t allowed to bring a half-squeezed tube of toothpaste on board. And after all that security … you still find that one man has flown cross-country with a dangerous communicable disease and another with a monkey under his hat.

Now I suppose the kindly airline agents will add another question to their list: “Did you pack your own bags? Have they been with you at all times? Is there a monkey under your hat?”

The officials jack up the terror meter on occasion from yellow to orange to red (never falling to the cooler safer colors), just to keep everyone ready for something bad, somewhere, sometime.

I have a suggestion. Whenever the terror alert rises to a hot color, you should have lunch with someone of another race, visit a synagogue, or go golfing with a Muslim

I believe that sanity will prevail only after all of us realize that fear is a choice.