We live in fearful times. We are afraid that the economic potential we’ve enjoyed as a nation is slipping away. We worry that the American dream which teaches that each generation will do better than the last, is over. Our kids if they are able to go to college are graduating with on average $30,000 of debt, many with limited prospects for good paying job. The domino affect is fewer people can afford to purchase a home or go to graduate school or raise a family.
We worry that our nation is changing demographically. White folk look around and see fewer people who look like them. People of color experience prejudice overt and subtle. Men, particularly under-educated men, sense that the field has shifted and their economic options are poor. Women, with the majority in the labor force, are still carrying the weight of raising families. Many feel stretched (and still making 70 cents to every dollar for a man).
We worry about our safety. The 24/7 news cycle inundates us with horrific images by terrorists around the world. The crumbling towers of 9/11 are seared into our collective memory. Each terrorist attack in Brussels, Paris, Syria, Iraq remind us that we too are vulnerable. Whether we be in Beverly, MA or Amity, Oregon.
We live in fearful times. Into our fear, speaks Donald Trump. He fans the flames of fear as well as any demagogue in our history.
This election season reminds me of Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950’s. Senator McCarthy seized upon our fear of communism and led the nation in a witch hunt for communist sympathizers. Joe told us that communists were imbedded in government, education, entertainment. McCarthy, as with any bully, ruled by intimidation, until finally, people began to stand up and say ‘enough’. For awhile most were cowered … but slowly, one by one, courageous individuals began to stand up and say ‘no’.
No to fear. No to intimidation. No to bullying. No to incivility. In time, after doing great harm, McCarthy was unmasked and disgraced.
When we say ‘no’ to fear, we are saying ‘yes’ to everything else.
We are saying ‘yes’, we are a nation of immigrants. ‘Yes’, our mix of cultures has always been our greatest strength. ‘Yes’, our diversity has always unleashed creativity and prosperity. ‘Yes’, together we can solve our problems and build a better tomorrow.
As in the time of McCarthyism, it is again time, for enough of us, to say ‘no’. ‘No’ to Mr. Trump and ‘yes’ to hope. In the Bible it says, ‘perfect love casts out fear’.
Donald, your fifteen minutes of fame, are almost up. Are we ready to say ‘enough’?