Fear is a powerful motivator. It can keep us safe, surely, but it also holds us back. Fear can stop us from attaining our goals or living our lives as proudly as we wish. Don’t get me wrong, fear has undoubtedly helped human evolution in many ways and it’s a good thing we feel fear.
The type of fear I’m referring to, though isn’t fear of being eaten or of the dark. It’s fear of change. It’s fear of The Other, those different from ourselves. Our enemies, or those we think of as our enemies.
We see this manifested in fear of LGBTIQA+ people, of Muslims, of Black and other people. These phobias, these fears, are holding us back. Not every gay man wants to sleep with you. Nor does every gay man find you attractive. The same is true of lesbians. You simply aren’t as attractive as you might think you are.
Likewise not all Muslims are out to commit jihad against you. The vast majority of Muslims are peace loving, peaceful men and women who just want to live their lives in peace and be left alone.
The same is true of racial minorities. Not all Black men are thugs. Not all Black men are thugs. I wrote that sentence twice to make sure my point has been made.
Transgender people don’t want to watch you pee. They just want to pee, wash their hands, and leave the restroom same as you. (You do want to wash your hands before you leave the restroom, right?)
Politicians make it a point to tell you, to scream at you, that this group of people, whichever is the Flavor of Bad Guy this week, is bad and is stealing your job or your government benefits. Politicians make themselves rich and stay in office selling you the idea that those who are Other are out to get you and only they can protect you from Them! They rely on your fear to stay in power.
As voting members of society, it’s our responsibility to approach the issues of the day with a clear mind and an understanding of the issues. Reject fear based propaganda and THINK for yourselves. Weigh the issues. Think things through.
Fear can be a powerful motivator. It should be. But it should also be put aside and we can do that by embracing logic and forethought.
Don’t dwell in fear. Embrace change. Embrace difference. Our differences make us stronger and our strength cannot be broken.