Perhaps we have been looking in all the wrong places for explanations and reasons why our world is so riven with divisions, anger and distrust.
We have been looking at how and why our political process is not working.
We have been looking at how and why different parts of our population look down at and dismiss other parts of our population.
We have been looking down at the education system.
(Yes, I, too, am tired of looking down at….)
We also have been looking at how to encourage people to work together, sadly with little success.
Still, right under our noses is a basic issue, which has largely been overlooked the whole while, and is probably the basic problem.
That is simply FEAR of fear!
FDR got it right in 1933 when he was sworn in as President and said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself!”
We know what people were afraid of in 1933; what about now?
Simply said, the unknown. That impacts different people in different ways, depending on their circumstances. Those ways include:
Economic Insecurity. The growing wealth divide – greatly exacerbated by the pandemic – has left millions homeless, jobless, or simply struggling to get by. Tens of millions more are uncertain what the future holds.
Social Insecurity. The demographic changes taking place in our country have left a large segment of the population fearful of their place in the new social fabric. The demonstrations for racial justice that have rocked the country are scary to people who have been conditioned to view anyone else’s progress as their own setback.
Political Insecurity. On one hand, white rural voters are ridiculously advantaged in the current constitutional system – a quarter of the nation’s population controls the majority of seats in the U.S. Senate. On the other hand, minority voters confront an onslaught of new restrictions proposed specifically for the purpose of disenfranchising them. Both see – and fear – their voices being drowned out by others.
Fear and uncertainty probably are scarier and more worrisome than jealousy and anger.
The antidote to fear is HOPE.
FDR came aboard in 1933 and spelled out his grounds for hope then.
It did not happen overnight; but it got started.
Now it begins with Biden’s virus attack and his ‘infrastructure’ plan.
We are back on the right track —FINALLY!!! To be certain, infrastructure alone isn’t going to solve the problems facing us.
But Biden’s plan is clear: restore the ability and determination of government to serve as an engine for economic security and, by extension, reassure people that no problem is too great for a determined nation to overcome. Slowly, surely (if he is successful), this approach can starve the conspiracy theories, divisions, and other social ills of oxygen.
FDR had his New Deal.
Biden now has his “Here’s the deal!”