Fear vs Fear

I have to much to say, so much I need to get out. I’ve been taking notes and jotting down things all week, waiting for time to organize my thoughts. But in the last six days I’ve seen something that makes me cringe. “Now you know how I felt when Obama was elected.”

I’ve sat with this. I consider myself empathic. I try to pretend you are a client who has come to me and what you need to talk about in this session is your fear….of Obama. (BTW, it’s PRESIDENT Obama.) I’ve wondered what about his election could have terrified you so much that you have lived in fear.

I don’t recall him ever threatening, well anyone. Despite the claims that he was “coming for your guns,” that never came from him. That came from the fear-mongering right. He never took away your doctor. He never took away your job. He never took away your right to marry. He never threatened your family. He has deported illegal immigrants, something I disagree with, but it is something he has done. I’m pretty sure though, you aren’t an illegal immigrant and that didn’t affect your life in any way.

He started no wars. He did not send your child to die on foreign soil, well, except by proxy I suppose because he did inherit a war, couple of them. He didn’t deplete your life savings. If you were lucky enough to have life savings, the guy in office before President Obama made sure that was taken care of by his insistence on deregulation. If you lost your house thanks to the housing crisis, you don’t get to blame President Obama. Again, the guy before him. (I lost my house. I know what that feeling is like. I never held President Obama accountable for that.)

So I’m thinking, wracking my brain, even losing sleep over efforts to understand the fear you felt when President Obama was elected. Let’s not tip-toe around the obvious, oh my god a black man had the audacity to win the election TWICE. For many of my relatives, that was the ONLY thing they needed to see and hear for them to spew their hatred. Was that it for you? That a black man became president and that scared the hell out of you, so much so that eventually you had to elect a man like the current Reality Star elect?

Because I’m kind of thinking the fear and anguish I’m feeling right now is based on a whole lot more than color. I’m afraid for the Latino children who are being threatened by their white classmates, whose chants of “We’re going to build a wall” create fear. I’m afraid for my friends and family who fall under the umbrella of LGBTQ who, having already endured years of comments, now are encountering people who feel no shame whatsoever in threatening their lives, in threatening their children, in condemning to hell because some mythical god says it’s so.

I fear for the women who, after enduring 18 months of listening to the Reality Star on the campaign trail talk about women in such a degrading and disgusting way, now have men, usually white men by the way, telling them to bring their pussy over here or get back in the kitchen where they belong, lest they be punished. Seriously?

I fear for those who try to live their lives in a kind and generous way, who have now become the punchline. We who live by and abide by the law are now going to have to accept that a criminal is holding the highest office in the land. And that he’s surrounding himself with arbiters of hate.

I fear for the safety of our country when the thin-skinned elected official gets the nuclear codes, or when he’s in charge of budgets. I fear for all of you who believed his fairy tale spinning of riches and prosperity because those things WILL happen, just not for you. I love the saying, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” For some reason, you feared a black man who has managed to take out one of the most dangerous men in history on his watch, who allowed others to marry and enjoy the same rights that you do, who wanted to work on infrastructure and jobs but was thwarted at every turn, who provided healthcare for people like me with pre-exisiting conditions, who has a family who has been the epitome of class and the envy of many. That’s what you feared?

Will you be fearful when the jobs don’t come? When your gay neighbor, who you don’t really have a problem with, in fact sort of like the guys, have their house burned down or vandalized with words I’d rather our children didn’t learn? Will you be fearful when the only religion allowed to be practiced openly is the Christian religion and this edict comes from a man who can’t even quote a Bible verse? Will you be fearful when your freedom of speech is infringed upon because the only things you will be able to say are things approved of by the Reality Star in office?

I fear for our safety, our future as a country, our economy, our standing in the world, our caring for our citizens, our neighbors, our Hispanic, Muslim, Black, and Asian citizens because they are “other” and obviously not acceptable in a Whites Only society. I fear for the friends who thought fearing a man because his skin was black was enough of a reason to put the man filled with hatred and revenge in office.

I believe fear is the motivation for all human behavior…. even if that fear is irrational.