If we had the ability to acknowledge this fear, what we might be able to see beneath that fear is care — care for our families, our way of life, our values, our religious beliefs, our identity. It is true, we will not be able to raise our children in the same world, in the same way or in the same environment in which our parents raised us. That fact is terrifying to some people. Moreover, if all I know is how to build cars, how will I feed my family and maintain my sense of purpose when I can be replaced by someone able to work for less or a robot that is twice as efficient? Where can I find hope if I can’t even provide for my family?
One thing we would hear in the anger (if we could listen) would be fear. REAL FEAR. Fear that we are living in a changing world where our neighbors, employers and leaders no longer look or speak like we do. There is, after all, a black president of the United States and a woman running to succeed him; both would have been inconceivable a generation ago. There are people permanently losing their jobs to foreigners who speak, eat, and act differently than we do, and technology is replacing us through automation. These fears are not unfounded or immaterial — they are real, they are concrete, and they are happening now.