Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where Fear and Power Meet

When I was 17 after a very violent childhood I decided to try to become non violent. This was not an easy decision for me and I still have trouble controlling my anger. I have struggled with the issue all my adult life. I intend to keep up the struggle.

The very first thing that happened to me when I made this sea change was that my fear left me. I was no longer a victim because victimizers look for “victims.” That is, people who have been beaten down and have decided to accept it as their lot in life. At some point in my teen years I began to realize that adults did not go around beating each other up and that when I became an adult the bullies, the abusers, and the predators would leave me alone. It took me a little longer to just go ahead and become an adult. I think that happened the day I chose non violence. I became an adult and the fear left me and the victimizers went looking elsewhere.

I bring this up because of the fear that was so prevalent in this country after 9/11. Obviously some people are still living in fear and sadly for many 9/11 might not ever have had to happen for them to be living in fear anyway.

So who are the victimizers? Why are so many Americans afraid and of what?

If Al Queda is all it has been touted as and is responsible for 9/11 then certainly it is one of the victimizers. Then again the same can be said for the Bush Administration but especially for Bush himself. I have read that when his father was President he used to walk into the White House and tell people to, “Work harder!” His staff has been rumored to live in fear of his bad days.

I really don’t want to make a list of all the victimizers out there in this writing, so I won’t.

Americans live in fear. This “Land of the Brave” is afraid of its own shadow. What do we fear? We fear for our family first and foremost. Then we fear for our friends. The list continues from there: jobs, property, social standing, etc. Some of us live in fear of our spouses. Some of us live in fear of our parents or our children.

Too many of us are living in fear of our Government. This is not the country I grew up in. I will give the caveat that I did not grow up black knowing people were occasionally being lynched or gay knowing that if anyone found out I would be ostracized. I grew up in fear for other reasons. Sexual and physical abuse were my demons. But I was not afraid of the United States. I was not afraid of what it might do to Americans. Now I think a lot of us are. The very first thought that came into my head when I saw the towers fall on 9/11 was, “Shit! What are we going to do and to who?” My fears were more than realized. There seems to be more to come.

There is draft legislation to take more of our rights away if we somehow end up on a “suspect” list. The question I have for myself and for you is this: Should we empower these people who would make our Constitution null and void by fearing them? That, my friends, is where they get all their power. Or should we refuse to fear them and strip them of their ability to further erode our rights?

If we make the right choice we take the power out of their hands and place it firmly in our own.

Torture Awareness Month
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