Listened to some of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday night. Lots of people talking safety. Terrorism. I always hear parents freaking out about something. Most are driving their 11-year-olds a half a mile down the street out of fear of kidnappers. These are white, American, middle-class parents living in the suburbs.
Fear is in the water in America, I swear. If it’s not the terrorists, it’s the human trafficking. If not that, it’s processed sugar. Or sunburn. Or, kids seeing boobs or more on the internet. Lot’s of Christian parents I know are afraid. They might be the worse. Afraid of the world. Afraid of liberals. Afraid of secular universities.
“Everything is getting so crazy.”
It’s not getting crazy. You’re safe. So are your kids. We’re all living longer. Life expectancy keeps rising.
Crime has been going down for decades. Morality? Study Greek Paganism.
But the perception of crime has changed. People believe it’s getting worse. A recent article in The Dallas Morning News points out that, “As crime rates have dropped for the past decade, the public belief in worsening crime has steadily grown. The more lawful the country gets, the more lawless we imagine it to be.”
The chances of being killed in a terrorist attack is about zero. Just run the numbers. Three hundred million Americans. A few dozen killed by crazy terrorists in the past decade.
Sensationalism. It sells.
So the political party screams to anyone who is willing to let fear, irrational fear, rule in their minds. Now we have a Law and Order plank.
I wasn’t born during the Cuban Missle Crisis. But THAT almost lead to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. That was kind of crazy.
Again, statistically, we’re all safe. So, so safe. So are our children.
I’m getting older. And I see more and more seniors paralyzed by fear. They install security systems in their homes. Change the locks. They’re always warning all the younger people to “be careful.”
I won’t live that way. Ever.
I don’t only want to survive. I want to live.
Let us remember the words of C.S. Lewis, in his essay On Living In An Atomic Age:
“The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”