Amid change, people continue to defend themselves. People rationalize their ideas to support their lifestyle. The United States of America have created a potluck of ideas. The potluck has since finished and we are all, individually, responsible for the cleanup of the mess left behind.
In living through protests, bailouts, and political and civil division I begin to question where the US was lost. Rather, I ask more concisely if it ever was this inclusive potluck that the Constitution claims. In seeing the sides people choose, I recognized a strange phenomenon: there were no clear lines anymore. People expected to support one side were often found on the other and vice versa. One of the most striking to me, was the use of the economist Thomas Sowell. One of the arguments against Black lives, systemic racism, and economic equality came from Sowell’s ideas on the Myths of Economic Inequality. While I am now choosing which points I remember, I do not mean to refute Sowell’s ideas as they are helpful in lifting the individual person to be more accountable. As I remember it, he mentions that people fall into the habit of victimizing themselves. People make problems that do not exist to feel better. While that may be absolutely true, I do not quite believe that economic inequality is a myth.
As a close relative made a point in saying: every input has an output, every action has it’s own reaction. In this manner, I say that economic inequality is no myth because it exists in the people who struggle to live a basic life in the society around them. While people can do more so that they do not suffer and label themselves as victims, there also are certain limits because of the social structures that exist: the community — the United States — has forgotten its people.
All that is to come back to the idea of fear, of victimizing the self, of acting over that which is within your control. Many people were telling those real victims of economic inequality to “achieve like I achieved” or “find a way to make it work” when the reality is that there is no major support that allows people to do this. Only recently, social media has opened up to engage people in these types of ideas and conversations and even then, it is limited to personal algorithms and how active one is to looking for these messages. Again, my point is not to argue against Sowell because more people should be accountable and responsible for their situations and the decisions they make.
To this point, people have started to argue that fear is a sign of cowardice; fear is something that limits people from achieving or finding success they would otherwise have. We have reached the point where people are using fear against itself. While there are certainly some fears that people should overcome, fear is also a natural reaction and response. People seem to forget that fear is a natural, biological response; it is what has helped people avoid death or stupid decisions for millennia. We’re supposed to use fear for our benefit, for better decision-making and to recognize where we are comfortable. Absolutely, are we supposed to get out of our comfort zone but fear of jumping into a pool is very different from fear of not being able to provide for your family.
In building this argument against fear, people have also said things like “another person’s fear or insecurities should not get in the way of my freedom.” Similarly, this is another issue lost in the failure to properly employ the early US ideas. Personal freedom should continue to be highly protected but there is also some leverage needed in the building of any society. Personal freedom does not stand for stepping on the freedom of others with those bootstraps by which “you picked yourself up from.” Personal freedom, in this society, is supposed to be held to the highest level but is is also supposed to include all people. The US has created a difficult task to overcome which is to maintain both any individual desire as well as a commonality among citizens.
I say this to all people: do not think fear means you are a coward or that you are not brave. Recognize that fear is something completely natural and within your power. Make a tool of fear, as you do with your other emotions. Recognize that the body is warning you to be wary and also that you have a choice thereafter. To listen to fear does not mean to be fearful, only informed.