22 August 2011

Scared?

Me too.  Actually, not scared.  Worried that everyone else is.  Let me pause in my neo-federalist manifesto to make a short observation about our times.

A whole lot of what is making our times tough is the virus of fear.  Stock markets gyrate,  war rages, famines prosper, and that makes us all uncertain about the immediate future.  Who can be blamed for feeling scared? 

But fear is also a fuel to what already frightens us.  As hokey and clichéd as it sounds, FDR was right when he said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. 

Meanwhile, our leaders fall into two groups – those who accuse other leaders of not being leaderly, and those who place blame on others for making us afraid.  In both cases, they abrogate their own leadership because the one sure fact I know about leadership is that all leadership is emotional leadership.  If leaders are afraid or angry, the people they lead will be frightened and angry. 

The only answer to fear is hope. What people are asking for is a reason to hope and a way to act on that hope.  Notice, I did not say ‘hope’ by itself. They need a reason, something more than wishful thinking, to be hopeful. 

There is reason for hope.  Everything we need, as a nation, we already have.  We have the land, the people, the means, the liberty, even the money.  None of our problems are due to something we lack. Except one thing. The commitment to do it. 

Why?  Because we see quite clearly what we would lose personally, but not what we would gain collectively.  And that’s because we have lost our collective vision, our sense of sharing in something worth living and sacrificing for. 

The answer to our fear is a hope so strong that we all willingly sacrifice to make happen;  like parents who sacrifice their own desires for the sake of their children. 

This fall, my church will again ask for pledges to fund its ministry.  For the fourth year in a row I will lower my compensation and raise my pledge.  Not the Ayn Rand sort of thing to do.  But I do it because these are my people, and their strength and health are as important to me as my own.  Is there a vision of America that can do that for you? 

Tell me.  If we wait for our leaders we will wait a very long time.  The president said “we really are the people we have been waiting for.”  Perhaps we should take him up on that.

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