The State of the Union

by gfastie on January 13, 2016 - 1:43pm

Our union, one held together by the principles set forth in the constitution, is divided by fear. We exist as a nation because after the American Revolution, each state agreed to come together on principles of liberty and freedom. The union has never been perfect in the pursuit of these values, but we have always persevered through dedication to these values. Our country has strayed furthest from these values in times when fear has overcome our principles, and history has never failed to remember those times as faults in our collective judgement, from Jim Crow to Japanese internment.

Today, we stray dangerously close to letting fear overcome our values. The threat that we face as a nation, that of terrorism, has the sole intention of creating fear. It follows logically then that many Americans are, today, afraid of terror, with attacks on our own soil showing the very real threat of violence. This fear, however, cannot overcome or values, or we risk falling back into a time when fear drives us to make mistakes. 
We cannot, of course, ignore security concerns, and we must work to protect every American life. But right now, we have no reason to even believe that some of the policies proposed, such as closing our borders to refugees, would even be effective. Our vetting process is exceptionally thorough, but more importantly, the recent attacks in the United States have been carried out not by refugees from the Middle East, but by ‘homegrown’ terrorists, radicalized in the US. 
Succumbing to fear has never given us strength as a nation, but against the enemy of terrorism, succumbing to fear not only weakens us but strengthens our enemies. Terrorism recruits by feeding off of our aggression and fearmongering rhetoric, so we only worsen our situation by compromising our principles and values. We have been greatest as a nation when we were closest to our ideals, and I believe that to be a great nation today, we cannot forget what we as a nation believe in.
 

Comments

I really like that idea you pose of fear being the foundation of so many of our problems, both past and presnt. Though you use the term "fear" somewhat inexplicitly, never truly defining it, the idea I gleaned was that you were addressing our fear of the "other," or, in other words, our nation's underlying xenophobia.

To put it bluntly, we are a nation founded on racism. From Native Americans to modern-day Muslims, we fear and persecute anyone who doesn't look as though they come from Western Europe. As you said, these fears lead us to undermine our supposedly inherent values. After all, did many of the founders of this country not come to America fleeing persecution? Are we not a nation famous for The American Dream? People are supposed to be able to come to America to better their lives, not to find oppression.

To bring the topic back to present-day, it is appalling to me that there are people who think it is valid to close our boarders to an entire ethnic group, many of whom are seeking refuge from exactly that rom which we are trying to protect ourselves. To go off of what you said, there is much more of an imminent threat from current US residents than there is from refugees, especially with our incredibly thorough screening process. And need I even mention the number of deaths caused each year by mass shootings carried out by US citizens, often times white males? To me, that deserves far more attention, action, and fear than the fairly notional threat of any international terrorist attack.