It is like dark tanicles that reach up from the ground and grip your heart. It feels like a heat rushing up from the stomach that smothers logic. The pulse races and the breathes are hard to come. The ball of fire in the chest cavity threatens to engulf you and torch all possibility of life. It is fear.
Someone told me that bully's use fear to systematically destroy their victims and control their every action. The constant accusations and never-ending verbal jabs are enough to break down the strongest will. It is fear.
People become gripped by it, by the unseen what-ifs. Husbands and wives become gripped by it over everything from money to sex to kids, under the constant shadow of the what-ifs. Kids become gripped by it when school starts and they are the new kids on the block. Fear can have a devastating impact on a person, a community, a nation.
One of the things I've observed as a member of humanity and as a citizen watching my country turn into a bunch of scaredy cats is that the power of fear is real. It is unrelenting and refuses to loosen its grip. Normal, thinking, brilliant people are like puppets on the string once fear has take over their lives.
In the last decade, I've observed it more, been a recipient of it more. The country became afraid after 9/11, particularly my white fellow citizens. Fear caused us collectively to give up our civil rights and succumbed to airport searches and being suspicious of everyone not wearing an American flag lapel pin. I've talked with women afraid of their husbands because of physical, psychological, or emotional abuse. It has them jumpy and agitated, afraid of losing everything and being out-on-the-street. I've talked to homeowners afraid of losing their home with the adjustable mortgage rates and the sub prime lending crisis. I've talked to professional moms afraid they are not spending enough time with their kids but are afraid to stop working because of the corporate punishment leveled against women who step off the career path. I've seen white men afraid of black men and use the media as a weapon to incite fear through public perception.
All of this fear makes a person, a community, a nation exhausted. I think one of the things most refreshing about Senator Barack Obama's campaign is that it is a breath of fresh air. It is like the much needed water hose that puts out the raging fire in heart. Change. It isn't easy, doesn't come overnight, but is so necessary for a full life. He brings hope to a nation gripped by fear-mongering through the neo-cons, religious right, abortion activists, anti-gay activists, xenophobic activists, racial stereotyping and all the other things that plague the evening news.
So what if the country turns brown by 2042? That is nothing to be afraid of. So what if people want to exercise their freedom and not worship as the neo-cons or right-wing evangelicals do. So what if people want to just live life without it being controlled by power, money, and greed.
One thing I remember about the start of 2008 was that it would be a year of overturn. I'm seeing it, perhaps that is part of the latest CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC attacks on Senator Barack Obama. People want to breathe again and put the fire out.
False Evidence Appearing Real. Just like a bully will back down when the victim turns around around and stares them in the face and says, "what now," so fear will back down when we as individuals, as a community,and as a nation turn around, look them in the eye, and say, "what now." It will back down.
Time to catch a breath, smell the flowers, and enjoy this life...it is the only one we have!