Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who's Scary?

Years ago I heard something on Oprah (Shut-up! You've watched her too!) that stuck with me. There are two basic human emotions: Love and Fear. All of our feelings and motivations come from either love or fear. If this is true, then I have a question for you. Whom do fear?

Are you afraid of Adam Lambert? Adam Lambert has been in the news a lot lately because he danced in a very sexy way with a man and kissed a male member of his band. Does that scare you? It doesn't scare me. Adam seems like a really friendly guy who happens to be gay and enjoys glamming it up a bit. If you are afraid of Adam, I submit you need to get over your homophobia and embrace your inner hag. He is so not scary!

Does President Oabama scare you? Barrack Obama is our first African-American President, and his father was from Kenya. Do you think he is scary? I don't. His father came to the US to get a college education, and had he not been killed, had the potential to be influential in Kenyan politics. That apple didn't fall far from that tree! President Obama is a really, really smart guy with loads of charisma and ambition, like many former U.S. Presidents. He has not said or done anything to scare me. I can understand people being dismayed if they disagree with his political agenda, but that's not what I am seeing on TV with the weeping white people rending their garments and wailing that they "want their country back." To them I say "Your country is right here, you racist psychopaths!" Very little has actually changed in the last 10 months other than the economy starting to pick up.

George W. Bush was our President for 8 years and during that time, he cleared brush and read children's books while we suffered the worst terror attack on US soil, he lied to us repeatedly about Iraq's involvement in in 9/11 so he could go to war there, resulting in thousands of dead Americans (and thousands more wounded)and tens of thousands of dead Iraqis, he took a budget surplus and converted into a huge deficit and took us to the brink of another potential great depression. Did you fear him? I did! Not because of his stated political points of view, but because he seemed to me, from the beginning, to be rather dimwitted. Giving power to incompetent people is scary to me. As a hot dog vendor, W is not scary at all. As leader of the free world, it was like The Saw without the comedy relief.

Fear can be a very good thing. It is part of our survival instinct (if you believe in evolution, but that's for another blog). Fearing things you do not understand isn't bad if you are rational about it and inform yourself to gain a better understanding. So consider someone you find scary, and do some real investigation. Don't rely on the chumming of the shark tanks that takes place in popular media, but do some actual investigation of the person. Read his or her books, listen to his or her interviews. Get a sense of who the person actually is, not the caricature painted by media.

With better understanding, you may decide you had no reason to fear after all, or you may decide that you should have been afraid all along. But remember, in the words of one of my favorite movie characters from Strictly Ballroom, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

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