Only fear

To the Journal editor:

Throughout history fear has inflicted horrific toll on human life and liberties. Our Framers understood how Kings used fear to achieve unwavering loyalty, anyone who disobeys the King is sent to the gallows.

I tested my civics knowledge by taking a test every immigrant is required pass to gain citizenship, it’s located at uscis.gov and I challenge everyone to do the same. One of the questions inspired me to write: “What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance? Your State, United States, Congress, or President”.

It’s no secret we are adrift in raging political seas, having left the calmer waters of conservative-progressive policy debate and agreement years ago. Allegiances are being negotiated for political survival and fear is being used to divide our Nation. Extreme rhetoric has caused an uptick in violence projected on our foundational institutions and public servants.

Fear’s magnetic power is bending our moral compass needle, driving people towards authoritarianism and demanding a pledge of loyalty to their leader or else. A recent poll asked if violence is justified to achieve your political party’s objectives and 4% responded YES, equating to ~ 10 million.

When Christopher Columbus first set foot on America’s shore in 1492, America was inhabited by an estimated 50 million Native Americans from over 500 independent tribes each having their own culture, religion, and language.

The British, French, and Spanish didn’t gather at border checkpoints to apply for citizenship and pledge allegiance to America, they invaded by decree of their King.

These authoritarian powerhouses waged war against each other and Native American people for the next 300 years. Fearful Native American nations, severely weakened by diseases spread to them, formed alliances to protect their quickly vanishing land.

They were promised they could keep their current lands if they pledged unwavering loyalty to the King, but once their services were no longer needed they lost both their lands and freedom. Dehumanization propagated by the King, and those granted power through of their loyalty, caused horrific atrocities upon Native Americans, slaves, and poor immigrants.

In 1776, the Thirteen Colonies’ revolted after centuries of monarch control. The Founding Fathers replace King’s rule with a new self-governing framework. Our Framers were not mythical, only men with the courage to design a system of governing never before seen during their milestone in history, where individual freedoms coexist within an agreed upon social structure, and codifying a commitment to prevent authoritarian zealots from seizing control back from the people.

The Declaration of Independence christened our maiden voyage as we departed authoritarian rule in search of an ideal, that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” The U.S. Constitution, our Nation’s compass, set the coordinates for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

For the next 250 years we’ve endured horrific periods, but we have overcome slavery; codified women’s right to vote; defeated 1930-1940’s rise of fascism; and the list goes on

Our Greatness isn’t because we revolted in 1776, it’s because we’ve overcome the wraith of fear propagated by authoritarians over and over again. Today “We the People” includes women, people of color, and Native Americans… This is why we are a Great Nation.

America’s next milestone in history is November 5th, 2024. Only honest self-reflection and a deep historical frame of reference will allow us to reacquire our Nation’s compass coordinates, in our never-ending quest for a perfect Union. It’s our turn at the helm, the question is will our allegiance be to the United States or driven by fear?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — FDR


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