Fear can make people act in self-destructive and violent ways

To the Editor,

Trump's authoritarian response to the fearful:

Anyone watching the news and reading the papers these last few months knows that a lot of people are feeling threatened by changes in this country. They feel threatened by women asserting their rights, by African Americans challenging racism, by refugees escaping violence, and by the possibility of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. And a lot of people are buying the authoritarian message presented by Donald Trump, that he will save them from their fears by building a wall and “Making America Great Again.” I’ve seen footage of grown men shoving and hitting teenage girls attempting to protest, a right afforded them by the constitution of this country, at Trump rallies. Trump himself has made it clear that he thinks journalists should be limited to reporting positive stories about his campaign, essentially tossing out freedom of the press. And then there’s Trump’s not so subtle attempts to attract and keep the vote of openly racist groups, a move that emboldens those who feel it is their right to use any means necessary, including violence and intimidation, to assert their supposed superiority.

Fear, as history has proven, makes people react in ways that can be shockingly self-destructive and violent. And surely enough, there are real dangers facing this country. Gun violence, domestic abuse, racism, international terrorism, heroin addiction, homelessness, infrastructure failures, climate change, an economic system that is failing the vast majority of Americans — these are just a few of the many serious issues our country has to address. But the notion that responding to complex issues with a wall and a fist is short- sighted at best.

Certainly we need strength in leadership. We need someone who can truly identify problems and fix them. We need experienced leaders who know how to react in ways that will have long term benefits for all. But there is nothing “great” about an America that would allow a superficially successful businessman to turn what was once a place that valued all people into a glorified reality show. Make no mistake, in that reality show, we all lose.

Karin Wraley Barbee

Tecumseh

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Tecumseh Herald

 

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