At the risk of immediately losing half my readership, I am going to start by talking about convocation.
Several weeks ago, the Constitution Day Convocation focused on the influx of immigrant children seeking asylum in the United States. The convo told the stories of tens of thousands of children who are coming across the border to escape nasty situations in their homeland. America doesn’t know what to do with them, so they end up trapped in the limbo of our border control agencies. Not only is the government refusing entry to many of these kids, but also many civilians are doing their part to ensure that none of these kids make it to America.
Many Americans are afraid that these kids will bring diseases, steal our jobs, bring an increase in crime or provide an avenue for terrorists to enter the country. As pathetic as it may sound, as a nation we are scared to death of these kids. Americans regularly boast that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, yet a few unarmed kids seeking their own liberty sends us into panic mode.
The culture of fear in this country extends well beyond the immigration issue. Look at where the US spends over half of its discretionary budget: defense. We account for 36 percent of all military spending in the world.
It doesn’t take guts to hide behind a couple million bombs, planes, tanks and guns. The size of our military doesn’t show our strength; it shows our insecurity.
This military culture has translated to our police forces as well. Look at Ferguson, MO. where police showed up in military style tanks with automatic weapons pointed at civilians. Instead of trying to work with the protesters to quell racial tensions, the police hid behind their weaponry.
This obsession with fear is dangerous, but it can be stopped. I recently attended the climate rally in New York City where I was overwhelmed by all of the powerful energy. The bravery and strength shown by the protesters at Flood Wall Street as they sat on Broadway rejuvenated me. I was equally impressed by the bravery shown by the police force. They were brave enough to remain peaceful instead of hiding behind weapons. Even some political leaders had the bravery to stick their necks out just a little bit as they joined the call for climate justice. For once, it didn’t feel like we were running from or avoiding a major issue. We stood and were facing it head on.
However, this outflowing of positive energy got little national press. After attending the largest climate march in the history of the world, I turned on the news to see almost no coverage. Instead, the pundits were talking about the latest reason to be afraid: ISIS.
Now, less than a month later, we have already moved onto the latest and greatest threat that is sure to wipe out America as we know it: Ebola. Despite the fact that there have been only four Americans with the disease and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the chance of an outbreak is virtually zero, the media continues to spout doomsday rhetoric. Some are calling for a complete lockdown of our borders. Others have suggested anyone with the disease should be executed.
Maybe they’re right.
Maybe the only possible solution in a world as dangerous as ours is to isolate ourselves and hide from our problems forever. Shut down the borders, execute the sick, bomb anyone who doesn’t agree with us and whatever we do, keep the child refugees out.