I have known fear.
I’m not just talking about the fear one has of snakes, or when spooked by a prankster in a Halloween mask, or the fear that releases a quart of adrenalin into your blood stream following a near miss head on collision. I’m talking about the unrelenting all encompassing fear that stays with you, unabated; a fear that life as you know it can / might / will change for the worse and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it.
I experienced that kind of fear almost every day and night for a year when I was in Vietnam. I felt that fear when I was diagnosed with cancer. I felt it when we thought our hospitalized eldest son was going to die, and when my wife had an embolism. Fortunately all of those events turned out for the best.
Mrs. Hump tells me that I am a worry junkie - that worrying for me is like the pleasure one gets after they’ve been banging their head against a concrete wall for an hour ...it feels so good when you stop. But, the fact is what I’m feeling right now goes much deeper than simple worry.
This morning’s poll results show Obama with a 26% approval rating, his lowest since his election. Fact is that even though I voted for him, and will again baring some unforeseeable sea change, I’m not terribly impressed with Obama’s performance myself. He has fallen way short of his pre-election rhetoric on a variety of issues. If polled I’m not sure I could give him my unqualified seal of approval either.
The darlings of the Teabaggers - Michele (“subservient to my husband/God speaks to me”) Bachmann, and Rick (“get down on your knees and pray to Jesus/ I was called by God to run”) Perry are now among the front runners in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Normally I’d shrug it off and say “typical GOP morons.” But this is different.
American’s are by and large stupid. Evidence for this abounds. :
- The percentage of Americans who reject evolutionary theory is 59%, the highest percentage of evolution deniers among all 30+ Western nations except Turkey.
- We have among the highest percentage of superstionalists of all the Western nations except Italy and Greece, with 65% saying religion is important to their daily lives.
- The math and science test performance of US high school students versus other industrialized nations is abysmal with our high school graduates ranking 16th in science, 19th in math, out of 21 industrialized nations.
- The willingness of so many Americans to equate degree of religiosity to patriotism and denial of the Wall of Separation admonishment of our founding fathers.
Taken as a whole its clear we are not a nation of “rocket surgeons.”
Combine that with a weak economy, high unemployment, growing national debt, and financial uncertainty among a populace that is largely accepting of intermingling religion with government in spite of the constitutional prohibition against it, and the mood of the mindless seems to be congealing into something resembling The Blob on steroids.
It’s the thing bad choices are made of. Choices that could have far reaching and long term implications for the nation - for proponents of a secular government; for proponents of real science in our school rooms; for proponents of equality regardless of ones sexual orientation; for proponents of merciful, dignified, civilized treatment of our least able citizens; for proponents of a woman’s right to retain control over her uterus; for proponents of war only as a last resort; for proponents of a nation of the People not of the Corporation.
I have known real fear. I’m scared now.