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The danger of blindly following our fears

Geoffrey Dyck ('18)

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I’m currently in Washington D.C. doing an internship with the Democratic Governors Association for the semester. During my stay, I had the incredible opportunity to witness the inauguration of President Donald Trump. While I find Trump to be repulsive on multiple levels, I could not help but stand in awe of history unfolding in front of me. To be honest, however, this moment lasted for all of two seconds.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took to the podium and started to talk about the virtues of equality and patriotism. He even mentioned this: “Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, whether we are immigrant or native-born, whether we live with disabilities or do not, in wealth or in poverty, we are all exceptional in our commonly held, yet fierce devotion to our country, and in our willingness to sacrifice our time, energy, and even our lives to making it a more perfect union.” As he said this, a chorus of boos rang out across the sea the of red hats that flooded the West Lawn of the Capitol.

But why? Sen. Schumer talked about what makes America the country we know and love, so where did all of this hatred come from? I have a theory. The primary motivation behind all of this hatred is fear: fear of terrorists coming overseas to blow us all up.

The thing to remember is that this fear is not irrational. Terrorist attacks happen around the world and it’s hard to forget about 9/11. However, the problem with this fear is that it is leading to the creation of policies that do not directly address these fears and/or they end up harming more people than they are helping.

Of the seven countries that are a part of Trump’s executive order, not one country post-9/11 has produced a terrorist that has killed Americans within our borders. However, this travel ban threatens to tear families apart, has hurt America’s global reputation, and is blocking many women and children from seeking asylum in this country (around 75 percent of refugees are women and children).

This misplaced trust in fear is just a single example of how politicians can manipulate our feelings to push agendas that harm people. To quote one of my favorite fictional characters: “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” –Yoda.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey Dyck (‘18)

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