This is a question that I have asked myself many times in the past weeks. It puzzles me. Our country was not founded on fear, it was founded by a people who stood up and fought for their rights rather than be subjugated and ruled by a faraway king. They did not fear, they were angry at the unfairness of a system in which they did not have a voice. They stood up and threw off the monarchy that ruled them and formed a new government. If they had feared, they never would have won. But against long odds, they did win!
Our country has always stood up to fear as we faced many challenges. The words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 at his first inaugural address echo that sentiment:
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
Roosevelt did not allow fear to dictate his actions. Nor was it the focus of his first campaign. In the election of 1932, our country was mired in the Great Depression. Roosevelt ran his campaign on hope and inspiration. He led Americans to believe that he could bring prosperity back. He gave people hope.
So why today are we allowing ourselves to be governed by fear. Why is it so hard for so many to believe a message of hope? I have no answers to this. But for myself, I would rather follow a leader who inspires me to hope than one who is trying to scare me. How about you?