Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Few Words on Fear

I was just reading some quotes on fear. The quote that struck me the most was "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. This is no time... to keep silent." Edward R. Murrow said that during the time Senator McCarthy was on a hunt for communists.

It strikes me that today we are a country with people living with a different kind of fear. We fear being seen as bigoted or intolerant. So people watch what they say. It's not a bad thing to watch what you say, but no one should have to be afraid of offending others based on what they say. And with no context, a lot of innocent statements sound odd or bad.

I think maybe this is again a time to stop being afraid of one another. A time to see that we need to write and speak freely what is on our mind, while allowing others to do the same. A time to defend unpopular causes. It's a time to speak up and communicate. A time to shed inhibitions. A time to help and to learn from other people.

I know that in saying this I am pushing for people to say things I disagree with. But maybe, possibly, I can learn something new from hearing those things. Maybe those people can learn something new from what I have to say. Maybe people talking will start changes to make this world better. Maybe it'll help everyone see the similarities in us all that they've ignored because of the differences.

And maybe we'll start thinking of other people as people instead of inconveniences. Maybe we'll remember that a car breaking down on the side of the road means there is someone who could use help and that a long line at a store means that there are probably frazzled employees who could use a smile and a greeting from someone with a nice tone of voice.

I know that these things might not happen. If things don't change, I'm sure they won't. But that doesn't mean that I can't hope that someday my words here impress someone and remind them that we shouldn't let fear control what we say. Fear only takes away from our lives. I don't know about you, but I have enough things and people trying to take in my life already (and I'm crazy enough to want kids, who will demand even more). I refuse to let fear of other people's thoughts keep me from expressing myself when I need to. I doubt most people will think about me that much after I'm gone, because they are busy with their own lives.

And if they do, maybe I said something they should be thinking about.
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