“You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.” Sounds fearlessly bold. Most of us, however, are more easily swayed. Sometimes it takes little more than some rhetoric about a 55-foot wall (or is it 30-foot or 40-foot?) or a vague promise of keeping out immigrants. The “Vote Leave” campaign, winners of the BREXIT mess in Great Britain, have provided us with a good litmus test for what the results of fear-mongering can bring. So far it’s brought a whole bunch of racism, and a lot of “I didn’t say that.” In general, fear begets more fear:Tom Petty is sometimes a wordsmith, sometimes just repetitive in his lyrics.
- A mom worrying for her late teenager stays up and watches the news or checks cnn.com. This fear-based distraction effort response surfaces even greater worry.
- A husband, insecure about his wife’s business trip, texts her to assure himself of her safety and fidelity. When the immediate response isn’t returned, the fears kick into overdrive, and he begins searching Facebook or other records for signs of betrayal.
- A middle-class homeowner, whose normally safe town experiences a rash of robberies or an incidence of gun violence, begins to profile seedy individuals in the neighborhood.
Tony Burrell is the Executive Director for The Welcome Network. The Welcome Network is a gospel-driven organization that mobilizes churches to serve the vulnerable, specifically immigrants and refugees based in Northwest Indiana. Find him on Twitter at @TonyMBurrell. Please note that the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of everyone associated with G92 or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated.