Culture of Fear

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When Conservatives assess the recent events in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland and elsewhere across the country, their immediate conclusion is Democrats govern these cities; therefore, these tragic events are the consequence of progressive politics. The reality is this bumper-sticker thinking is a gross over simplification, which ignores the fact that nine out of the ten poorest states in the nation are Republican and 97 of the 100 poorest counties, are within red states. This indicates that political ideology is merely a by-product of these recent tragedies and not the cause.

The real issue is the underlying fear that pervades our culture. It extends beyond the perpetual wars and surveillance of our citizens and the quasi-police state of our institutions. This culture of fear has evolved into militarized local police departments,  a policy of mass incarceration and  the increasing strife we are witnessing in our cities. As a nation we remain unaware of the disconnect between our policies and their impact on the broader themes of equality, disenfranchisement, violence and systemic racism in our culture.

Ultimately, we must find the necessary self-awareness to question our motives and recognize our unconscious prejudices. Only then can we begin to discover a mindfulness to realign our priorities that address the broader themes which threaten to unravel the very threads of our democracy.

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