Friends who live in the La Mesa / Spring Valley School District: Please consider voting for Rebecca McRae for LMSV 2018. I know Mrs. McRae as a passionate first grade teacher at Jackson’s school. She’s running as a parent of two kids in the district, her lack of name recognition and political experience speak to her simple desire to see improvements in the district. She’s not running to advance anything other than making the schools better and more welcoming to all.
Why am I showing you a picture of dirt?
I’m showing you this dirt because I made it. It’s important to me. It’s no ordinary dirt. This dirt has a story to tell.
As I’ve shared before, our family is on a journey transforming our yard, from something chemically controlled and non-native to something organic and more respectful to where we live.
So what’s that got to do with dirt? Specifically the dirt in this picture?
So… how did we get here?
The United States, self-billed as the greatest country in the world, is lead by Donald Trump, a man whose shown no interest in public service but instead largely used his time to-date for his own self-interest.
I don’t blame Donald Trump for his presidency.
I blame us.
In December 2007 I wrote:
For every cultural phenomenon, there is an equal and fear-based Christian equivalent. Harry Potter is “bad” (according to some) so let’s make some money by publishing books telling people how bad Harry Potter is! Christian pundit James Dobson has made a lot of money with his catch phrases “an attack on truth” and “an attack on the American family” or “liberal activist judges.” Just listen to more Focus on the Family and you’ll know how to protect your family from atheism, homosexuals, and judges.
Never mind (sic) the fact that these are the stupidest statements in the world. If something is true you can’t attack it because it is truth. And my family is not under attack if my next door neighbors are gay. (When was the last time you heard of a gay family leading a raid on heterosexual neighbors?) But you sure can make money on telling people to be afraid of stuff like that. Why? Because fear is a short-term motivator. If you scare people they will buy. (Or give to your cause. Or visit your website.)
What’s Changed Since 2007?
- Fear is a short-term motivator. The reason news agencies and politicians spend so much time sensationalizing each instance of fear is because the internal motivation we have to respond is so short-lived. But fear almost never results in long-term positive change to address the core of the problem. Was there gun reform after the massacre of children in Newtown, CT? Has there been immigration reform after we spent more than $1 billion on a wall? Has anything changed because of protests regarding police brutality? Of course not. Why? Because when the primary motivator is fear… people don’t stay scared long enough to generate change. You’ve just habituated them to wait for the next thing to be afraid of.
- People are more susceptible to the economy fear now than 8 years ago. We live in a society where a knee-jerk response to fear has been monetized. Why are Republican candidates stumbling over themselves to say the most un-American things about refugees? They think attention will lead to money for their campaigns. I would argue that this economy of fear hasn’t just been monetized, it’s been weaponized against people who cannot defend themselves. The more vulnerable you are, apparently, the better the target of fear you appear to be from the popular majority.
Where is this Going?
I think we’re reaching a tipping point. You have a generation of young adults that have grown up in a world where fear has become monetized (or weaponized.) And since fear is such a short-term motivator that’ll lead to one of three directions.
- Nothing will change. The middle 70% of the population will be just as susceptible to this in 8 years as they are today.
- People just won’t care anymore. A certain portion of the population will just cease to care. They will become un-engageable on social issues, even ones that directly impact them.
- People will game the system. Expect more violence, fear-mongering. There are people who think, “You want me to be scared? I’ll give you something to be scared of.” What will this be motivated by? A desire for power.