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Fear and partisan politics.

(This was a comment on a friend's wall. Said friend wanted to promote it, so I moved it here for easy linking. It was written in response to a commenter writing about their fears about a Hillary Clinton administration.)

I recognize your fear, and I'm sorry for it.

Living in fear sucks.

Here's the thing, though: when Obama was elected I saw a lot of fear... that he would impose Sharia law, that he would criminalize Christianity, that he would criminalize gun ownership and confiscate everyone's guns, that he would be so weak our enemies would attack American soil like they did under Bush, that our economy would continue to collapse, and so on and so forth.

And it made me sad. And I asked people, if in four to eight years it turned out that none of those things happened, would they be less scared? Would that be evidence that their fears are baseless?

And now it's eight years later, and it's still legal to be Christian, to eat meat, to drink alcohol, to own guns, and we haven't seen another large-scale attack on our soil, the economy is recovering. And now that Clinton is being elected, the same litany is coming up. And we're still so very very scared.

And I ask the same question. What do we anticipate? Four years from now, eight years from now, if that hasn't materialized, will that give us reason to be less scared?

I mean, I was scared when Obama was elected. I was pretty sure he'd be assassinated before his first term was out, because that's the kind of country I thought I lived in. Turns out I was wrong, AND THAT IS AWESOME. Reality is better than I feared.

I was scared when Trump was nominated. I felt it entirely possible that my country would choose this man to lead our executive branch. But it's looking like I was wrong, AND THAT IS AWESOME. My country is better than I feared.

And like you, I'm scared that the government may not survive the next four to eight years. For example, when I see the Senate simply refuse to talk to a proposed Supreme Court justice, not because of any properties of the nominee himself, but purely because he was nominated by a Democratic President... that scares me.

The prospect of gridlock on an even vaster scale than we've already seen scares me, because government action can make people's lives better, and when the government is paralyzed that action is inhibited and people suffer in consequence.

But you know? If in four years it turns out that we haven't been gridlocked into paralysis, that'll be awesome. I'll breathe a sigh of relief and think maybe it's getting better.

And all of that helps.

But also, in some ways it doesn't. In some ways my fear of the reactionary elements that call themselves "conservative" in this country runs deeper than the specific issues.

So how about you? You're scared that Clinton will "take the whole government down" and thereby expose us to the "enemies at the gate." What would that look like... how would we know it was happening? If in four years, we aren't seeing that stuff... will you be relieved? Will you praise that?

Or is the fear deeper than the specific issues that concern you?



Oct. 30th, 2016 01:31 am (UTC)
Re: Clinton supporter here, commenting rather than answering
Thank you! That sounds very right! Thank you so much! I forgot about that sort of dishonesty. I was only thinking about the sort that rejects actual outcomes as mysteriously irrelevant to previous fear. Which can come honestly from the dishonest deflection of own's fears you cite, though it needn't.

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