By Kyle Wilmar
Fear has always been a strong motivation in politics and is nothing new for American culture but in more recent times it has gone too far. The use of fear to fuel political agendas and scare people into submission will be one of the biggest mistakes of our generation if we don’t fight the problem now. From 9/11 to Syrian Refugees our generation has become cold to the needs of others and submissive to the actions of government in the name of “Security”. Hopefully it is not too late to change and to realize that we have no need to live in such fear of the “Enemy”.
Our most recent use of fear in the American political rhetoric has become known as the “War on Terror”. The War on Terror started right after 9/11 as Media used it as a term synonymous with military action in the Middle East. If the horrible tragedy of 9/11 wasn’t enough to unify the nation against a terrorist group, they also started to associate the religion of Islam and its supposed anti-western views as another unifying factor in the War on Terror. To the point that being Muslim and being a terrorist became connected in American media and society. This would only be possible with minority religions in America as notice when it’s a Christian terrorist religion never becomes a de-humanizing factor. We never waged a War on Terror against Christians when Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, when the army of god attacked abortion clinics, or anything the KKK has done. Now you can do a quick Google search and find hundreds of articles defending why they are not true Christians but for some reason when extremist Muslims that make up less than 1% of Islam represent the whole religion. We have come to fear Muslims because of the media and politicians altering our perception of a region and a religion. We have watched what should have been a war against a small extremist group turn into a cultural war against a larger group of people that have become a scape goat so the public would support military action in a region we don’t belong in. It would start a decade of military action in Middle East. From operation Enduring Freedom to Iraq Freedom and more recently military action against ISIS. Yes we should find extremist and try to stop terrorism but what has been a side-effect of the war on terror is a prejudice for a religious minority. This prejudice has brought us to the modern day issue of what to do with Syrian Refugees. Because of the decade of fear of Muslims and the Middle East we now see a rejection of helping these refugees. We fear that they are terrorist and will be destructive if we allow them to come over to American soil. We must not allow fear allow us to close our gates to those in need. There may be a possibility that a terrorist gets in but with extremist being such a small percent of Islam is it really worth it to leave so many to struggle because of the actions of a few who do not represent the whole? Especially when you are more likely to die in a car crash but we still have cars. In 2014, 8 people died from terrorist attacks in America (none by Muslim extremist) well about 3000 people died in a car today. The fear that media and politicians has instilled in us has caused us to miss an opportunity to help millions of people who need our help. If we found ourselves in the same position as the refugees I would hope no country would hesitate to help us. I am not recommending America takes all 10 million refugees but I believe we should take as many as we can and so should other well of countries. In good conscious we cannot sit in such a prosperous nation and reject those who face such hardship because we have been lead to this state of misguided fear. In past few days thought there has been hope. After 31 states have shut there boarders a light of hope has come from the most unlikely place… Donald Trump. Yes he called to block all Muslims from entering the country but what has given hope is the responses to his statements. As members of his own party like speaker of the house Paul Ryan and Senator Lindsey Graham call his plans un-American and an intrusion of freedom of religion. It took a radical like Donald Trump saying what some people think in order for America to take a break from our state of fear to realize our Islamophobia is wrong. Our as Senator Lindsey Graham said “Tell Donald Trump to go to hell”. This fear of Muslims and Prejudice is not the only thing coming out of the war on terror.
We have compromised our freedoms in name of security because of fear. Post 9/11 we started to crack down and in more ways than just TSA touching you before getting on a plane. Many people know of the Patriot Act and with a name like that it must be Un-American to oppose it. It seemed like a good idea to give more power to help government to find terrorist but now 14 years later we still are being subjected to infractions to our personal freedoms by the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act gave the NSA power to phone tap American citizens without any form of court documents. At the time America was willing to give up some freedoms to feel more secure because we felt so much fear but now this continued fear can only be a result of the masses being told we still need to be afraid. Government needs to continue this feeling of fear in order to keep us subdued to the intrusion of privacy that they wish to continue. Not even in such a time of terror should we allow these actions. In many times of panics governments have been able to infringe upon the rights of citizens and it is time for us to reverse the actions taken by the Patriot Act after 9/11. Not only has it been a violation of privacy but it has been shown to be un-effective with less than 1% of the electronic intrusions being terror related. The Patriot Act has allowed government to take roll of big brother in our phone conversations, e-mails, and banking history. For now the Patriot Act has been changed to the USA freedom act and will be in place until 2019. Names have changed but the fear mongering to keep us allowing this is the same.
We need to stop this state of fear. We are allowing fear to get the better of us. It is a modern day witch hunt that only has turned citizens against each other and allowed an over reach of government control. The best way we can do this is with critical thinking and not believing everything media says. Look to multiple news sources and form our own opinions not those of politicians. Fear only works when the masses believe it.