The Choice: Fear or Hope?

For America, the choice is clear: We choose hope over fear,' he says. | AP Photo

File – On September 24, 2014, President Obama’s Address To United Nations General Assembly. ‘For America, the choice is clear: We choose hope over fear,’ he says. | AP Photo

Imagine with me for a moment that the United States elects a new president seven years after 9/11 while we are engaged in 2 wars in the Middle East that the voters want to end. All this is happening while the mastermind of the worst terror attack on our country continues to plot against us.

Now, imagine that president ending those wars and approving a high-risk plan to take out the mastermind – and its successful.

Further, imagine that this president assembles a coalition of 40 countries to go after a new threat that arises from Middle Eastern terrorists.

And yet, 55% of the country disapproves of his handling of foreign policy while some actually buy into the idea that he’s is a secret Muslim sympathizer (warning: wingnut link).

OK, so you don’t have to imagine it at all. That’s the true story of President Barack Obama.

What blows my mind is how – in an age when data and information are universally available in a way we’ve never known before – so many people buy into mythologies and propaganda that have zero grounding in facts. Why are they so quick to believe the lies and distortions?

This all goes WAY beyond a basic disagreement about policies. If that were all this was about we might be able to discuss how Presidents Bush and Obama agreed about how to end the Iraq War and that is one of the primary reasons Obama kept Gates on as his Secretary of Defense. But that kind of rational analysis is not possible in this environment, is it?

We see the same dynamic on the economy. Despite the fact that even Forbes Magazine says that Barack Obama is the best economic president of the modern era, 55% disapprove of his handling of the economy while some Republicans continue to insist he’s a socialist out to destroy our country.

There are probably complex reasons for this dissonance. But I’d suggest that its mostly based on fear…fear of a changing world and a changing country that is currently being run by a black man (i.e., he’s not really one of us).

And so, President Obama was right the other day when he said that we’re at a crossroads between fear and hope. The challenges that face the globe will continue and the changing demographics of America will not be altered. Those are simply the facts we have to deal with. It is on each of us to decide whether we respond out of fear or join the President in saying…

For America, the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

 at Horizons where this article first appeared on 9/26/2014.