Ladies and gentlemen, we have a crisis in this country! Yes, I know that we have a great number of crises — all of which are deserving of attention and correction. Starting at the highest position in our government and extending downward from there we have all read about corruption, immorality, bribery, murder and various other assorted mayhem. There is little that each of us, as individuals, can do directly to solve these national scandals.
The crisis I am referring to is NOT global warming, pollution, destruction of the rain forests, over population, nuclear war, welfare reform, over taxation or any of the other problems we are told about daily in the mass media. No, the crisis we are facing is larger and more individual that any of those.
The crisis I speak of is well on its way to destroying this country. That crisis is fear! It is knowing full well that something is wrong. It is knowing exactly what is wrong. It is knowing who is responsible for what is wrong — and refusing to speak out.
It is refusing to “make waves” for fear of being labeled a dissident, a trouble maker, an extremist or some other term of opprobrium.
At the beginning of the first Franklin Roosevelt term, he stated with regard to the depression then afflicting this country: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, blind unreasoning fear.” Today, we see that very principle in action.
Too many times today, we see men and women change the subject rather than discuss some controversial issue: abortion, open homosexual activity, extra marital affairs, corruption in government — the list goes on and on. How many times have you heard advice that you should not discuss religion or politics, etc. in public? I ask: WHY NOT?
Too often we give our children or grandchildren “the benefit of the doubt” rather than directly reproach them for wrongdoing. They need the benefit of our experience and knowledge whether they want it or not.
Too many people are willing to “look the other way” and defend our public officials simply because they voted that individual into office. To point out wrong doing by that official reflects upon our own judgment and many don’t want to face that reality.
We voted them into office to do a certain job and it is our responsibility to see that the job is being done properly. That is part of what self-government demands.
We have allowed the IRS almost unlimited access to our earnings without complaining for fear that we might be labeled a tax-evader, for fear that we might be subjected to an audit. We fear speaking up in defense of our Constitutional rights for fear of the very people we are paying to protect those rights.
It has gotten to the point that many fear that they will be charged with sexual harassment if they ask a person out on a date more than once. We have gotten to the point where we fear being called a racist if we promote or fire someone of the wrong ethnic group regardless of that individual’s ability or lack thereof.
Many are afraid to speak up in meetings or in some public conference for fear of being labeled a trouble maker.
We used to revere the heroes of bygone days for their lack of apparent fear in the face of danger. Today, the heroes in the popular press are those who have social stature rather than those who stand for what is right and correct even if he or she is the ONLY one against the throng.
The chains of slavery are fastened on us by fear — fear of standing alone, fear of speaking out against corruption, fear of “being different.” Fear can enslave each of us long before we are actually threatened by superior force — and that slavery is every bit as real as any that has existed in history.
Remember those of the past who said such things as: “Give me liberty or give me death.” (Patrick Henry) Or another great statement: “Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety — and will not long have either.” (Benjamin Franklin)
If each of us would just have the courage to face these insubstantial fears, look them in the eye, and say, “I am in command and I am not backing down” there is a strong probability that it would NOT be just a matter of time until our children and grandchildren will have to wear the chains of slavery forced upon us in the name of “peace at any price” or “the war on terrorism!”