Thursday, March 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

The only thing we have to fear . . .

mcfeatters column sig

By
February 09, 2013 |

When did so many of us become so fearful?

When did we, proud of our melting-pot origins, become determined to keep out immigrant families seeking a chance at the American dream?

When did we stop being proud of our government and start hoarding guns to protect us against the invasion of our homes by mythical government storm troopers?

When did churches start publicly protesting which boys could belong to the Boy Scouts and which ones should be ostracized?

When did we become so afraid?

Was it 9/11? Was it the popularity of conspiracy movies? Was it the disappearance of the middle class?

Was it when we began to worry that the American dream itself might be dying?

Most Americans are living their lives as always – working hard, teaching their children the difference between right and wrong, how to be tolerant and that being happy means helping others. Most Americans are proud of their neighborhoods and their communities and their government and America’s place in the world.

But now we read that 40 percent of us absolutely oppose a ban on sales of high-capacity gun magazines because if we want to shoot a hundred bullets in the flick of a few eyelashes, that is our right.

Nearly half of us oppose limiting sales of assault weapons, the kind designed to kill as many soldiers on the battlefield as possible, on the theory we all have a right to own semi-automatics.

Even after children at an elementary school are mowed down by assault weapons and even after a madman shoots and kills the driver of a school bus and takes a 5-year-old hostage, we are told that serious new gun control measures are dead in Congress.

While we acquiesce to smoking bans and requirements that houses have smoke detectors and laws that require us to register our cars, we balk at registering our weapons.

We have become a multiethnic, bilingual nation. Yet many of us speak of the 11 million undocumented people living among us as though they are evil invaders from another planet who must be thrown out. There are demands for concrete barriers topped with barbed wire and machine guns raised against their return.

While religious tolerance in our society is preciously guarded, some religions are engaged in wholesale opposition to the people who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Pious people urge the Boy Scouts of America not to permit gay children to join their ranks. Yet some of the hierarchies of some of those religions harbored pedophiles in their midst for decades.

We are proud of our amazing food supply, including an incredible array of tasty products that have no nutritional value but contribute to making obesity one of our most serious health issues. Yet we stigmatize overweight people, discriminating against them in the workplace and in our schools. The popular governor of a major state worries that he might not be able to run for president unless he loses weight.

Our beloved Constitution demands separation of church and state, yet no national politician dares say he or she is a nonbeliever. No president would refuse to attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast to proclaim his deep belief in God. It would be political suicide.

Why, in this fabulous country with unimaginable wealth and opportunities denied to hundreds of millions in other countries, are we so afraid?

Is it about clinging to a disappearing status quo? Is it fear of those who are different? Is it being afraid of a loss of what we have acquired, that what is ours will be taken away?

Perhaps. But at the root of such fear is an ugliness that is un-American. Let’s return to the recognition that America is a big tent, with room enough for everyone to prosper.

We went through truly bad days in the 1860s, when it was not certain the nation would remain united. We survived that test and prospered. We will do it again. We must fear being afraid.

Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. Email [email protected]

Ann McFeatters

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Vacaville honors top cops, support staff

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
     
    Kings honor Rankin, Mustangs

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: A2, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Fairfield mall to host first aid kit assembly party

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield PD chief to address Solano GOP

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

     
    New meeting location for family support group

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

    Padan Elementary demonstrates new school culture

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
     
     
    Fairfield police log: March 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A7

    Suisun City police log: March 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A7

     
    Frustration permeates college contract negotiations

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    .

    US / World

    Vallejo woman’s story a hoax, police say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

     
    Deceased woman’s video supports Wolk’s bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Ferguson residents rattled by another shooting death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Man threatened suicide before shooting officer

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    .

    Opinion

    China mustn’t make Greenspan’s mistake on stocks

    By William Pesek | From Page: A5

     
    We deserve freedom to choose our fate

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: March 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: March 26, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: March 26, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    After several years, my nieces now live with their father and are miserable

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    David Crosby in car accident with jogger

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Contract not renewed for ‘Top Gear’ host

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Felicity Jones excited, tight-lipped about Star Wars role

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Sports

     
    Prep badminton preview: City teams making their marks

    By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    6 teams with 10 or more losses most ever to reach Sweet 16

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    After 1st division title in 39 years, Warriors want more

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Local report: Rodriguez boys swim past Vintage

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Joe Gibbs’ son being treated for ‘brain function’ issues

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    America’s Cup organizers want smaller, cheaper boats

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Gomez uses offense and defense, leads Brewers past A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Cal to host UC Davis in 2019, Cal Poly in 2020

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Lanny McDonald selected as chairman of Hockey Hall of Fame

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Serena Williams hoping to play at Miami Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Change to extra points likely in NFL

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Bills to honor late owner Wilson with life-sized statue

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Tulowitzki homers, Butler strong in Rockies’ win over Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Elliott heads to Martinsville to attempt 1st Sprint Cup race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Alameda County to join talks about new Oakland stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Rio mayor unveils controversial Olympic golf course

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Howard Leon Carnes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9