Thursday, November 05, 2015


As President Obama recently said to Marilynne Robinson, there is a spike in fear within the US right now. There seems to be widespread disquiet even in our wealthy and sophisticated metropolises. Outside of them, disquiet seems to have turned into outright fear, as the articles about the early death of middle aged white men suggest. And fear seems to underlie the mysterious appeal of the many loony and mean-minded Republican Presidential candidates and governors. Such fearfulness, which paradoxically come at a time of nearly unprecedented peace and well being, causes people to turn ugly and behave exactly contrary to the moral codes of their religions. Fortunately, we are a diverse and democratic nation. Although vicious and greedy demagogues aim to profit by fanning fears and hatred, as in Houston, plenty of us do not let fear shape our behavior, and we have plenty of kind, decent, and admirable leaders in the Lincoln and FDR mode to inspire the better angels of our nature.

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