"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." (1 John 4:18)
I was reading Fareed Zakaria's new book, The Post-American World. Starting on p. 251, he talks about how FEAR has gripped the nation, and how this is NOT a good thing. This section of the book is an expansion of an article he wrote for NEWSWEEK late last year, entitled "The Fearful Superpower."
"Ever since the [9/11] attacks, the United States has felt threatened and under siege and determined to carve out maximum room to maneuver. But where Americans have seen defensive behavior, the rest of the world has looked on and seen the most powerful nation in human history acting like a caged animal, lashing out at any and every constraint on its actions.
At the heart of this behavior is fear. Americans have become scared of the new world that is emerging around them. As long as this atmosphere of fear envelops U.S. politics, it will surely produce very similar results abroad. Washington's real task, therefore, is to combat such unthinking emotion."
As I read these words, I think of the Christians on the cable news shows wringing their hands in fear and the conversations I've had with fellow evangelicals about the post-9/11 world. Most support the Republicans in this election, believing that they are the strongest on national security issues.
"Republicans are falling over each other to paint an atmosphere of dire threat that requires strong, even brutish action to protect the American people. Democrats, while far less guilty of fearmongering, have been afraid to combat this hysteria."
Are we going to vote based on FEAR?
With the threat of terrorism and with congress deciding this week how to deal with the Wall Street collapse, I think of the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who (if we can remember our history) was elected to lead a generation that faced both the Great Depression and World War II. In his first inaugural address, he said,
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."