Houston Community College
November 12 2010
evaluation of Fear
What is fear ?
To be afraid apprehensive.(merriam-webster online)
Fear is a feeling you get in your stomach when you know something is about to happen whether you know the out come or not.It can be a feeling of uneasiness when a situation reminds you of something. It can be triggered by sounds,sight and smell.
How do we identify fear ?
It can be identified in many ways.It can be an uneasy feeling you get when you walk alone in a parking garage,it can be a noise you hear in the middle of the night.The feeling you get after watching a scary movie,but it can also be a thought after watching something on the news or hear certain news can bring about fear. Fear can be many things to different people. There is a part of your brain called that is solely for your survival called the reptilian brain. When you experience fear your reptilian brain goes into action and the rest of your brain shuts down(under one roof .net).
Fear takes on a new roll in society it no longer is the scary movie or a thump in the night. It becomes what we fear not only personally but as a society. Since 911 most of society has a different view of what we fear. Now we fear people who dress a certain way. Who speak a different language or has a particular name that is not like ours. Even local crimes like the kidnapping of a eight year old girl from her home(latimes.com). We also now fear losing jobs or even oil spills and what the weather may bring.
There has been incidents of violence against Muslims or people thought to be Muslims since 911 either as a direct attack or because they resemble what we think the attackers looked like or they are thought to be from the same country as the attackers. Some in our society act out even against places of worship like a mosque by spray painting words of discouragement and hate (Houston Chronicle 2009).Things like this is due to our fear of terrorism. Since 2001 the United Staes Of America has been in a campaign to rout out terrorism in Iraq. There has been other acts of terrorism The bombing of Oklahoma City where there now stands a memorial and museum to educate people about terrorism.Both of these incidents have created a fear that we can be attacked at any time any where.
We also fear the unknown when it comes to our economy. One of the glaring things that hit close to home was the fall of Enron. A company where hundreds of people worked and some even planned to retire from,was swept from under their feet without notice or warning. Leaving people without jobs,expected pensions,or any idea on what to do next. So even after working and saving for retirement these people were not safe from economic hardship(Chronicle 2001).There has been many jobs lost due to the economy and with lost jobs comes a cry for government to intervene with some type of help be-it jobs or aid. So we spend less in order to keep more money for a rainy day because of the unknown and that causes even more economic hardship because other businesses close due to the lack of sales.
Religion has always brought about fear in our society ranging back to before the birth of Christ.
Whether it be Judaism,Hinduism,Islam,Christianity and many others there has always been a fear associated with religion.Most of this comes from the fact that we do not all believe in the same God or teachings and that has brought about confrontations that have killed millions over the years. A reader asked on a dear abbey column what was society’s greatest problem and the answer was organized religion(Chicago tribune-2010). In an effort to be kind and basically good hearted we cling to our religious beliefs so that when we die we will go to what is believed heaven and if we live sinful lives and do not follow our teachings we go to hell.Whether any of this is true it is non the less a driving force behind many of our daily lives. We flock to churches and donate millions in an attempt to be good and show we want to be in good favor with which ever god or teachings we believe. We will never know how much money is given each year in donations to churches it is evident we fear religious outcome be it a conflict or our destination after death.
Will our borders be protected? that’s a question that is growing everyday. immigration is ongoing dispute in the state of texas as well as others. We have had our borders infringed upon by not only people who come in illegally but also by those who come under false pretenses in order to due harm to our country. Immigration is associated with terrorism because of the 911 attack and the reason for the attackers being in our country. Even without the threat of terrorism America has had it’s fight with immigration one such is the illegal haitians. Even before the devastating earthquake that sent Haiti reeling there were between 100 to 200 thousand illegal haitians in America(Time.com). Immigration is also associated with the economy.The mexican immigrant is at the top of the news these days for a couple of reasons ,first the border wars and second the new laws in the state of Arizona concerning the detection of illegal immigrants.There is also the discussion over wether the mexican immigrant has a negative or positive affect on Americas economy. There are those that overall the mexican immigrant has a net positive affect on the economy(npr.org).
When we think of our country and it’s elected officials fear has to come to mind,because i think we have a fear of choosing what will be best for us.If we pick one over the other will we regret our decision. There is a definite effect of what the last presidential election has done for some Texas counties. In 23 0f the 25 largest counties employment declined from september of 2008 to september 2009(bls.gov). It would then be a thought that if there is not certain change in job availability in Texas there will be some people that will want to vote for someone new come next election. I think there is more fear in global elections than here in the states. For examples this october on the Ivory Coast there will be elections for a new president and they have already started disarming groups and replacing police and other officials in fear of wide spread violence. In Kenya during the 2008 presidential elections more than 275 people were killed and dozens burned to death in an outburst of violence(npr.org).Closer to home in Mexico not only fear tactics but the actual murder of a gubernatorial candidate. When on the way to an election rally gunmen open fire on a candidate(latindispatch.com). But even in American history the 1860 presidential election brought upon a fierce war.There has been minor violence in the states during arguments over health care in Miami a man was hit by another man(jamaicans.com). During the the 1860 elections the fight over states rights and slavery was very heated and after Abraham Lincoln was elected some southern states started to declare secession which soon brought upon the war between the north and the south the civil war.
Im not sure if people who use fear get elected more than those that do not because i think they all use fear tactics wether they are making true statements are not some truths can quite frightening. So many negative advertisements hit our air waves that most just turn the channell .All in all it could have a negative affect on voters (hubpages.com).The GOP is planning to use the fear of Barrack Obama taking our country toward socialism in the 2010 elections(theblockradio.com). During the 2008 presidential elections the Democratic party use the fear of Sarah Palin being Vice president and if something was to happen to the president she would be next to run the country(city-data.com).
As election season comes around and the advertisers get busy with the plugs those of us that do pay attention to what is being said take it with a grain of salt. As rational somewhat intelligent people we know the spill, it comes every four years and one of many candidates may promise us something we think we need or feel is necessary and and the others are not. There may be the fear of certain things changing, if we have someone new in office, but i think it is very few us us that would think that the world as we know it would come to an end no matter what the change is.
There are many candidates that run for office some every two years and some every four. Most of us pay more attention to the four year elections because that is when we have the ability to choose a president. The information on the candidates helps us formulate an opinion of those running for office and who we will probably vote for.The question is do we get all the information that there is and are we making the best decision possible.It is very possible we only see the advertisement of the two main parties democratic or republican but there are others there is the libertarian party,the green party,the constitution party just to name a few(politics1.com). So as we look for information about the main characters running for office where do we find it. We get most of our information about the candidates from television advertisements in fact over 50 percent of all advertising is done on the major television networks(marketingblurb.com). Over 450 million dollars was spent on advertising with the two main opponents spending the most John McCain 125,530,148 and Barack Obama 235,974,838(elections.nytimes.com).
As for my opinion when it comes to elections i listen to the debates and i try and learn what i can about the candidates before i make an opinion,but there is a certain amount of fear when i am contemplating who i will vote for. There is a fear that my vote will bring about a change that would change my living conditions for the worst. Then there is a fear that as a black man in America the wrong person in office could undue many of the freedoms that i now possess, the right for my vote to be counted equally,the right to work,the right to live any where you can afford to live without persecution. When it comes to the sources where i get my information from when choosing a candidate i do detect forms of fear being used.
I do think that fear is a motivator when it comes to making decisions and of course political decisions as well. After thousands of lives lost in the war in Iraq and then president Bush’s lowest ratings.With still so many troops in Iraq our society was very fearful of the outcome if we did not get change soon. One of the main platforms that our now President barack Obama ran on was ending our involvement in that war and bring troops home. That in my opinion was what made the most difference in his winning the election.Because of president Bush’s strong presence in the republican party i am sure there were millions of voters that were afraid that if another republican was elected into office the troops would not be brought home and even more troops would be deployed(newyorker.com).
Fear has its good uses. It is that thing that warns us of danger,its what makes think twice before buying a house or a car or any other big purchases that we could get stuck with. It is also how many of us learn important lessons. When your parents teach you not to talk to strangers,look both ways before you cross the street,driving while drunk,the dangers of playing with hand guns and of course using safe sex just to name some of the things we learn from fear. Fear is also bad it can make you avoid things that might be a great experience,it can make you stay on a job and not take chances where you might find a better career. So fear is good and bad it is a different thing for each individual.
To overcome fear i think we must have knowledge,confidence and courage. Most of what we fear comes from not knowing what the end result may be. The other comes from knowing and not having the confidence or courage to face that particular fear. because there is so many fears we can have its hard to pin pint each origin but there are vehicles to build confidence and awareness to help us overcome certain fears. There is one such organization created for women in at risk communities that provides self defense classes for women and young girls(fightthefearcampaign.com). Of course there are books about overcoming fear and what fear brings along with it like self-hatred and loneliness in a book called The Quest for Personal Power it says fear is a lack of self-mastery and to achieve this you must live without fear(lifepositive.com). The most important fact about fear is that it’s all in the mind.