The chatter on the Internet continues to be that we are all scared shite-less and trembling under our beds and a-feared of terrorists dropping out of the trees to kill us all as we shop.
Is this happening among people you know?
The source for all this knowledge are polls which are never wrong (except when they are) and which can certainly never be verified (how do you verify that a given percentage of the country is truly afraid? or indifferent, for that matter? The latter is more verifiable, actually, given historical rates of voter turnout.). So the polls tell us we tell them we are afraid, and then the politicians repeat it as loudly as they can, and the internet lights up like a pinball machine (though I think fewer and fewer people are playing that machine anymore) and we're all trembling like giant blanc manges.
Is this happening to you, or anyone around you?
I know we're supposed to be completely unstuck by San Bernardino because PARIS! ISIS! TERROR!!!! and if we still had the color scheme we'd be at Terror Level Black Watch Plaid. But really? Apparently the FBI has said "Well, maybe those two murderers in California weren't really even inspired by ISIS." This is a walk-back made necessary by ISIS taking credit for what it probably didn't do in California, because it makes ISIS look bigger and scarier than it is, and because, well, you know: RECRUITING. You want people to join your military, you tell 'em it's a man's life in the Army. You want people to join your football team, you tell 'em what a winner you are. You want people to pledge their lives to jihad, you take credit for mayhem wherever it happens.
And so the FBI says, "Well, maybe not." Largely to try to detach the murder of 14 people for reasons nobody can yet explain (they don't even know why that particular party, or whether others were involved in the planning, or if that shooting was even planned. Remember the story of one shooter leaving the party angry? Whatever happened to that?), from a gang of thugs and murderers who think they can run a caliphate.
And this apparently has us all convinced we are now engaged in World War III and we're all gonna die if we don't carpet bomb....well, not carpet bomb, exactly, but direct bombs to ISIS leaders because it's Christmas shipping season and we have their home addresses and free market capitalism can deliver, or something.....
I keep asking because all we hear in the media is "FEAR! FIRE! FOES! AWAKE!!!", and yet this happened at the last GOP debate of the year:
.... a UT Austin student named Carla Hernandez asked, “If the Bible clearly states that we need to embrace those in need and not fear, how can we justify not accepting refugees?”In Texas State Rep. Gene Wu is asking the DOJ to look into whether or not Texas is violating federal law by trying to block refugees from coming here, and while Gov. Abbott besmirches the tradition of hospitality this take states pride in, Houston continues to be the city in America that has accepted more refugees than any city in the country.
And we don't even brag about it.
I don't know if the son-of-a-pastor Ted Cruz answered Ms. Hernandez's question, but I doubt I want to know his answer. It just seems clear to me that once again the Biblical story rings true with current events: the powerful tremble on their thrones at the news that something good might be coming, that ordinary Americans might actually care about people in trouble and aren't afraid but open their hearts and their wallets to them, like the students of a North Charleston high school who raised $1900 to help Syrian refugees, and delivered it through the Jewish historical institute Centropa, in Vienna, Austria. Jews, helping Muslims, through the efforts of (most likely) Christians (or perhaps "nones". Who knows?) While politicians wail and internet commenters complain and both groups insist on the primacy of their group, their tribe, their "people, the world is trying to get things done, to heal wounds, to help people.
There is no room in the inn, but the trough where the animals eat is a fine place to rest a baby when the parents have been forced from home. It is a fine offering to make, once again, to allow them room somewhere among us. And the angels will sing, and the heavens will glow, and the roughest and rudest and smelliest and dirtiest will be welcome at the celebration.
The well-dressed, the comfortable, the smarmy and the cynical, have had their day. Every year we tell the story, the one ignored at the time it happened, we tell again how little things and unimportant people can be the most important parts of history. We endure. They repeat. Our story is forever. Theirs has to be renewed constantly, lest it fade away; and fade away, it will.