We Have Nothing to Fear

These days, more than most, we have cause to be afraid. We’ve been battered for months with gruesome stories about the economy, which seems to erode just a bit more with each sweep of the stock ticker. We were emotionally pummelled again recently by the front-page news and images from Mumbai, which reminded us how savage human beings can be to each other. And as if we
weren’t already teetering on the brink of medical depression, our prime minister has stepped up to provide another nudge. Clearly terrified himself, Harper and his party are exhausting their media batteries crying murder over the Liberal/NDP/Bloc alliance, calling it “a plan to destroy the country” in a recent Question Period. Save me.

As a journalist, this may seem a bit hypocritical, but let’s just stop with the fear-mongering. I’m exhausted by it. Don’t get me wrong, fear sells newspapers and magazines just as surely as it wins votes for exploitive politicians, but that doesn’t mean I too have to embrace it.

Consider the economy. The big three American car companies are a great example. In their pleas to various governments for bail-out money, they’re preaching fire-and-brimstone sermons of economic destruction (which, not surprisingly, can only be averted with a hefty offering to the corporate collection plate). The other side of the argument is that maybe our economy needs some of these flawed, destructive giants of the past to die off in order to evolve for the better. Also keep in mind that fear in the marketplace is one of the things chilling the spending of everyone from
grandmas to multinational financiers. It is clearly not the solution to our problems.

The same argument goes for the federal government. Terrified about working with separatists? Give me a break. This is Canada. When in all our history have we not worked with separatists to run this country? And if that’s a problem, what’s the solution that will result in a strong, unified country: rally around hard-core patriotic positions, or find ways to work together with people of differing ideas to find that ever-elusive mutual ground? It’s not like we haven’t done this before.

Again, being the media myself, I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot, but enough with all the fear. Yes, we have problems: political, economic and otherwise. It’s bad. It’s been this bad before. It will be this bad again. When has terrorizing people been the wise solution?