published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Chambers: The only things we have to fear

By Mike Chambers

If you know anything about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you know the rest of the quote.

During a recent Chattanooga radio show, hosts and listeners talked about what modern Americans fear. Among the answers: taking risks (physical or otherwise), being quoted by the press when one sees wrong and fears retribution, a fear of masculinity by men (the feminizing of America), and the fear of being sued by legions of attorneys for any perceived offense.

All good points, but let us add to the list:

• Fear of "affordable health care" that is neither affordable to most nor good medicine for many; and fear of a redistributionist scheme that will literally endanger health, lives and the economy. Arguably, the ACA has caused the end of thousands of jobs beyond 29 hours. (I have experienced the latter personally.)

• Fear by employers of not only "health care" but also ever-expanding government regulations that continue to grind our economy to a halt. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we average a new regulation about every three hours; by some estimates, 10 percent of America's GDP is currently consumed by regulations.

• Fear of President Obama's "pen and telephone" attitude that makes a mockery of the rule of law, the Constitution, and the separation of powers. In a related bittersweet moment of humor, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., is now concerned over perceived monitoring of the Senate by the CIA. Ironically, she supported the NSA monitoring of fellow Americans' emails, calls and finances; but now she whines when her own activities may have been accessed. She apparently believes she enjoys a separation of laws and powers above the rest of us.

• Fear of the taxman, and any political activity that could be used by the IRS as a club to squelch dissent -- spoken, written, or otherwise.

• Fear of political correctness, where the press fears the total truth and avoids the discussions we must have in any story. Was a government monitor on hand when the Associated Press ruled out the use of "illegal immigrant" (a correct term -- laws broken, not a native-born entering the country)? Nope.

Does the media report how the "record" number of deportations includes skewered numbers because "turn backs" (not formal deportations) at the border are now counted for the first time? Nope.

Was it fear of "offending," as one local reporter once told me years ago, the now politically correct "undocumented worker"? They admitted no interest in including opinions from an immigration critic for that very reason.

A local television news executive told me 10 years ago race was not only unimportant to a story but could not be mentioned. The story was a request by Chattanooga police to "be on the lookout for" a violent perpetrator, but no full description could be given to aid viewers and police.

Perhaps the trail of fear is a long one.

Fear is the iron filings thrown into the gears of any individual, family, friendship, society, economy, press, representative government, freedom or faith. It is a devious and grinding paralysis that must be resisted, cleaned, oiled and exercised by open discussion, debate and vigilance by all parties.

It has been said fear causes the flight vs. fight syndrome -- either run or face your demon head-on. Sometimes flight is indeed the answer, and retreat can be the better part of valor -- but constant avoidance of all things uncomfortable kills the spirit.

I'm tired of our nation running -- and FDR, as a consummate liberal, is not one of my heroes.

But he got this one right.

Mike Chambers, a former Chattanooga broadcaster and reporter, lives on Lookout Mountain.

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LibDem said...

Mr. Chambers, you forgot to mention the fear of a crescendo of whining from right wing nuts.

March 20, 2014 at 6:52 a.m.
librul said...

I'm quite sure Mike isn't afraid of the dismal future for America and the world guaranteed by an unrestrained American corporatocracy, a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich where ALL of the rights of every citizen would be subordinated and trampled under the feet of a horde of predatory capitalists.

Health care for the poor? CAN'T AFFORD IT! Money and jobs programs for rebuilding crumbling domestic infrastructure? DON'T STAND UNDER BRIDGES! Money for prevention of environmental calamities? JUST HOLD YOUR NOSE, DRINK BOTTLED WATER AND AVOID CONTAMINATED FOOD! Reduce the bloated Pentagon budget? ISRAEL IS THREATENED AND BENGHAZI-BENGHAZI-BENGHAZI! Work to make voting easier for everyone in our 'democracy'? BRING BACK THE POLL TAX FOR MINORITIES! Stop neo-liberal meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations around the globe? THE STRATEGIC INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE IS ALL THAT MATTERS and SOCIALISM-SOCIALISM-SOCIALISM! Stop rampaging police arresting or killing people for taking their picture? TERRORISTS ARE EVERYWHERE! Stop the NSA from spying on Americans? TERRORISTS ARE EVERYWHERE! Pardon whistle blowers who told the people the government was spying on them? TERRORISTS ARE EVERYWHERE! Let the engines of the market return America to the sooty 'utopia' it was in the 50s? DON'T LIGHT A MATCH WHEN YOU'RE OUT ON THE RIVER! Stop corporations from buying up all our sources of public information? SHUT UP AND WATCH 'HOUSEWIVES OF GOTHAM CITY'! Eliminate subsidies for gentlemen farmers? ELIMINATE FOOD PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR AND FREE LUNCHES FOR THEIR CHILDREN! Support renewable energy strategies? DRILL BABY DRILL! Protect the aquifers that provide our clean drinking water? FRACKING IS SAFE - JUST DON'T LIGHT A MATCH WHEN YOU'RE STANDING AT THE TAP! Stop foreclosures and predatory lending practices? STOP THINKING YOU CAN OWN YOUR OWN HOME and UNIONS-UNIONS-UNIONS! Raise the minimum wage? IT'LL COST JOBS and UNIONS-UNIONS-UNIONS! Make the rich pay their fair share in taxes? IT'LL SLOW THE ECONOMY! Support our President who was elected twice by a majority of American voters? HE'S A BLACK KENYAN MARXIST FASCIST ATHEIST COMMUNIST WHO'S SOFT ON GAYS ... AND DID WE MENTION, HE'S BLACK, HIS WIFE'S BLACK, HIS KIDS ARE BLACK AND HE OWNS A BLACK DOG?

March 20, 2014 at 8:09 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"I'm tired of our nation running -- and FDR, as a consummate liberal, is not one of my heroes."

I'm tired of our nation running, too, Mr. Chambers. Running from the bogus, imagined fears that you and your ilk keep trying to pump into Americans' psyche. And all the while the real fears of imperialism and our military-industrial complex, the stranglehold of corporate fascism, with our government of, by, and for the RICH keep growing and spreading its dark noxious cloud over the landscape.

FDR once commented that he welcomed the enmity of his conservative enemies. Too bad that we don't have a leader today who is as tenacious and principled as he was, willing to get his hands dirty and grapple with the likes of you greed-infected, self-absorbed regressives who just want to take us back to the days of the robber barons, when "individual freedom" amounted to freedom only if you were rich but anarchy and squalor for the masses.

March 20, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
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