I could not write Reading for Leading last night. Maybe it was just how upsetting that debate was. An AMERICAN presidential candidate called their opponent “the devil.” And said if he were president, “she would be in jail.” That is frightening.
I have fearful deep emotional impulses about my great tribe, a.k.a., Americans.
But I am not afraid. I feel fear. I choose something different. What do you choose?
I think I feel fear the most, because there is fear running throughout the tribe like a virus!
The middle class and lower class are afraid that the American tribe (with its ruling and “lying” elites) is no longer committed to the American dream for all.
Trump supporters – many white, many non-college educated – are afraid they are losing America.
Evangelicals are afraid America’s losing her guiding morals and faith.
Muslims, Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, LGBTQ people, women are afraid that they are not safe in Trump’s America. (Trump does not “get” how terrifying sexual predation is.)
Millions are afraid that America is “under attack” – from terrorism, illegal immigration, China, Russia.
Many are so afraid that they cling to their guns as their last defense.
The fundamental truth about this election is that nearly everything flows from fear.
Fear is literally stupid. When we ARE fear (rather than aware of fear), we can only access the blunt tools of fight, flight or freeze. Trump fights. Hilary seems also to act out of fear: fighting at times but also fleeing into her cocoon. What’s your natural instinct when you are threatened? We all have them.
We can, though, recognize fear, see that we have problems, real problems, and then choose finer tools with which to ENGAGE with the issues and each other. For example, tools like patience, civility, faith, and reason.
I couldn’t finish my writing last night. I froze, because I was afraid my tribe (you, the readers) would not approve of what I was writing. I will trust you next week and send what I finished today. I’ll engage rather than freeze or flee.
it is through courageous engagement with those people and ideas which generate fear in us, that we
Lead with our best selves.