In my childhood, I shared a bedroom with my little brother. Every night, he blocked the sliding doors on the closet before going to bed so “the Bogeyman can’t come out at night and get me.”
All young children believe in bogeymen, be they lurking in closets, under beds, or in the dark basement. It breaks our hearts to see their fear, so we assure them bogeymen aren’t real and we will protect them.
As adults, too many of us still believe in bogeymen. Our leaders create them, distracting us from the real things we should be worried about and holding them accountable to fix.
Here are some examples from our current political rhetoric:
“Parents have to take back our schools because they’re teaching critical race theory.”
Actually, there isn’t a single public school teaching this theory. Almost no one can define it. Tucker Carlson recently admitted he couldn’t. What we are teaching is history – which includes all the good and the bad of our history.
“The COVID vaccine is either a government conspiracy to implant tracking devices or a drug company conspiracy to make money selling unnecessary vaccines.”
I get “my body, my choice,” but do you trust your doctor when you make your choice? If you don’t trust the FDA safety approval process, have you never taken medicine in your life?
“The Democrats will take away our guns.”
In the 28 years preceding the Biden administration, Presidents Clinton and Obama were in the White House for 16 of those years. You still have your guns. And the slaughter in our streets continues to escalate.
“Democrats are intent on implementing socialism and will destroy our country.”
Here’s some facts, and you can look them up. Under President Reagan, the national debt increased 186 percent. The first Bush president managed a 54 percent increase (in four years), and the second Bush president increased debt 101 percent. President Clinton increased the debt 32 percent during his eight years. These aren’t exactly the numbers that should threaten you to move to Canada whenever a Democrat is elected.
“We have to secure our borders because rapists and murderers and terrorists are coming in.”
Ask any employer if they would be willing to employ immigrants and asylum seekers who just want a job. I actually have family in Mexico, and whenever I visit I admire the work ethic and friendliness in the culture I experience.
Just like the fears of our children, it breaks my heart to see my adult community neighbors select our leaders based on such fears.
President Franklin Roosevelt, assuming office during the darkest time of the Great Depression, had this to say about such fear:
“The only thing we have to fear is … fear itself … nameless, unreasoning terror which paralyzes efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
He recognized this kind of fear is a poison which inhibits us to a life of despair and anger.
As we approach the date of the birth of Jesus, I’d encourage you to join me in refocusing on the antidote to this poison – something called “hope.”
We all choose how we process and understand our life experience. We can dwell on every setback we’ve experienced, or everything we don’t agree with (or don’t understand). This will make you a miserable, crabby person who essentially lives an unhappy and angry life.
Or we can look at the beauty and simple blessings in our life and be inspired by the noble things man does to help his fellow man … things that fill your heart with joy.
While you’re thinking about how you process your life experience, also consider making this same choice in how you select your leaders.
I don’t believe in any of the bogeymen I described above. My fears come when I think of people who go to bed hungry, people who suffer without access to medical care, working people who struggle to provide for their families, people who are pushed down by social injustice, mass shootings and a planet we are killing. These are the issues that scare me.
I am attracted to leaders that have ideas to kill these bogeymen, leaders who promote hope instead of fear. I’m a realist that knows such issues will never be eliminated, but the fight is noble and just.
Holding on to hope that we can do better is the foundation for the unquenchable happiness in my life and gives my life purpose.
Which path do you want to choose?