If we are afraid, are we free? I appreciate Chris Martin’s response to my letter about guns and fear. It reflects two fears that are common to many of us: the fear that we are helpless if people in the government don’t share or even represent our views, and the fear that care of something as personal as our own eyes is out of our control and is going to cost us more money than we feel we have.
With regard to the latter, ever since I lived for a few years in a country that has universal health care, I have supported it for us in the U.S. as strongly as I know how. How can any of us feel free if we know that a sudden illness or accident or any kind of deteriorating health for us or anyone we are responsible for could mean bankruptcy, debt for life, whatever? If we were all willing to pay a little more in taxes, ALL of us could be free of that fear. It’s complicated, of course, but other countries have worked it out, so I think we can, too, if we really believe that all of us are ultimately one and any individual’s hardship is ultimately going to affect us all.
With regard to seemingly out-of-control government – local, national, global – isn’t that what we have words and brains and hearts for? I have no faith in yelling and screaming and guns, but I have a lot of faith in people, especially when they reach out and are willing to discuss their views, ask for help, work together, and this is supposed to be a democracy, after all. It’s so easy to be blinded by the fear of losing our own stuff and way of life and not realize that EVERYONE feels that way.
So let’s talk a lot; let’s even go out of our way to talk with people we may well disagree with. Let’s tell our commissioners as many times as it takes and as many ways as we can think of together that the Legacy development is not what we want and is not good for the Valley. Let’s open our minds and really learn about issues like universal health care instead of accepting whatever sound-bites the media feed us. Looking closely, we may find that we are always hamstrung by putting money above every other value – trying to make more, trying to avoid sharing what we have because of the fear that then we won’t have enough for ourselves. “Enough” is a really flexible concept, especially if we’re willing to share and be shared with.
So no, I don’t think we can be free as individuals or as a community or a country as long as we’re afraid. Sometimes people equate freedom with independence; I think there can be much more freedom in open and caring interdependence.