Here’s a quick pop quiz.  For each of the following, choose which of the pair of answers comes closest to how you feel:

One:  You would rather the United States: (A) build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep immigrants from coming into our country, or (B) work to support raising the standard of living in Mexico so that there is no need for immigrants to come to the US?

Two:  You would rather the United States: (A) expand the size and cost of the US military to better fight and destroy terrorists, or (B) keep our military at its current high level of strength but expand our humanitarian efforts around the world to raise the standard of living for those living in poverty?

Three: You would rather the United States: (A) eliminate government regulations on business so they are free to operate unencumbered, or (B) legislate and enforce regulations that require businesses to operate so as to protect our environment and pay workers a true living wage?

Four: You would rather the United States: (A) continue to allow businesses to spend unlimited money in support of political issues and candidates, or (B) repeal the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and reform campaign finance to reduce the role of money in politics?

Yes, I know that you can always “argue with” forced choice types of questions as not providing you the option you truly believe is “correct”….but beyond that point, which answers did you have more of?  A’s or B’s? In my opinion, the A choices are more than likely coming from a sense of fear while the B choices were more “love based”.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself?

As I recently discussed as part of the series of articles on Donald Trump, when we believe that the successful fulfilling of our needs is being threatened, it is natural to regress to a state of fear.  When we are living in fear, we tend to move towards “separation thinking”.  There is “the other” and there is “me and my group”….and we are in competition for limited resources.  We see life in black and white “survival of the fittest” kinds of ways.  We demonize and attack “the other” to ensure our “survival”. We go to any means necessary to ensure we “win”.

On the other hand, when we feel safe and confident that our needs are securely met, then we are called to a state of greater care and concern for others.  We move to a place of seeing and recognizing how everything and everyone is connected.  We see the people of the world as our “brothers and sisters” and we expand our love to include more.  Our sense of “the other” shrinks as “our group” expands to include everyone.

Our fear of the other keeps us from moving towards our love of all.

Who is Your “Other”?

Let’s return to our pop quiz questions.

If you are living in fear, then you want to separate yourself from those “immigrants who are coming illegally into our country”.  They become somehow “less than you”, someone to be stopped, someone to be punished.  If you are living in love, then you see that they are people with desires and needs just like you.  You recognize that they want jobs and safe homes, to be able to provide for their families, to have the opportunity to succeed. Love says that you should seek to lift them up, not wall them out.

If you are living in fear, then you want to continue to grow and grow and grow your military protection such that you could never ever be possibly threatened by some scary “other”.  If you are living in love, then although you certainly want to be safe, you recognize that our military already protects us but what is needed now is something more, a new approach to security.  Violence begets violence. If we want to see and experience a world of love, then we should remember that love begets love. Love tells us that the more we uplift people out of poverty and show our care and concern for them as fellow humans, the more we will grow mutual care and concern….and that will birth a true and lasting security.

If you are living in fear, then the more you want your business to succeed even if it is at the expense of others or humanity or the planet in general.  Your fear has convinced you of such myths as the so-called “free market”, that government is “the problem”, that “corporations are people”, that “money is speech” and that the commons are there for the free taking.  These beliefs feed your desire to allow businesses to operate in ways that their success is more important that the safety, security and success of others.  If you are living in love, then you recognize that government is simply the people acting together for the greater good of all people, that appropriate government regulations can ensure the safety and security for all who might otherwise be threatened by unencumbered greed.  If you are living in love, then you want all people (not corporations) to be represented by their government equally and fairly.

You Are at Choice

Every day you are at choice.  You are at choice in your political decisions.  You are at choice in how you choose to see yourself in relation to every other person on this planet.  You are at choice in every interaction with every other person.

You can choose to see yourself in competition with others.  You can see yourself fighting for limited resources.  You can see our collective human enterprise of government as a barrier to your freedom to act without regard to the needs of others.  You can live in continuous fear of “the other”.

Or, you can choose to see yourself living in a world of cooperation with others.  You can see yourself sharing wisely the resources of the world with others, knowing that wisely used there is enough for all. You can recognize government as simply a way of ensuring that the voices of all are heard and that the needs of all are recognized and supported.  You can live in continuous love where there really is no “other”.

The choice is yours.

Mark Gilbert


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