Editor’s Note:  This article was written in May 2010  but its message continues to be relevant today…..

Regretfully, there’s a strong undercurrent of fear percolating in a vocal minority of Americans.  I don’t want to feed it, the media is already doing a good job of that, but I do want to acknowledge it so we can consciously make a higher choice.

The latest incident: Kentucky Senatorial candidate Rand Paul states that the Civil Right Act of 1964 was flawed in that it made it illegal for private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race.  When questioned yesterday on the Rachel Maddow show about his position, he tried to walk the line between saying he’s against discrimination but believing that a private business has the right to discriminate based on race.  He equated a restaurant owner having the freedom to choose to prevent guns in his restaurant with a restaurant owner denying service based on race.

Unlike the media pundits, I’m not going to claim I know what Rand Paul’s true beliefs are on this issue or his intent with his statements.  However, we’ve all seen that a politician who wants to get elected frequently tries to read the political tea leaves so as to position himself to appear favorable to the mood of the populace.  It certainly appears that Paul is doing this and it just might get him elected.

This event coupled with Arizona’s new immigration law and the so-called tea party people certainly points towards a lot of fear in parts of America.  Why is there so much fear?  Reasons put forth by others include: racial pushback against a black president, shifting demographics as whites move into the minority, the economic problems of the past few years, jobs moving to other countries, the never-ending wars, gay marriage and ecological disasters such as the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf.

I think we can all agree that Americans and all of humanity are in the midst of massive change.  Although change brings growth, it also brings fear.  One basic need we all have is for safety and security.  Meeting that need is threatened psychologically when we are moving from the known into the unknown.  A common response in facing the unknown is to retreat into clinging on to the old.

Much of the “take back my country” chants are driven by a psychological drive to retreat into the known of the past.  The political posturing of folks such as Paul are recognizing the motivations behind these chants and are using them for political advantage.

The question facing America is this: during this time of momentous change will our ultimate motivation be based on fear or on a higher purpose?

As we look to the future of humanity, what is it that we really really want to see?

Do we want to retreat into the past where we felt safe?  A past where whites were the majority, Spanish wasn’t spoken here, businesses could discriminate on race, gas was cheap, legitimate relationships were only between a man and a woman, we could continue to use natural resources up faster than the rest of the world and so on?  If we are truly being honest, then we know that this past wasn’t truly that great for many segments of humanity.  Is going back to the past really in our collective best interest?

I don’t know about you, but I know that rather than retreating into the past, I would rather move forward into a better future where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  I wish to live in a world where people are motivated by love rather than fear.  I wish to live in a world where we look beyond skin color and ethnicity and only see our common humanity.  I wish to live in a world where there is no need to build barriers between us because everyone everywhere has the opportunity to succeed.  I wish to live in a world where politicians no longer pander to our fears but rather inspire us to our highest possibilities.

Mark

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!