Memories come and go, but important ones seem to stay with us for entirety. This writer can recall, so vividly, traumatic events from my early youth. At the age of five, I lived in a working class Brooklyn neighborhood made up of almost all white people. I was walking to the store one morning with my Mom, holding her hand as little boys do. As we turned the corner of Avenue P she suddenly tightened her grip and pulled me even closer to her. At that moment a man was approaching us… a black man, or as many whites would refer to him in polite terms, a ‘ Colored man’. As he went by us, my Mom then loosened her grip on my hand. No words were spoken between us, but I got the drift of it all. Later on that same year, our family stayed in a ‘ bungalow colony ‘ upstate N.Y. for the summer. Two incidents occurred to form a ‘ syllabus of fear’ for such a young boy. The first incident was when a wasp stung me on my ear lobe, causing a reaction that gave me convulsions. While this was happening my Mom and her mother screamed in fear that a purple ‘monster like ‘ change was occurring to my face. I thought I was going to die! Thank goodness that there was an MD on the grounds, and he gave me the injection and medicine needed. Finally, but not secondary to the power of fear, a few weeks later I fell off of a tree branch and hit my forehead on a rock. The cut allowed the blood to stream out and I ran looking for my Mom, feeling dizzy and full of fear. When I yelled for her outside of the bungalow where she was visiting with other women, my Mom came running out. Unfortunately for this writer, she never was able to touch me in any way. Instead, she had a hysterical fit while screaming ” He’s going to die! Oh my God he’s going to die!” One of the other ladies pushed her aside and attended to me. Psychiatrists would have a field day with any or all of the aforementioned anecdotes. For years I had this ‘uncertain’ feeling when a black man would walk towards me in the street. I still have this aversion to the sight of blood, especially my own. For years I shied away from any sighting of a wasp, even becoming a stalwart ‘ wasp killer ‘ when given the opportunity. Fear had turned into hatred.
Continuing on that important aspect of what fear can do to us, a look back at the late 50s and early 60s and the fear of the Russians is interesting. We baby boomers should remember the famous ‘ Duck and Cover ‘ of our elementary school days during that era. The Cold War was getting increasingly paranoid and it showed itself in how America reacted to this ( supposed) ‘ Soviet Communist treat’. Every so often our school would have these ‘ A Bomb drills’ for a better use of the phrase. The alarm bell would ring and our teachers had us get under our desks and cover our heads; or , later on, the entire school would march out and sit along the stone walls in the hallways. Then the alarm bell would sound again and it was over… until the next drill…or until the Russians really did attack. In the early 60s things had gotten so paranoid that a new found invention took hold throughout America: The Fall Out Shelter. These were concrete block shelters in the basements or right alongside a home where people could live until whatever fall-out from an A-Bomb attack by the Russians was over. This was all exacerbated when we had the ‘ Cuban Missile Crisis ‘ in October 1962. In my Brooklyn neighborhood during those thirteen days of fear our churches were filled with people attending ‘ Novenas ‘ to pray for peace. Many of us thought that it was only days before a full scale thermonuclear war. The Russians were hated as was any semblance of Communism. The fear had transcended into out and out hatred for an entire people ( Sound familiar?).
As is always the case, the mainstream media ‘whores itself’ to those in power. During the Cold War or during the convoluted and phony ‘ Iraq WMD crisis’ the mainstream press always danced to the government tune. Careers were made by those who ‘ danced ‘ the best. This writer always brings to mind a guy who was front and center , and believe it or not, he worked for a so called ‘ liberal ‘ news station, MSNBC. Lester Holt was like that ‘ Good German ‘ during the 1930s who reported all the **** the Nazi regime told him to. In this case Holt sat there and gave viewers the empire’s **** about our so called ‘ War with Iraq’. Watching him and his colleagues expressing almost glee as they reported on our carpet bombing destruction of Iraq and its citizenry sickened this writer’s stomach! It was a career making time for Holt and many others. For him, now 13 years later, an anchor position on NBC news and of course the moderator for NBC’s 2016 presidential debate. What a journalist! Presently, in addition to the new ‘ Cold War brew ‘ by the empire’s witches and it’s Dump Trump campaign ( for ALL the wrong reasons to want to dump this buffoon) the media has to keep playing the Fear Card as to our latest ‘ War on Terror’, which of course will NEVER end. The fear of the Muslim jihadists , whose population perhaps is in the tens of thousands out of a worldwide Muslim population of ONE Billion, is what drives this right wing engine of empire. Any rational person should surmise that if in fact we NEVER destroyed, invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, and destroyed Libya as well, the crazy ISIL would not even exist at this time!
Fear always translates into anger which can translate into violence. Thus, it can never strike out, only ‘ strike AT!’