Our New World May Make Us Fearful


I’ve been reading lots of reports of assault, spray painted swastikas, vandalism and hateful messages on commercial displays on Twitter. I’m actually more frightened now than I was yesterday.

Weirdly it makes me see how a reversal of the “city is dangerous” trope could happen. The countryside is much less policed; if someone decides they don’t like you at an isolated gas station or as you camp somewhere or whatever, you are screwed. And now people think they can do it with impunity. It would be easy to retreat in fear from going out into the American countryside, but that would be wrong.

I read an article yesterday about how a lot of “nice” people who voted for Trump did so because they live in a very limited environment. They never see the Other, so they are afraid of it. They never go outside their small community, so they see other places as scary and full of scary people. They are more likely to be racist and homophobic simply because they’re not exposed to anything but people like themselves. Studies have shown that it’s easier to think badly of people you don’t know and haven’t talked to.

It left me wondering if the answer to some of this is more circulation, more people moving into/through these places that no one visits, or some way to get these people out of their ruts. The coastal areas and the metropolitan areas get a lot more travelers coming through, a lot more variety of people settling there, so the people who live there are more comfortable with people unlike them. Is there some way we could unclog the arteries of familiarity?

Given that the country is just about to embark on a long slide toward more open-minded people being afraid to move outside their comfort zones, I think it’s likely this schism will get worse. And worse, until we have a Hunger Games view of the world on one side, and a Deliverance view of the world on the other.

We can’t let fear stop us from being a united nation who takes care of itself. There must be some way to break the stalemate.

I have no answers to this, but it feels there must be some way we can break down this mutual avoidance. Any ideas?

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