Preying on our fears

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To the Editor:

I saw a video (Google “armed Trump supporters”) recently of two armed Trump supporters who spent about 12 hours “protesting” outside the campaign headquarters of Jane Dittmar, the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 5th District.

Under Virginia law it is legal to openly carry firearms, and show them to anyone you want. They were exercising both their First and Second Amendment constitutional rights, and they even had a copy of the Constitution to show off, along with their guns, in case anyone had any questions.

A portion of the video shows one of the men talking about why he was there.

One of the things he said was, “The only threat is ignorance, and ignorance will breed fear.”

He’s got that one right. Yee-ha. At last, I have found something to agree on with a Trump supporter.

Ignorance, especially as it pertains to this election cycle, has indeed bred fear: fear of Mexicans; fear of Muslims; fear of Syrian refugees, or any refugees for that matter; fear of immigration in general; fear of Iran; fear of black, brown, yellow, or red people; fear of gay, transgender, bisexual, and “godless” people; fear that it will become illegal to say “Merry Christmas” and that the United States government will impose sharia law; fear of people who want to protect the planet from climate change; fear that China, India, and Mexico will take all our jobs; fear of people getting decent health care who “don’t deserve it”; fear that children of “illegals” will eat a decent lunch at taxpayer expense; fear of the government taking our money, our guns, and our rights; fear of liberals (especially liberal Supreme Court justices), the “liberal media” and rigged elections; and most importantly, fear of Hillary Clinton.

When I think about all the fear that the Republican Party, and particularly its presidential nominee, has inundated us with during this campaign, and how many conservatives choose to remain willfully ignorant of the actual facts and statistics, I am very happy to be a liberal.

I know that knowledge and understanding will “trump” ignorance and fear every time. It is sad for me to see so many of my fellow citizens ignore the astronomical number of incredibly crass, rude, immoral, illegal, untrue, ignorant, hurtful, and just plain thuggish things that the standard-bearer of the Republican Party has said and/or done. He should have been laughed out of the race the day after his announcement to run, but fear and ignorance have brought him within striking distance of the Oval Office.

That is truly something to fear.

I do have one fear about all of this. That is that after the election, the descent into madness that has dominated this campaign will continue. The very fabric of our society, built on the premise that all men are created equal, that we are all governed by rule of law, and we are all free to choose our own path to happiness, is in jeopardy because of the fear and ignorance that is insidiously permeating our society.

Donald Keller

Vineyard Haven