Based on the Fear Factor in the United States, I’m guessing that too many people are watching too much TV news and The Walking Dead.
Dealing with teenagers going through their AGE OF DISCOVERY (most all of it risky), parents are often heard to say, “Pay attention to your tone.” We all know that ‘tone’ is crucial in terms either turning up the heat or resolving conflict.
Too many of the TV news channels, play and replay scenes of conflict; too many reporters heighten viewers’ anxiety with their alarmist tone; and too many Congressmen have come from families where tone was never discussed.
We are bombarded with angry, alarmist, doom-laden tone. The bad news is bad enough without resorting to a panicky tone. It comes as no surprise that in the U.S. House of Representatives 289 members voted to block legislation relating to a Syrian refugee program. No one disagrees that we need a tough/tougher screening process, but showing compassion is falling through the cracks. It is important to stop sounding the alarm and get on with fighting the fire. Terrorism is now the number one issue on voters’ minds.
Not that we shouldn’t be watching the news. Not that we shouldn’t be concerned, but the shrill, acidic tone of the rhetoric sabotages civil discourse and puts everyone in a bunker mentality.
Closer to home, a mere 45 minutes away, we have the issues surrounding the proposed closing of Guantanamo Bay and possibly moving the prisoners to Super-Max – the Federal Prison in Florence, Colorado. Sarah Rose, reporting in the Canon City Daily Record, wrote that the Fremont County Commissioners were united against relocating Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Fremont County.
Commissioner Debbie Bell crafted the Commissioner’s letter to President Obama. Writing that the prisoners would not be “normal inmates,” she continued: “These individuals intensify the threat level to an unacceptable point because of the inherent dangers posed by their associates on the outside.” In addition, the commissioners were worried about the economic impact: “Our corner of the world already is known as ‘Prison Valley,’ and has suffered years of destructive publicity in many forms.”
Enough bad news? There’s more. How about the 170 people who were trapped in the Radisson Hotel in Mali? If that isn’t scary enough, you can stream Frontline programs that you may have missed. You have a number of choices: “Fighting ISIS May Pose Lose Lose Scenario”; CIA Head Revives Surveillance Debate”; or “ISIS in Afghanistan.” Or there is a great story on BBC about the fact that antibiotic resistance is out-stripping the development of new drugs. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151119-are-superbugs-deadlier.
I am not saying that we should put our heads in the sand or stock up on Twinkies to sustain us in the bunker. The issues are real. I would just like to lower the volume and moderate the tone of the debate. I hate to quote President Obama, because too many people think he is too accommodating, but speaking in the Philippines on Wednesday, he said, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descent into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.”
His tone was perfect.