Fear is Personal and Real

Social media is abuzz with people dismissing fears expressed by others concerned with where the next Presidential regime will take the United States and how it will affect them. Protesters marching the streets of cities across the country are being characterized as babies, wimps, whiners, and sore losers.

The list of reported racist incidents after Trump’s victory continues to grow. Some of these incidents are probably not directly related, some may be manufactured or fictional, and some may be overblown. But, it’s a long list.

Nationwide Angst

An incident at an International Baccalaureate middle school in Michigan where, in the presence of adult supervisors, seventh grade children taunt their classmates with a “build the wall” chant. The event has been dismissed as simply “standard bullying” that has nothing to do with post election hubris.

An incident at Penn involving black students being targeted with racially charged messages and lynchings scheduled on their calendars is ignored and resolved by many as something that shouldn’t spark any fear.

The KKK is holding a parade to celebrate the results of this election, yet judgmental people snort and snicker at people of color expressing the fact that they are on edge and fearful for the safety of themselves and their families.

Latino people, concerned for their ongoing safety because anti Latino rhetoric hammered and applauded on a daily basis from the very first day of the Trump campaign is still ringing in their ears, are told to “suck it up, buttercup.”

People in and around the LGBT community are afraid, based on the history of the Vice President elect and his electroshock therapy to knock the gay out of affected brains and the inclusion of avowed anti-gay people such as Ken Blackwell to the Trump transition team. Yet, somehow, that’s scoffed at as unreasonable as the snicker snorterers say “Grow a pair!”

Strictly coincidence (Credit: CNN)

Strictly coincidence
(Credit: CNN)

Physically handicapped people are afraid of the character of a President that has mocked them publicly and how much consideration he will give to their issues.

Based on actual words spoken by the President-elect and his party, difficult to insure people are terrified their health insurance, now that they have finally been able to actually purchase said insurance, will disappear again and they will have to wonder when a serious health problem will destroy them and potentially their family.

People who believe climate change that is impacting the entire planet is a serious problem, not a Chinese plot, are afraid recent progress in the matter will be rolled back or eliminated entirely and irreversible damage could be done before the new administration leaves office. They’re being labeled hysterical kooks.

Yet, other fears are celebrated and waved about like flags.

Shoe On The Other Foot

Certainly, not all people dismissing the concerns of much of the electorate don’t ascribe to the following opinions. Surely, many do and there are enough of them to make the point valid.

Many of those same dismissive people justify their unwavering support of weapons in the home and their opposition to further gun regulation because they need to defend themselves and their homes from enemies. That’s fear, unfounded until somebody mounts an attack against your person or your home.

People that chant about building walls are fearful of the tide of people flooding over the southern border to take their jobs and benefits. How many of those people have been truly affected in a negative way by any illegal immigration problem?

People willing to undo a major tenet of the US Constitution by targeting and banning and even deporting people based solely on their religion are petrified with fear.

Steve Bannon, a key adviser to the Trump and reportedly in the running for Chief of Staff, displays his fear of all things Jewish by repeatedly publishing anti-Semitic drivel on his Breitbart website.

Yet, somehow, those fears are legitimate and any challenge to the validity of said fears will immediately raise hackles and invite a counterattack.

So What?

Fear is a personal experience. Belittling or dismissing anyone’s fears is childish, counterproductive, and guaranteed to elicit a defensive reaction.

Everybody has different fears, they’re all valid even if there’s no basis in fact. If fear wasn’t such an effective motivation, there would be no explanation for the last 18 months of campaign results. So, there should be no shock that fear remains in play.

This scenario is closely reminiscent of the 60’s when racial strife and attempts to resolve racially based social balances had the country on edge. People pointed fingers at each other based on nothing more than the color of their skin. All the time.

People had already taken sides privately, but the brightness of the new spotlight on racial issues often forced people to display the side they had chosen. Violent physical attacks weren’t uncommon, and blatant discrimination was the norm.

Our country has since made great and painful progress in reducing, if not resolving, some of those problems. But, it won’t take much to get back where we were fifty years ago environmentally, racially, and in many other ways.

While prompting a negative gut reaction from people may be the intended result of the disparaging comments, the long term result is to widen the gap of disagreement.

Once the initial shock of electing a wildly unqualified candidate wears off, protests and anger will begin to subside. Until that happens it would be a good thing to be conscious of other people’s feelings unless a permanent schism is what the goal is.

Detroit Free Press – Royal Oak students chant ‘build the wall’ 11/11/2016

Philly.com – Univ. of Okla. student suspended for ‘lynching’ hate texts sent to Penn black freshmen 11/12/2016

NY Daily News – North Carolina KKK group to hold ‘Victory Parade’ for President-elect Donald Trump 11/11/2016

The Times of Israel – Ex-Breitbart head accused of anti-Semitism mooted as top Trump aide 11/11/2016

BuzzFeed News – A Running List Of Reported Racist Incidents After Trumps Victory


  1. So to ask the question without sounding insensitive or disparaging. Is social media the place to express those fears? “Fear is a personal thing” so shouldn’t a personal fear stay personal?

    I don’t know what is going to happen after the transition. It could be really bad or maybe there’s some good that can come of this! But that’s just it, I don’t know! Until I can base my fears on reality, then I will continue to live one day at a time and deal with the fears I face today and wake up and face the next day’s fear.

    • Why shouldn’t people be free to express themselves however and wherever they wish? If you choose to hold your cards close to the vest, that’s your choice.

      Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my language “fear is a personal thing.” What that was meant to convey was that different people are afraid of different things. Some people are afraid of returning to an age where discrimination is accepted and empowered, other people are afraid of being overrun by a horde of illegal immigrants. Some may be afraid of both, it’s “personal”.

      However, the point of this post wasn’t regarding “proper places” to express feelings. It was about individuals being dismissive of people’s real fears while at the same time embracing their own fears, expressing them frequently, and using them to justify their decisions.