Culture Rover

#29 - Shadow Boxing the Apocalypse

Fear Disguised as Toughness Is Cowardice: A Short Rant

Flipping through reactionary political talk show after show on cable TV, hosts rant and rave, swing wildly with their rhetoric of war and terror; it makes me realize that we're watching Americans express cowardice disguised as bravado.

Having taken a mighty blow on 9/11, these talk show hosts articulate what it feels like to reel from a powerful hit to the jaw. We were smacked on 9/11, regardless of political orientation. But the reactionary response is a foolish one for any fighter.

It advocates a desperate wheelhouse kind of response (invade unrelated countries, intimate the world through unilateral action) that leaves our guard down. It splits the body against itself through divisive domestic politics; the body's parts are jerked around in all directions.

We should stop being scared, stop listening to this cowardice, and start boxing smart. That means getting our civic body in top-shape, keeping our balance and poise, and fighting cleverly, sharply, fearlessly.

Beneath the "get tough" big punches of reactionary rhetoric, one detects a fearful terror. But maybe the way to defeat terrorism is to stop being terrorized, by anyone.

This is the story I'm waiting to be a part of, the words I'm waiting to hear: it's an old story that is waiting, now, in a new age, to become a new story: that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

18 November 2004

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