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Letter: Americans must not be enslaved to fear

Americans must not be enslaved to fear

In a curious recall of Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 speech, “A House Divided,” the New York Times recently published a Gallup poll citing 51 percent of Americans fear a terrorist attack on themselves or their loved ones.

It’s time then to remind ourselves that early in the Great Depression we were encouraged by the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself … unreasoning, unjustified terror.” So when today’s presidential candidates offer the world terror in the form of “carpet bombing people into oblivion” and making the “sand glow in the dark” (Ted Cruz) America’s image is tarnished, defiled and open to mockery.

FDR at the start of World War II presented our nation as the world’s guarantor of four freedoms: speech, worship, freedom from want and fear. When our politicians preach fear and hatred and vie for military aggression against even those who fight our enemies, we forfeit that right to be the preserver of the world’s peace and security.

In our fear of terrorists (chances of Americans succumbing to terrorism are something like 1 in a million) we trounce upon the spirit of Lincoln’s leadership. True Americans value freedom for humanity, and they will never be enslaved to fear because they are able to show a charity that includes even their enemies.

Ray Peterson