Joetopia

Don’t be very afraid. Just don’t be afraid at all.

I’m tired of hearing the sky-is-falling refrains of people who’ve chosen to live their lives in fear.

Of all the differences among us, this is among the most stark, and the most damaging.

Not the gulf between Republicans and Democrats.

Not the chasm between religious and secular.

Not the gap between Dodgers and Giants.

OK, except maybe that last one. The Giants are a biblical plague of locusts feasting on the rightful championships of the Boys in Blue.

But back to fear.

That has become the great divider of our age.

If you can ever say there are two kinds of people, this seems to be a pretty suitable one: those who are afraid and those who aren’t.

Even worse is that those who are afraid are often afraid because they are being fed lies and untruths.

The trend is manifesting itself in all sorts of ways.

People think criminal hordes are going to beat down their door, so they buy 17 legalized assault rifles when one handgun will do. If it’s not criminal hordes, it’s President Barack Obama pursuing some fictional repeal of the Second Amendment.

The truth? They’re more likely to shoot themselves or a loved one than an intruder, and no president will ever try to kill the right to bear arms.

People think immigrants from Mexico are invading our country in a mass border jump of murderers and rapists, so they cheer along with Donald Trump and his nonsensical idea to build a 2,000-mile wall.

The truth? Some impoverished father is leaving his family to pick strawberries for your banana split.

People think pedophiles are going to dress up as women and walk into women’s restrooms to assault little girls, so they pass unenforceable, idiotic laws forcing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their biological sex.

The truth? Pedophiles could dress up as women and sneak into the ladies room as it is right now. And what sounds more disruptive? A transgender woman in the women’s restroom or a transgender woman in the men’s room?

People think any Muslim could be a terrorist, so no Muslims should be allowed into the country.

The truth? Some poor Syrian family from Aleppo has seen their city reduced to rubble and is willing to walk hundreds of miles to find a town in Europe where a bomb won’t fall on their heads. A handful may also come here. I think we can manage.

In each of these cases, fear of the other, of a remote external threat, of a mitigable risk is driving people to behave in uncharitable, inconsiderate and downright un-American ways.

Throw in the added ingredient of an over-the-top presidential campaign, and you have a petri dish of irrational behavior all wallowing in its own muck.

I would like to implore everyone to try your hardest not to succumb to fear, however it affects your life.

Try not to believe that the most likely thing is the worst-case scenario, because, honestly and logically, it really isn’t.

You can tolerate same-sex marriage even if it goes against your religion, because the union of two other people — however we label it — will harm neither you, nor society. Don’t be afraid of change.

You can tolerate a plain red Starbucks cup at Christmas without blowing a gasket, because never, ever will there be a shortage of Christian-oriented holiday cheer. Don’t be afraid of the trivial.

You can tolerate whoever ends up winning the White House, because no single person — and no single party either — can unravel the fabric of our democracy. Don’t be afraid for our long-lasting future.

Yes, bad things may happen along the way, but we will endure and thrive.

Of that, you should have no fear.

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