Fear is the mind killer, Frank Herbert wrote. However, fear is but half the equation of domination. The second half is hopelessness.
We saw, clearly demonstrated in the early years of this century, the ease with which fear and hopelessness saturates freedom.
The insane activities of a single man ignited another's drive for revenge, which bled into the thoughts of the people. Led by his fanatic need for retribution millions clamored around his cause, feeding on the fear he stoked to maintain the frenzy of the innocent.
The fervor rose in pitch until it permeated society through the multiple channels of media driven by online faces and spaces, bloggers, and cable network news. Discussions removed from civility, evolved into catastrophic verbal brawls and occasional physical confrontation.
The death of innocents, once a rare horror viewed with complete disbelief, became commonplace as parents killed not only each other, but also their entire families without cause it seemed, or any form of justification beyond that of fear and hopelessness.
As if this was not sufficient to satisfy, leaders twisted by the quest for apocalypse targeted the welfare of the less fortunate in contradiction to their religious teacher's words. Then, they flooded other lands with the quagmire of their venomous hatred of common decency.
Spiraling in the frenzy of fear's hatred, their followers attacked any person or idea they now believed with the conviction of the insane, affronted the concepts they allegedly upheld.
The welfare and health of all citizens no longer stood as a moral foundation of freedom, but instead, according to the few leaders now on platforms of greed and personal desire for fame, undermined the principles that so many combat heroes sacrificed lives and futures to create more than two centuries earlier and since.
Solutions no longer seem to exist, excluding the most radical, which dissect the diseased remains of a nation once held in the highest esteem by all others. When finished, discard, or allow secession to root out those leaders who will call their followers to lemming-like retreats on the rock-strewn shores of religious persecution.
Those leaders, thinking themselves elite aristocrats, noblemen, and princes, will gather armies to corral and control their followers once those drones declare their error and plead with outsiders for humane retreat.
Of course, there are alternatives, but none with fear and hopelessness interwoven through the fabric of order.
Acceptance and hope, like that which created democracy from the ashes of monarchy, and the voices of men and women who understand and uphold equality and morality are what is needed now.
Yet, I now wonder if this society can be rescued from the damage severing the arteries of peaceful dialogue. A few men with wealth and power created a tidal wave, and like any tsunami, the waters of misunderstanding mindlessly roil and churn, swallowing the good and evil together.
I am afraid that the future holds only division, since the two sides now represented in town hall meetings do not care to find common ground. Each seeks the higher level, the path most walked on rather than the trail trod by those who listen to the beat of a distant, and it seems forgotten drummer. As they do, the least among us die and starve, which is the ultimate demise of democracy and freedom.