If you know anything about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, you know the rest of the quote.
During a recent Chattanooga radio show, hosts and listeners talked about what modern Americans fear. Among the answers: taking risks (physical or otherwise), being quoted by the press when one sees wrong and fears retribution, a fear of masculinity by men (the feminizing of America), and the fear of being sued by legions of attorneys for any perceived offense.
All good points, but let us add to the list:
• Fear of "affordable health care" that is neither affordable to most nor good medicine for many; and fear of a redistributionist scheme that will literally endanger health, lives and the economy. Arguably, the ACA has caused the end of thousands of jobs beyond 29 hours. (I have experienced the latter personally.)
• Fear by employers of not only "health care" but also ever-expanding government regulations that continue to grind our economy to a halt. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we average a new regulation about every three hours; by some estimates, 10 percent of America's GDP is currently consumed by regulations.
• Fear of President Obama's "pen and telephone" attitude that makes a mockery of the rule of law, the Constitution, and the separation of powers. In a related bittersweet moment of humor, Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., is now concerned over perceived monitoring of the Senate by the CIA. Ironically, she supported the NSA monitoring of fellow Americans' emails, calls and finances; but now she whines when her own activities may have been accessed. She apparently believes she enjoys a separation of laws and powers above the rest of us.
• Fear of the taxman, and any political activity that could be used by the IRS as a club to squelch dissent -- spoken, written, or otherwise.
• Fear of political correctness, where the press fears the total truth and avoids the discussions we must have in any story. Was a government monitor on hand when the Associated Press ruled out the use of "illegal immigrant" (a correct term -- laws broken, not a native-born entering the country)? Nope.
Does the media report how the "record" number of deportations includes skewered numbers because "turn backs" (not formal deportations) at the border are now counted for the first time? Nope.
Was it fear of "offending," as one local reporter once told me years ago, the now politically correct "undocumented worker"? They admitted no interest in including opinions from an immigration critic for that very reason.
A local television news executive told me 10 years ago race was not only unimportant to a story but could not be mentioned. The story was a request by Chattanooga police to "be on the lookout for" a violent perpetrator, but no full description could be given to aid viewers and police.
Perhaps the trail of fear is a long one.
Fear is the iron filings thrown into the gears of any individual, family, friendship, society, economy, press, representative government, freedom or faith. It is a devious and grinding paralysis that must be resisted, cleaned, oiled and exercised by open discussion, debate and vigilance by all parties.
It has been said fear causes the flight vs. fight syndrome -- either run or face your demon head-on. Sometimes flight is indeed the answer, and retreat can be the better part of valor -- but constant avoidance of all things uncomfortable kills the spirit.
I'm tired of our nation running -- and FDR, as a consummate liberal, is not one of my heroes.
But he got this one right.
Mike Chambers, a former Chattanooga broadcaster and reporter, lives on Lookout Mountain.