The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update


April 16, 2013

Primus Mootry: Why Americans are running scared

Americans are running scared. There is a small, but growing group of us called “preppers” who are turning our homes into fortresses or building bunkers in our backyard in preparation for natural disasters, social upheaval, or Armageddon. People are buying assault weapons as fast as they can. Hate groups are proliferating. Our lives are being changed, and in fundamental, scary ways.

There are at least two main reasons why this period of change is so frightening. First, we are powerless to reverse many of the changes we face. Second, through media and information technologies, we are more aware of the threats. To this latter point, ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be fatal. We’re scared.  

Here are a few examples of the fundamental changes I’m talking about, and why they frighten us so. These examples include changes in family structure, school, denominational religious practices (church), work, food consumption, leisure, sexual mores (behaviors that reflect cultural norms and values), and national security.

This list easily could be lengthened to include such threats as climate change, energy production and sustainability challenges, widening income gaps, political and governmental dysfunction, the immigration impasse, the emergence of new, untreatable illnesses, and other stuff. But I’m not trying to write a book here, and you are not inclined to read one this morning. So here goes:

Family — for the first time in hundreds of years, no matter what size, the nuclear family (a married mom, dad, and their children) is no longer the norm in American society. A 2010 Time magazine article on the subject said “today, the nuclear family has been largely nuked.” As the basic unit of “community,” when families fracture, so too must the nature of community.

School — I have often written about the plight of America’s public schools. For the purposes of this article, however, I simply note that the disappearance of neighborhood public schools is directly related to changes in definitions of “family” and “community.” Neighborhood schools are not needed where, as noted in the Time article I mentioned, “the modern family is all over the place.”

Religion — a recent Huffington Post article reported some interesting findings about Americans and religion. In a nutshell, “the number of Americans who claim to have no religious affiliation is the highest it has been since the 1930s.” Specifically, a third of U.S. adults under the age of 30 don’t identify with [any organized] religion” at all.

Work — I’ll just say, if you are waiting for the equivalent of General Motors to come to Anderson, good luck with that. What you and I both know is that technology and globalization have changed Anderson’s — and the nation’s — places of work and worker qualifications forever.

Food — we know this, too. Our food and water supplies are either contaminated or dwindling.  Although there may be corrective actions, taking such actions inevitably stirs resistance from some organized interest group. (That’s how pizza got defined by the government as a vegetable.) So, mostly, we shut up, eat our Fatburgers, and buy our water in bottles.

Leisure — changes in the workforce, including increasing numbers of unemployed adults and teens, means more and more Americans will have “leisure” time on their hands. This is no small thing.  American cities should be as concerned about this as they are (pretend to be?) about schools and work. Idle people can do idiotic things.

Sexual mores — the current public discourse about DOMA, same-sex marriage, and related issues, is interesting, and useless. I believe all 50 of our states will cave in to the reality that same-sex relationships deserve the same respect and protections as heterosexual ones. It’s just a matter of time.

National security — North Korea threatening the United States is like an ant crawling up an elephant’s leg with rape in its mind. Still, the mention of nukes scares us, as well it should.  For the first time in the history of mankind, men, with their own devices of war, can wipe out all mankind.

Finally, as some might think, this is not just so much whining. The threats are real, urgent and, one way or another, interconnected. There is nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide.

The issue is whether or not we, at the local level, have the courage to change whatever we can, hang on to hope, and give ourselves and our children a better shot at a brighter future.

Have a nice day.

Anderson resident Primus Mootry is a retired school teacher. His column appears Wednesdays in The Herald Bulletin.

Text Only
  • Hamilton, Lee [Duplicate] Lee Hamilton: Government as innovator? You bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Bailey: Figuring out how to have the good in life without the bad Most of us have had those faith-shaking episodes in our lives. The tragic episodes that leave us wondering what life is all about.

    April 24, 2014

  • OPN - Mootry column mug [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Primus Mootry: There is a poet in each of us April is National Poetry Month. Throughout the country, colleges and universities, elementary and secondary schools, libraries and various publications have hosted poetry readings or featured unpublished poets.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • underwood mug [Duplicate] Scott Underwood: Nightmares from high school proms past I wore a salmon-colored tuxedo with a cummerbund and tails to my senior prom. I was 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds. A beanpole.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hayden, Maureen mug Maureen Hayden: Judge in gay marriage decision no activist

    When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn’t resonate with those who know Young well.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd mug [Duplicate] Charo Boyd: Social Security goes green on Earth Day and every day For years, Social Security has been at the forefront of offering convenient, easy-to-use, and secure online services. We, along with those we serve, have saved a lot of paper, shipping costs, and fuel — and cut back on a lot of carbon exhaust and pollution — by going online instead of doing things the old-fashioned, less efficient way.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Kean: Can we have a 'A New State of Mind?' I have recently read some great articles about people coming together to make a difference in the lives of children facing food insecurity. The collective effort of a group can provide some much-needed food to kids who may not have a meal when they return home from school or during the weekend.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPL - PT041014 - Ken de la Bastide column - Ken sig Ken de la Bastide: County may eliminate Data Processing Board

    Action two weeks ago by the Madison County commissioners to close Data Processing Board meetings to the public might run afoul of the Indiana Open Door law, and a local resident is considering filing a complaint with the Public Access Counselor’s office for a determination.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Timmons, Theresa mug Theresa Timmons: Dinosaurs run amok at mamaw's house I love my new job as a grandparent. It includes playing imaginary tennis with imaginary tennis rackets, making elaborate tents in the living room, and hair-pulling.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stringer, Maleah mug Maleah Stringer: Volunteers needed to spend time with shelter animals Shelters can be extremely stressful places for many animals, particularly those who have been in a loving home. This is why we want people to come into the shelter and spend time with our animals — to help keep them adoptable so that when the right person comes along they are ready.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Front page

How bad is the child abuse and neglect problem in Madison County?

Very bad
Not that bad
Not sure
     View Results