The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Columns

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.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • underwood mug [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Scott Underwood: Headlines can capture imagination I'd just left the newspaper office one morning and was driving north on Jackson Street, when I stopped at a red light and glanced at the rearview mirror.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charo Boyd: 'My Social Security' simplifies your life So many people buzz through extremely busy and complicated schedules these days. A smartphone in one hand, a computer in front of you, and a digital task list that never seems to end. In addition, to complicate things just a little more, there’s another event you need to add to your list — National Simplify Your Life week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Maureen Hayden: 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous.

    July 27, 2014

  • Vaughan, Nancy mug [Duplicate] Nancy Vaughan: Fireworks and fireflies mean summer in full swing Hasn't July been a fabulous month? It began with multiple fireworks venues and parades and ends with fairs and football in full swing. We have been blessed with mild weather and if you haven't had to travel much outside of the county, roadwork has been minimal.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ken de la Bastide: City unions go without contracts for many years How Anderson deals with unions has changed dramatically over the years. In the past it would have been unheard of for union members to continue to work without a contract or an agreed upon deadline. But members of three unions that represent Anderson city employees have been working without a new contract agreement for up to seven years.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jim Bailey: Traveling by passenger train was a page from the past My wife doesn’t remember riding on a full-fledged passenger train as a baby. Our children have never ridden. It’s an experience rapidly going the way of the horse and buggy and the stagecoach throughout a nation now obsessed with jumbo jets and sport-utility vehicles.

    July 26, 2014

  • Howard Hewitt: When it comes to wines, small can be very good Repeating the familiar is an easy way to go through life as is taking the safe road. We all do that but find unexpected rewards when taking the path less traveled. That little bit of philosophy applies to visiting wine country.

    July 26, 2014

  • Maleah Stringer: Hats off to the staff at Animal Protection League I often talk about the wonderful volunteers and community support we have at the Animal Protection League. And that volunteers are every non-profits "life blood" this is true for the Animal Protection League as well.

    July 26, 2014

  • Clark, Big Joe mug 'Big Joe' Clark: Beat the market or meet your goals? True or not, my experience tells me that goals – especially when written down – undoubtedly serve as catalysts for success. However, danger arises when a goal does not properly focus on the long term result you expect.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verna Davis: Seek peace by turning from evil and doing good There's something we all want: peace. World peace. Family peace. Personal peace. We yearn for peace, a feeling of freedom from commotion and antagonism, of harmony in our relationships, of lack of strife or dissension. What would we do to have peace in our lives?

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Parade
Magazine

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
Helium
Front page
Poll

Do you plan to attend one of the public sessions about the Mounds Lake reservoir project?

Yes
No
Not sure yet
     View Results