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The Amerikan nightmare

E pluribus unum.

Or …

Divide and conquer.

Can’t have it both ways. We cannot be America and Amerika at the same time. But that of course is what we’re trying to do.

We proudly wave our flag of unity and inclusiveness and boldly sing of the American dream while declining to actually live it. The fifty stars might as well be asterisks, explaining in fine print that certain seekers of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness need not apply.

Fear has won, as it almost always does at first. The sanctuary is closed. Locked up. When was the last time you found the doors of a church open in the middle of the night? Before our time I think. Long, long ago.

Let us stipulate that all the threats we perceive are real and that our wariness is warranted and valid. This allows us to be alert and attentive. But it does not confer the right to simply shoot at every threat or insist on wearing our wariness as impenetrable armor.

And it most certainly does not permit us to define those threats by ascribing them to any particular segment of our society. Are all priests child molesters? Are all gun owners killers? Are we all that afraid?

It would simplify our response if all threats looked alike. Then we could isolate and eliminate them and fear would be beaten. This approach has been tried, many times, and has always failed.

Should your surgeon remove every discolored dot on your skin or just the cancerous ones?

Knowledge is the only antidote for the poison of fear. And thankfully, it is readily available - over the counter, if you like - and can be taken in any quantity without the risk of overdosing. Its only cost is curiosity and patience. You will find it wherever you look for it, but it is up to you to conduct the search. Good luck and good hunting.

Author’s note: While the current discussion of sanctuary cities is occurring at the state and national level, the fact is that it is a city-level issue, and begins close to home as neighbors greet each other, keep an eye out for trouble, and form the most basic unit of government: the neighborhood.

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