Love is what binds us one to the other. The opposite of love is fear, which separates us from one another. These fundamental precepts form the foundation of human understanding. They make up the core of human relationships.
Love presents as empathy and compassion in our daily living. Fear presents as politics and economics. Politics pulls on our fear of others having power over us; economics pulls at our fear of want for the stuff that sustains our lives. Together they make a powerful social force that many of us have taken personally these past few months. There is so much fear among us, and it is stoked by those who would use it to gain power over us.
Yet throughout this year of crisis, we hear continuing stories of love, of people coming together to sustain each other. The healthcare industry protects us from this incipient virus. Protesters seek change to overcome social injustice. Forest firefighters put themselves between devastation and people’s lives.
Fear is not essentially bad. Politics and economics continue to address our fears. Conservatives fear that sudden change threatens our security. Liberals fear that change will not come soon enough for the most desperate. The tension between these two ends is what sustains American politics. Absolute victory of one side or the other breaks the system.
My appeal to all as we wend our way through 2021 is that we remember that the fear we seek to address through politics and economics must not override the love that binds us together as a people living in community. Whether you are conservative or liberal, remember that love always overcomes fear. When we meet in love, we will overcome our fear, and we will find sustaining solutions to our most pressing problems.
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin