Column: Don't Let Fear-mongering Fostered By Bush Affect Your Life

This story was written by Greg Stowers, Indiana Statesman

Days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the world stood still, gripped with fear of the unknown days ahead. Our country mourned and was put on high alert for future acts of destruction, with no clear indication of when things would be normal again.We were a country unfairly manipulated by agents of fear. We filled our gas tanks and stocked up on groceries hoping the worst was over.

I understood sunny days would return, but I worried about a variety of issues centered on our own personal civil liberties. I imagined a society with soldiers ever-present at grocery stores and airports. The images of Middle Eastern war zones played in my head, and I began to think, "Is this where we're headed?" I refused to believe we had fallen so far.

A president can prompt the country to accept certain truths, but it takes the common person believing in this president to give these truths credibility. I think too often with this administration we have forgotten to hold government accountable, and it has gotten used to not legitimizing its actions.

The Bush administration has run this nation out of fear due to the added threat of terrorism, rather than with good policy ideas or great foreign relations. The Bush administration was given the chance to positively adapt to the changing world through a mix of understanding different cultures and simple conversations. They chose to scare Americans into believing in a doctrine which places little emphasis on diplomacy and a war which has stolen years from some of America's finest citizens.

After looking back on my American experience, I refuse to allow this to happen again.

I am still appalled by the audacity of this administration to govern out of fear, as if our lives were mere fairy tales pre-9/11. Images of the World Trade Center weren't the first time I had seen death and destruction.

At the age of five, I sat in my parent's living room and watched an acquittal of four officers involved in violence against Rodney King subsequently turn a Los Angeles upside down. I didn't understand why, yet all I could see were children my same age left without fathers due to handcuffs or guns because of reaction riots. Society replayed images of looters and thieves while the real issues were left in the dark.

I've read numerous obituaries of friends and still shake my head out of frustration. I've been to funerals and felt the pain of mothers who lost sons and daughters to senseless acts. So it's hard for me to understand what I should fear.

Though it sounds clich, I fear only God and marriage. God because I believe I am just a small piece of his plan, and marriage because I'm too young to limit my intellectual growth for one person.

If you read back throughthat list, you don't see global terrorism, the Axis of Evil or Osama Bin Laden.Obviously, I am not downplaying these issues, but I refuse to let them affect my daily life.

Though life for many Americans may seem to be making a turn for the worse, I still believe in the persistent and persevering attitudes which makes us the land of the free and home of the brave.