via Merriam-Webster: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.


I believe that's the big difference between those that identify as conservative versus those that identify as liberal. Sure, they dress it all up in ideologies about less government and Christian values, but at the base of it is fear.

Why do they need guns? To protect themselves from some nebulous threat. Why are they against gay marriage? Because the gays are going to get them.

Why are they against letting refugees in? Because they are afraid.

Foreigners are different. Weird. They speak different languages. They look different. They eat gross stuff. They have bizarre habits.

And if we let them in to our communities, they're going to take away the familiar things that give us comfort.

They don't learn English, so we can't understand them. And that group over there? They're talking about me. I know it!

They claim their fear is reasonable. These foreigners could be terrorists. You may explain that the large majority of jihadist terrorists in the United States have been American citizens or legal residents, but they're not going to believe you. They already fear those that are different. All their worst fears are going to be ascribed to the "different".

The best way to combat that fear is to interact with those that are different. On a one to one basis, the foreigner isn't so different from us. Not in fundamentals. We're all human beings with human concerns.

But you can't force the issue. People who are afraid can lash out in anger. And violence. Violence is the act of someone who is truly, profoundly afraid.

Xenophobia is a symptom of the larger problem. People are afraid and they're blaming "the other". And they've let their fear pollute our nation.

How do we fix this?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


  1. I wish there was a solution for "fearing the other". My fear is that xenophobia is a component of human nature, and as such, it can only be controlled and not eliminated. In times of great stress (like now), the fear pops right out again. The Unknown Journey ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

    1. Good point about "times of great stress". So true. Hopefully many of the protections that were in place will hold.

  2. I'm not sure how fear can be "fixed" especially when you have a fearful leader. :(

    1. Perhaps "fixed" is the wrong word. Perhaps "managed" would be better. Good point.


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