Since I decided to blog about courage in its myriad forms, it seems like people everywhere are talking about eschewing fear or having more courage. A friend of mine’s New Year’s resolution was “No fear!” and the columnist Maria Hinojosa wrote a stirring essay about how the country needs to move away from the fear inspired by the September 11 attacks. CNN recently ran an article about how to be a risk taker, claiming we have plenty of opportunities to act courageously every day.
It’s as if the urge to be more courageous has become part of the cultural zeitgeist. Courage is in the air. I don’t know where I go with that, other to suggest it may be a backlash against a culture of fear that has prevailed not, as many think, since the events of September 11, 2001, but since we realized that there is no easy win against terrorists. Invading nation-states doesn’t stop terrorism; it may even foster it. Regulations on liquids in carry-on bags, the Patriot Act’s infringement on civil liberties, the expulsion or demonization of immigrants, the incarcerations at Guantanamo Bay . . . none of that guarantees our safety. We are vulnerable.
The sluggish economy highlights our vulnerability, as do prices at the gas pumps, joblessness, and an election season that makes it look like we’re searching more for a savior and miracle worker than a president.
I suspect that the new emphasis on courage is our coming to terms with that vulnerability, our making a decision as a culture to go on living and working and loving, to fly, and attend Super Bowls and NASCAR races, and shop at malls. Even though most of what I talk about on this blog are the small, individual choices that add up to courage, I’m encouraged by what seems like a larger commitment to courage.
Have you heard or talked about or observed more courage recently? Or am I falling victim to wishful thinking?