Awhile back my son was playing with a friend, who said to him, "if you don't let me play with that, I won't be your friend any more".
I recently read on a blog, "If marriage loses, our religious liberties are next".
I dislike fear mongering in any form. I've tried to teach my son to make choices because he wants to do what is right, based on accurate information, not because he feels threatened in some way. Yes, sharing toys is good, but it is inappropriate for a child to threaten friendship over a toy. How more inappropriate for an adult to use similar tactics. However noble (or not, I'm not commenting on marriage amendments today, I'm just using that as an example of fear mongering) the message, if an argument can't stand on it's own merit, it needs a little more work.
Too often we allow fear to determine our actions, fear prompts us to act hastily in situations where well planned decisions would serve us better. The iraq war is one good example, we as a country were lied to and led to believe that an attack on iraq would protect us, and that failure to act immediately would lead to more terrorist attacks. More recently, the concerns over the economy and the mortgage crisis had politicians telling us that a 700 billion dollar bail out was essential but we must act immediately. I don't currently see any benefit from that immediate action, other than my portion of the national debt just jumped. In both instances, we would have been better off to take a little more time, put a little more thought, and use a little more caution in gaining knowledge before committing to action.
Fear divides, knowledge and understanding unite and allow us to work together instead of breaking into "us" and "them". Sometimes I listen to Sean Hannity while I'm driving in the car (don't ask me why, I find him very divisive and rude) if people like Sean Hannity are successful, they pit people who have slightly different ideas against each other and make us forget that we are capable of working together. We spend so much time fighting each other, that we don't focus on really fixing the problem. Obi Wan Liberali at The Hornet's Nest said it well:
For fear is paralyzing. Fear causes one to search for scapegoats, not solutions. Fear can easily disintegrate into paranoia, finding enemies where they don't exist, and losing trust in allies you have a history with. And in the search for scapegoats that fear inspires, who knows what "them" are to wear that label? And pretty soon, we are again, the "Disunited States of America" where your standing as a citizen is subject to whether you fit within that "them" group or not.