The breath you are taking this very moment may be your last, and sadly, the last moments of your life may be spent in fear.

Fear can distort reality and bring out the worst in people who otherwise would be kind, compassionate and honorable. The antidote to fear is the reality of the present moment, which is based on a dynamic perspective, forged by knowledge and molded by reason, logic and a solid moral compass.

Today’s American political climate has overwhelmed the public with a distorted sense of reality. The purpose is to advance political agendas. Fear is the marketing tool.

Moderation and civility have been replaced by extremism and disrespect. Decorum and good manners, required for effective communication, have been lost. Rudeness is confused with wit. To be truthful and honest, there is no need to be offensive. Lack of compassion and consideration are worn as honor badges. All these behaviors are indicators of a growing fear pandemic.

American fear grows to the chant of “Make America great again.” Our children are being exposed to and emulating behaviors that, until now, have been rejected by civilization. Where class used to be defined by the way we presented and treated ourselves and others, now it’s an economic measure.

George Washington may be rolling in his grave for many reasons, but the lack of civility among politicians and those who brought them to power tops the list. By age 16, Washington had copied out by hand “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Most of these rules are no longer applicable, but they reflect the small sacrifices that we should be making when living with others within a civil society.

Nothing anyone can do will change the past. We can’t let the uncertainty of the future rob us of the present moment, which is all we have. Ebola, the Islamic State, the Syrian refugee crisis and the North Korea leader’s insanity are threats, but, when taken in the proper perspective, their effect on our daily lives is diminished.

In a hurricane- or earthquake-prone zone, there is always the possibility of impact. The best response is to be prepared, while not relinquishing kindness, our lifestyle and happiness to the anxiety and suffering reserved for situations of imminent danger. Henny Penny yelling “the sky is falling” is seldom beneficial in any situation.

Giving in to unwarranted fear is wasteful. “Keep calm and carry on” is always a commendable attitude. Life is neither bad nor good. Life is simply life. Our perspective determines our happiness. Being kind and educated, practicing critical thinking, keeping a strong moral compass and staying real are essential to world peace.

Angie Lamoli Silvestry

housewife

New Orleans