Fear Is the Enemy

The real risk is not the random acts of terrorism, horrible as they are, but our response to them -- the rise and election of a Trump would end leaving us with a world that is far more dangerous.
03/22/2016 11:25 am ET Updated Mar 23, 2017
Women speak to soldiers as they block the access to road close to Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 22, 2016 after
Women speak to soldiers as they block the access to road close to Maalbeek metro station in Brussels on March 22, 2016 after a series of apparently coordinated explosions ripped through Brussels airport and a metro train, killing at least 14 people in the airport and 20 people in the metro in the latest attacks to target Europe. Security was tightened across the jittery continent and transport links paralysed after the bombings that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel branded 'blind, violent and cowardly'. / AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest horrible bombings in Brussels are a tragedy and a test. It is meant by the jihadists to enhance fear and bring about the election of a Trump and other right-wing forces throughout the world -- thus making it a worldwide religious war against radical Islam. If fear lets us fall into this trap we have nothing but repression and bloodshed ahead. The dystopian Trumpian world of walls and thugs knocking down doors in the middle of the night -- for the innocent as well as the suspects -- is what awaits us.

Life is always fragile and humankind has always been an endangered species -- but we have survived by being smarter than the bad weather and the bad leaders who come every generation. It was so in our own Civil War, WW1 and WW2, and we have often lost our way in the name of security -- internment camps for the Japanese, alien and sedition acts, McCarthy vs freedom of thought, and, in Europe, the gulags of the Soviets, the camps of the Nazis, and all of it starts to the tune of terrorism; the list goes on.

The real risk is not the random acts of terrorism, horrible as they are, but our response to them -- the rise and election of a Trump would end leaving us with a world that is far more dangerous. Yes, there are bad people who kill innocents and we have trained, capable men and women to deal with them and their threats. There is no 100-percent safety in life -- even if the terrorists never existed -- but when we respond to them by electing other bad people who will kill innocents, we have lost our way. Just as terrorists cannot be allowed to win neither can false messiahs and self-appointed crusaders.