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Old FDR was on to something in March 1933. Eighty years later, fear itself drives American politics – and maybe is driving us into serious economic troubles.
 
Fear lies at the bottom of the mean streak in politics today. You see it in the Tea Party: “I’ve got mine; the hell with you.” You see it in ugly web comments: “I’m sorry you got cancer, but that’s not my problem.” There is the tendency to blame everyone in hard times for their situation.
 
But a discerning Democrat observed that this is natural reaction when people feel fearful about the economy and about their own situation. You want to protect your wallet and your savings and your money.
 
For five years now, we’ve been in scary economic times. And, over and over, we see Congress take us to a precipice beyond which lies…who knows what?
 
So people fret and worry: Will my IRA melt away? Will my pension be gone? Will I ever retire?
 
Now, with the daunting prospect of a debt default, they even worry: Will I get paid this week? Will my Social Security check be delayed? Will my Medicare be taken away?
 
When fear stalked America 80 years ago, FDR gave us the tonic of hope and optimism. Where is the political leader today who can help us rise above fear and see economic hope again?

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