As a little boy, I always dreaded when it was finally time to remove the band-aid covering my scraped knee or cut elbow, which was a pretty common occurrence. My mother would lovingly apply antiseptic to clean the wound before covering it with the plastic and gauze tab to help protect it from infection. The band-aid felt comforting and even provided a feeling of safety, like the armor of a superhero shielding me from unpleasantries. But sooner or later the band-aid needs to come off
This often raised my anxiety level and induced my brain to retreat into a state of fear. That fear over the excruciating pain caused by removing the band-aid was admittedly based more on false truths spread around by older classmates or friends and had little to do with reality.
When the time finally came, I’d squeeze my eyes shut to avoid seeing anything and clenched my teeth to help endure the pain. And before I knew it, it was over. Beyond some momentary discomfort, which diminished instantly, I began to realize that fear is not grounded in truth but ignorance.
The story I conveyed above is an ideal metaphor for the state of our divided nation today. Unfortunately, we are a country consumed by what feels comfortable and safe, which often prevents many of us from realizing the band-aid needs to come off and we must ground ourselves in truth.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, in what has become one of the most famous political speeches of his generation, had this to say about fear and what it can do to a nation.
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves, which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”
Perhaps the most profound statement from his speech is not the one he’s often remembered for. “Which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
That is what fear, what one’s refusal to tear off the band-aid, is doing to our society today. Preventing us from advancing forward in unity.
Antiquated beliefs which have no place or reason for existing today, combined with falsehoods targeting those who are lost and unable to think for themselves with any sound logic, are destroying our country.
Instead of being paralyzed by political rhetoric from cult-like leaders who cleverly use fear tactics and denial to keep their followers misinformed while stirring up baseless emotions, the band-aid needs to come off and we must acknowledge that the truth might not always be popular or believable. However, at the end of the day, it’s still the truth.
Motivational speaker and author Bill Kurtenbach writes, “Denial does not solve the problem. Denial does not make the problem go away. Denial does not give us peace of mind, which is what we are really seeking when we engage in it. Denial is a liar. It compounds the problem, because it keeps us from seeing a solution, and taking action to resolve it.”
We can no longer allow denial to lead to inaction. For misinformation and lies to become more believable and even acceptable than the truth. To let fear blind us from reality and prevent us from looking at others with compassion and tolerance.
The band-aid needs to come off. Unfortunately, many still don’t have the courage to see what’s underneath it.