I have been having a discussion with a friend about what we should fear from the government. I am afraid of torture, suspending habeas corpus, declaring citizens "enemy combatants," warrantless wiretaps, secret prisons, and failing to enforce securities regulations that threaten the world economy. He is worried about government health care and the car company and bank bailouts as communism, which might force armed resistance to the state. I am not here raising the merits of these fears.
Instead, I was struck by a point that he made in a recent conversation. His wife was much more worried about these things than he was. As I thought about it, several of the women in my life are more worried about the things I fear than I am.
So I had this thought. Moms worry about dangers to their families. That is part of the job. And daughters who are preparing to be moms one day can do a fair job of worrying, too. Dads protect moms and daughters. They fear things that are actually threats to their families and, by extension, their communities. Dads also worry about things that their wives are worried about because their wives are worried. If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
This is the rough thought I am working on. Much of the emotion in the various cultures of fear are driven by the good impulse of men protecting women.