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Fellow citizens: You are slaves of fear. I see it every day, on the pages of Facebook, comments in the news, and casual opinions expressed on the street.

There are fears for everyone, according to their ideological preferences and cultural identities — fear of Mexicans and Muslims, fear of guns, fear of climate change, fear of government, fear of foods and medicines, fear of the influences of homosexual lifestyles, Republicans, Progressives, corporations, an Illuminati of myriad tentacles. There is fear of change and fear that things will stay the same. And the slightest fact or proof of any of these is enough to begin our holy cause.

These fears dictate to us what MUST be done. We speak that this or that is the only rational, unavoidable action to survive. The enemy will surely get us if we don’t get “them”; the sky is falling and only the right people in power or the right laws will stop it from landing on our heads.

And we have plenty of outrage to drown out internal or external dissent against our zeal. How dare they endanger us by not seeing the obvious and falling in line? If fear is our high, outrage is our drug. We must feed it, beg for it, demand it of others that they may share in our pathos.

Even apathy must be stamped out, for those not with us are complicitly against us. They are naive, brainwashed, or secretly in alignment with our perceived demons. We see them as the enablers of evil, not seeing those who agree as the real enablers of our own hate.

We can’t help yourselves. We can’t see it any other way, or understand why anyone else does not see it so clearly as we do.

Because of all of this, we are not free.

But I, like some others, see fear for what it is — our reptilian brains being used against us. The contrived urgency of fight or flight as the only two options. I am not led by the nose with each ominous video or viral bumper-sticker. My only outrage is seeing my fellow man — many of whom are not the least bit unintelligent — succumb to using their intelligence to rationalize their primal reactions instead of subduing them.

Otherwise, I have replaced outrage with Love. Love sympathizes in a more brutal way than anything another can do to us, because it demands we see ourselves in the most evil of men. We won’t divide humanity into those who can and those who cannot commit atrocities. We reject the rewritings of the past where humanity is divided conveniently into camps of the civilized and the savage. That is because we know that this is the basis for fear, and in fact has allowed such things to happen — and continue to happen.

Those convinced there is no other way to deal with evil than destroy it with no quarter given are, in a sad universal irony, the reason for evil, the enabler of evil, and become no different from anyone they hope to cast into hell deservedly. There is no crime against others except to see others as different from us, regardless of them seeing you that way.

This is not pacifism. This is not denial. This is the true courage of temperance and mercy, where the ends are not perverted by the means.

My divisions are not between extremes, but between extremes and the sane, grey world of understanding, moderation, and possibilities. I neither run nor fight, except to run from those who play this game, or fight against the ignorance of it all.

My actions are not dictated toward an inevitable end, they are considered with the examination of every assumption. And knowing the poison inherent in every black-and-white paradigm, the cup passes from me.

Or so I strive. And to the extent I succeed, I am free.