This Is America: Land of Many Fears

In light of the recent runaway hit This Is America by rapper Childish Gambino (musical nom de plume of multitalent artist Daniel Glover), staff at Critical Shots wrote an article comparing and contrasting the song’s complex music video with that of David Bowie’s I’m Afraid of Americans from the mid-90’s. We received a considerable amount of reader feedback from the story prompting us to consider a broader view of American culture and how we all experience apprehension.

…It strangles the indigenous culture and narrows expression of life.”
— David Bowie on America, 25 June 1999

Chapman University of Southern California published exhaustive results of a survey they performed in 2017 that examined the many fears experienced by the average American public. This examination surveyed 1,207 individuals from throughout the nation about 80 fears ranging from environmental issues to zombies. It may sound kooky, but the average ranking in responses will surprise you.

Top 5 List of American Fears

1. Corrupt Officials & Politicians

Of the 89 fears surveyed by Chapman University, corrupt government officials took the gold with 58% of respondents afraid or very afraid. Federal government corruption, a frequent theme in the media spotlight these days, has led to significant lack of trust for politicians. Overreach in surveillance programs, wag the dog politics, and a media circus that never sleeps will do that to you.

Stingray device use in tracking cell phone location and usage throughout the United States has been reported more and more often in relation to law enforcement tactics. Federal departments have been making use of these devices for significantly longer. Recently, DHS has reported observing anomalous cellular traffic indicative of rogue Stingray device use in Washington. This could mean that a device has fallen into the hands of criminal elements, or even bad actors on the international stage utilizing a device for espionage.

Image of a Stingray II spy device used by law enforcement to monitor cellular activity without a warrant.

2. American Healthcare Act / Trumpcare

Dismantling of the Affordable Care Act struck fear in the hearts of the majority of the voting public before President Trump failed to have it repealed. After that, fears turned to his plans revolving around harming people not even eligible for ACA coverage. With the new Trumpcare plans, it appears that you only have to be afraid if you get injured or sick–you’re probably covered otherwise.

Trump is justifying healthcare fears in 3 major ways:

  1. Individual healthcare mandate was repealed. Great for current pocketbook concerns, horrible for those who experience health crises and will have to pay out of pocket.
  2. Trump intends for people to be able to purchase “health insurance lite” plans that bypass compliance with ACA rules.
  3. Rather than bridge plans securing temporary coverage until people could end up with long term solutions, people will be able to subsist off of plans that miss a great deal of coverage. Without encouragement to pursue more reliable healthcare, many people will still wind up experiencing health emergencies where coverage is limited even while believing themselves fully insured.
Source: Flurtmag

3. Pollution of Oceans, Rivers, & Lakes / Drinking Water

One of Trump’s first actions upon assuming office of the President was to eradicate the Waters of the United States rule of the EPA. This stripped protections of many rivers and streams from agricultural runoff. In addition, Appalachian rivers and streams no longer enjoy protections from strip mining due to the Stream Buffer rule being removed. Fears over pollution of groundwater appear to be somewhat well founded.

Nice refreshing water filled with pollutants

4. Economic/Financial Collapse

American consumers are increasingly reluctant to spend their hard-earned money out of fear for losing their jobs to new technologies or a phantom immigration threat. A large factor is the present U.S. administration and right wing pundits crowing about job opportunities for “real” Americans disappearing due to a rising tide of immigrants. Notwithstanding the fact that the “real” Native Americans’ voice appears nonexistent in this conversation, overshadowed by the descendants of white European immigrants with an unfounded claim to the land, experts at Brookings have shown that new immigrants only really fill jobs that Americans don’t want to begin with.


5. U.S. Involvement In Another World War

While recent years have seen an explosion (no pun intended) in nationwide concerns over escalating tensions with global parties, North Korea has risen to the forefront in recent weeks. While it seemed that peace talks arriving at a conclusive agreement seemed all but certain until today, everything has seemingly fallen into disrepair once again. President Trump announced that a planned summit would not take place with a somewhat disjointed open letter to North Korea that even left South Korea’s president disconcerted. A presidential office spokesman for Moon Jae-In said they “are trying to figure out what President Trump’s intention is and the exact meaning of it.”


Nothing to worry about here, folks! We’re all in good hands. And since disaster preparedness clearly isn’t a top concern at the moment, why not take a break from the crippling terror and read about Stone Cold Steve Austin fighting Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a cabinet?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.