Hatred and its twin brother Fear

We Americans have such a high opinion of ourselves, we simply can't believe that normal people can dislike us, much less hate us. We can destroy whole countries, kill millions of people and then naïvely expect that the survivors will welcome us as friends.

The old saying that one reaps what one sows is just an accurate observation of the way human history plays out. We have sown and we are continuing to sow a lot of hatred for ourselves.

Surveying the world, I see very few countries where the people have any reason whatsoever for liking us. They may be powerless at the moment to express their hatred, but power, like victory, is also ephemeral.

One of our faults is that we have been conditioned by television and short political cycles to think in the short term. The truth is we have been players on the stage of history only for an instant. We have won the sprint, but the story of mankind is a marathon.

Should you ever visit Palestine, some Palestinian will almost surely point to the ruins left by the Romans and the Crusaders and say: "Where are they now? It took 200 years to get rid of the Crusaders, but they are gone and we are still here."

Ask yourself if you would fly to Iraq and, unarmed and unescorted, take a walk through Baghdad proudly displaying an American flag on your lapel. Hatred has a twin brother, and it's fear. We should stop harming other people so we can live without hatred or fear.

War is the most horrible thing one group of people can inflict on another. War destroys lives, homes, families, economies, cultures and the future. It kills and maims and impoverishes. The fallout from war is hatred, and like radioactivity its poison can linger for generations.

Anyone who looks at the present leadership, both those in office and those aspiring to office, and feels good about the future is a heck of a lot more optimistic than I am. Corruption, both monetary and intellectual, is so deep and entrenched in our society that it will take a miracle for us to survive it.

[By Charley Reese, King Features Syndicate]

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