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October 5, 2007

National pride…

Filed under: Observations — sbj @ 10:47 pm

The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, those would good places to start.  This country has much in which to take pride.  Why then do people insist on trying to elevate the United States by bashing everyone else.  Did they miss the life lesson that states “reducing others in an effort to elevate yourself, only reduces yourself” (and occasionally, elevates those you wish to reduce).  The bigger person focuses on the positive, first within themselves, and then, yes, within those they consider their enemy.

Many (most?) people miss that opportunity.  Instead, they choose to perpetuate the hatred, fear and bigotry that caused the situation in the first place.  Six years later, people are still rallying around the September 11th disaster as if it is a point of pride.  My friends, this is not a day that we should be holding up as a rallying cry, it is a day we should be mourning.  Further, we should not be glorifying any bad behavior that may have come in response, but rather the positives.  Truly, if you are unable to rally around your country for its positives, you have no business trying to do so around other countries negatives.

If a portion of the Arab world was celebrating in the aftermath, ignore them, do not glorify them.  Do not rally people against them, unite people with those Arabs who were mourning along with the rest of the world.  Bring those people to the table, and use their understanding of the situation to help you work toward ensuring this type of event never happens again.

Robert Heinlein once said “Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend.”, this (with the periodic exception of “hope, is not a strategy”) has always been my favorite quote. My personal version of it goes like this: When you have the choice of how to react, do not glorify the bad in your enemy (or yourself), glorify the good in yourself (and your enemy).  Before long, you will not have an enemy.

This requires a couple of, typically, difficult things.  One must take the time to understand the person on the other side of the conflict.  To grasp why a person would commandeer an airplane and crash it into a building, taking their own life as well as the lives of hundreds or thousands of others is no easy task.  A viewpoint of bigotry and ignorance can make it look obvious, but to find an accurate answer requires a more significant effort.  Further, you must be able to control your emotions and act for the better good of everyone involved.  You must be willing to swallow your pride quell your desire for vengeance and actually work toward compassion, understanding, mutual respect.

This is my vision, this is my hope (not my strategy).

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