Let’s all try a little hope, not hate
By Stephan Drew
There are several constants in life. Very little we experience is “new.” Hardships, war and taxes come to mind. For as long as any of us can remember, there have been hostilities and bloodshed around the world. In fact, since the beginning of recorded history (approximately 6,000 years), 92 percent of that time has involved battles, wars and other military conflicts, and only 8 percent has been what we might describe as “peaceful.” And this 8 percent did NOT happen all at one time, either. That’s not really a very good record for the human race, is it? How many wars have been fought to “preserve peace”? Well, if we’ve never had any type of prolonged peace, what are we fighting to preserve? We always hear the usual patriotic phrases. People say we should “do it for God and country” and political leaders say that we are “making the world safe for democracy.” Never mind that only 8.4 percent of the world’s population actually lives in a fully democratic nation. And I guess it doesn’t matter that out of the 167 countries in existence, only 23 are considered “full democracies.” Fifty-two nations are classified as “flawed democracies.” Thirty-five are “hybrid regimes” and 57 are identified as “authoritarian regimes.” Our own great country is in the “flawed” column, for many reasons. But one thing we do very well is make war. Over the past 75 years, we have built up a military force that hasn’t been seen on Earth since the legions of ancient Rome and we have perfected a wide variety of methods we use to wage war. There are many types of war one can utilize and the type of war you conduct depends on the outcome you wish to achieve. We, as humans, now have it in our power to eradicate all life from this planet with a few well-placed nuclear bombs. But wars are not always fought with bullets and bombs. We frequently engage in other tactics that would accomplish our goals without destroying the planet and all its inhabitants. We tried Prohibition as a method of war on alcoholism. It didn’t work. Crime increased and people found ways to obtain it or make their own. We have been fighting a “War on Drugs” for almost 40 years, with little success. We have been prosecuting a “War on Poverty” since 1964 (the year I was born). Are we any closer to ending it than we were almost 60 years ago? The “War on Terrorism” has been going on, in some form or another, since the 1980s and the carnage seems to be getting worse, not better. There is biological warfare, where some country or entity may release a bacteria, virus (or some other toxin) upon the world to cripple them militarily, economically, or in some other way. Nowadays, we also have to protect ourselves from cyber-warfare. Someone, thousands of miles away, can hack into your computer system (regardless of what type it is) and not only wipe out your assets but might also operate your security system or missile programs. Do any of these sound familiar? We also have psychological warfare and now, with the HAARP system, we soon may be able to wage atmospheric or climatologic war. Of course, the most deceptive and cruel method is propaganda warfare. You can actually (and completely) destroy someone’s reputation and their livelihood by spreading false information about them and they will never be the same. It’s a coward’s way to win a fight but it can be catastrophically effective. I believe it was Hitler who said, “Tell a big enough lie, repeat it often enough, and people will begin to believe it.” Very seldom does anyone recover from a media or propaganda attack. Doxxing, cancel culture and censorship are words we now use intermittently in our conversations because of these tactics being used so often. And those who spread lies about you rarely face any punishment. They wake up the next morning, turn the cameras on and begin their victimization of someone else. Such is the state of affairs at this time. Now, of course, we have new wars (or revivals of old wars) to contend with. These are not REAL wars as we understand the word “war.” But if calling it a “war” makes someone feel better, why bother correcting them, right? The socialists are waging war on capitalism, although capitalism is the only system, throughout world history, that has ever lifted up entire classes of people without bringing another class down. There are “wars” on sexism, genderism, racism, ageism, and any other “ism” you can dream up. It seems there is always someone to fight and something to fight for. But there’s one that I haven’t mentioned yet and, it’s probably the most important enemy – hatred. I am astounded and also disgusted by the growth of hostile feelings in our nation over the past 30 or 40 years. We are now at a point where, if you and I disagree, it seems we are expected to hate each other and try to make the other person lose their job, reputation, their livelihood, home, and all their friends. Why? Just because we disagree (no matter what the subject), that doesn’t mean that I should wish to completely “destroy” you. How did we (a nation of “freethinkers” in a land of “free speech”) come to this? It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when this started or who began it. And it’s almost impossible to do battle with. You can’t destroy it with more hate. Many have tried that method but it simply doesn’t work. Increasing your enmity only creates more animosity and bitterness. It ends up making you a bigger hater (and a much nastier person) than the one you’re doing battle with. So what can eradicate hatred? Many of us believe faith and prayer will do it. However, in the last 2,000 years, we’ve had many surges in faith and countless prayers, hoping to abolish the poisonous venom of animosity. We will see some times of lower crime and increased peace but we haven’t been able to completely kill hatred altogether. Maybe we never will. I only know that there is far too much in our world. Perhaps it has to do with our vision. Not our eyesight but our outlook on life. I remember, several years ago, when I had three retinal tears and had to have eye surgery. The Sunday before my procedure, I went to the altar, fell to my knees and prayed. After just a few seconds, I heard a calming sound I truly believe was the voice of God. In a soft, reassuring tone, He said, “Stephan, you’ll be fine. Just remember, it’s not what you SEE. It’s how you LOOK at life.” I’ve never forgotten that day or the feeling that came over me. I realized at that moment that love and a happy heart can conquer greater demons than all the smartbombs in the world. Let’s try to look at life with eyes of love and hope. We’ve certainly tried everything else. Why not give it a shot? It might actually work!