As a country, and slowly as a species, we are focusing more and more on the possible bad things that might happen. And we sometimes wonder when, not if, they will.
The obvious example is, of course, terrorism.
We have accepted it as an evil enemy of freedom. We have created complex organizations and operations to fight against it.
We have admitted that terrorism is a dangerous threat to the United States and much of the globe. Our leaders often stress how serious that threat is and how important it is to take steps to prevent acts of terrorism from happening and all of the many ways in which we must protect ourselves.
We, the citizens of the United States, consider it quite reasonable to spend a significant portion of our financial resources on the fight against terrorism. We have admitted that there are people out there who aim to do damage to this and other countries, particularly those in the west.
There is a tangible fear expressed by many U.S. leaders and authorities that there are people in this world that wish to do us harm.
And we, the good and trusting citizens of the United States, willingly agree that this is so. We have managed to accept the possibility that an individual whom we have never met and who lives very far away from us wishes to do us harm. And not just one, but many.
Just because I am an American, or because I live in a modern or western country. Somehow, I am hated for that. Or so I am frequently told by our leaders and politicians and everyone else who claims to know what’s best for me and my fellow citizens.
Now, am I being gullible here? Let’s consider.
First of all, is it possible to hate someone you have never met? I really don’t think so. It doesn’t seem possible to have any feelings whatsoever about someone you have never met. The closest thing you can do, then, may be to hate what you believe they stand for, or what qualities or history or beliefs they may hold.
As far as I know, the only people who can possible hate me as a person are those who know me or somehow know of me. And for a ridiculously large portion of the globe, that is simply not possible. There can be no more than several thousand people in this world who know me or have met me and formed some sort of opinion of me. And almost all of them live within 300 miles of where I currently reside.
So, using simple and sound logic, I can only conclude that there is VERY little possibility that someone living in the Middle East or Asia or anywhere else that is more than a day’s drive from my home could hate me. I really do think and feel that they would have to be aware of me first. Somehow.
So if the terrorists are not aware of me personally, then can they really want to do me harm? The answer appears to be no.
They must have a problem with whatever it is they feel that I, as an American or a Westerner, stand for.
So what DO I stand for? And even more pertinent to our current discussion, what does the terrorist who would kill me if he were given the chance THINK that I stand for?
Isn’t that what we really need to understand?
None of them know me. NONE of them. So it’s not me they’re after. I don’t actually have these enemies that I am told of so frequently on the television and in the newspaper.
There is a war being waged, but it’s not them against me or my fellow citizens.
It is a war of beliefs: those of terrorists against those of their perceived enemies. Not the people themselves, but their beliefs. For, the individuals in most cases do not know one another. They only know one another’s beliefs.
Or so they think.
I'm discussing terrorism because it is a frequently discussed fear, and one that is given importance in the media and in the policies and actions of our leadership. And I have stated that I don’t believe there are indivduals in this world who mean to harm me specifically. They would have to know me in order to want to harm me specifically. The most that a typical terrorist can do is harm certain people for what they think they stand for.
I don't actually believe that there are terrorists out there that want to harm or kill me. They don't hate me. They hate what they think people in my area of the world believe.
And there's nothing I can or need to do about that.
Unless I accept them as my enemy.
Which I don’t.
I don’t even know them.