Have you ever had to try to explain our penchant for hatred to an alien? Well I have, and it isn’t fun. Especially when the alien pops up in the form of a Marine Corps drill sergeant. There he was, sitting in the back yard under a tree with a Budweiser, one of mine. He took a sip and motioned for me to sit.
“I want to talk to you,” he said.
“That’s no surprise.”
I obeyed. That’s always the best course of action when he gets like this.
“Tell me,” he said, “about this instinct your species has for hate. There seems to be a lot of it going around these days.”
“I’m not an expert on the subject,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I try not to engage in it.”
“I happen to know that you hate that little button on your vehicle key that makes the horn start honking if your thumb happens to press against it.”
I said nothing.
“And,” he said. “I know you hate Windows 10.”
“Not as much as I once did.”
“And you hate those daytime television shows that have women screaming nonsense at one another.”
“Only when I walk into a room and one happens to be playing.”
He ignored me. “And I happen to know, from talking to your friends, that you hated the year that you spent sentenced to something called ‘Vacation Bible School,’ when you were a child.”
“It was actually only a week or two,” I said. “I tell folks it was a year for dramatic emphasis.”
“You hate speed bumps.”
“They are a sign that civilization is collapsing,” I said. “And what, may I ask, is the meaning of all this?”
“The Elders want to know if it is true that your next presidential election will be decided on the basis of hate.”
“Maybe not,” I said. “There is still time.”
“Sit up straight,” he said, barking it at me with a startling degree of vehemence.
As I straightened, he said, “You, yourself, do have your good points.”
“Yes. You don’t seem to hate people.”
“I try not to.”
“Even people you consider your enemies. You may feel a strong aversion or intense dislike for some.”
“Yes,” I said. “I do detest some. But my mentor, The Galilean, forbids me from hating them.”
“Even those on that fake TV news show?”
“Even those on Fox News.”
“Back to your mentor,” he said. “Why doesn’t he forbid the hating of your president, and other people of color?”
|Youthful exuberance and good communications|
seem to be essentials for spreading hate. - C.W.
“He does,” I said.
“Do those who claim to worship him know that?”
“Yes, but many decide to ignore him.”
“Choosing the satisfaction of hate over the promise of salvation seems odd,” he said. “But back to you. You don’t even seem to hate any particular food.”
“Well, there was something my wife cooked once. She called it ‘cornbread gravy’ and I can’t say it turned out too well.”
“May I ask her about it?”
“Please don’t,” I said.
“But you don’t hate any other food?”
“If you were a real military man,” I said, “you would know that you quickly learn to eat what is served and that being a finicky eater is a sign of weakness.”
“Speaking of weaknesses,” he said. “The Falloonian Elders are asking me if I think this growing fondness for hatred within your species will lead to its downfall.”
I thought. “There was a philosopher once,” I said, named Friedrich Nietzsche, who said, ‘That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.’ Maybe hate makes us stronger.”