We have had enemies in the history of our being here. We could have had
enemies, like the Klingons, from other planets. We may have had a “bad”
friend while young and declared these spiteful words: “You are my enemy
Here is the definition of “Enemy.”
1. One that hates another one that attacks or tries to harm another.
2. Something that harms.
3. a. A nation with which a country is at war.
b. A hostile unit or force.
Foe is the synonym for enemy. Shows hostility or ill will. Stresses
antagonism. Showing itself in hatred or destructive attitude or
action. Foe stresses active fighting or struggle and is used poetically
for an enemy or hater.
Why bring this up at the holidays? I think the powerful but beautiful
words, “Peace on Earth” sometimes need to be understood in the
way of looking at the world. How we face and act out towards our
From the beginning of time, sometimes our wrath was simply defending
ourselves. It may have been against a group of people or another caveman.
They probably fought over food, hunting grounds, where a good shelter
was located or their “attractive” or “desirable” mate!
Territory was an issue in some cases of enemies. The Hatfields and Mc Coys
come to mind. Also, clans against clans, tribes against tribes and this was
over where they lived and where their properties were. In the West, there
were the Free Range folks and the fenced in cattlemen.
In the history of our country here in the United States, and probably in your
own country, if you are not here, the problems lie in different points of view.
In these cases, it was the issue of Jewish people and Arabs in Jerusalem. It
is sadly a case of “sharing” and a small strip of Land, called the Gaza Strip.
It was the case of the Roman Empire which had to fall because of its immorality
and unfortunate destiny.
We were all about the Freedoms. Freedom of Religion drove us across a huge
ocean. Where we were not too religious, at times, with our feeling of impower-
ment and sovereignty. We believed in Freedom of Speech and that meant we
could gather in groups to picket or question the opinions and take our stands.
We still quarrel over the Right to Bear Arms and what “arms” should be allowed.
I am not on the side for any automatic weapons in the hands of anyone in their
houses. The armed forces, the “militia,” that the Revolutionary War patriots
were talking about, were protecting their property, families and country.
I feel that there should be allowed handguns and rifles, all for the reasons
of protection and getting food on tables. I am sure that it is a great form of
entertainment and sport. Those 98% of the country (and world) who would never
shoot their neighbor are not the ones we need to worry about. Those we do
worry about, fear mightily, due to their being “terrorists” or “psychopaths,”
probably can get around the rules and laws of owning guns.
I believe in the right to your feelings, allowing expression and the right should
always be there, as long as no one is being hurt or their lives put in danger.
This falls into the areas of prejudice, bullying and different lifestyles. None of
the ones who are minding their own business, living their own types of lives,
who are not hurting anyone, except maybe by their choice of wardrobe (touch
of humor, here, folks!) should have to stifle their expressions and ways of life.
My grandmother, Paula Haller Mattson, was born in Germany. She was hurt
and appalled when she would speak in her own version of English, some extra
special words from her country injected into it, when someone would ask her
if she were a “Jew.” She was living during the WWII era, and told me more than
once, “What if I were? I am a naturalized American…” She said, “I would allow
the nosy busybody to ‘assume’ that I was Jewish, because I did not want to ‘put
down’ those that were.” The questioner was implying by the question, in her
mind, somehow that it would be abhorrent, due to the concentration camps
and horrors that were not Jewish in orientation, nor her own background or
family’s choice of religion, Catholicism.
So when my brothers would try to play “Cowboys and Indians” or the “Germans
are the Bad Guys” my Grandma Mattson would pull them in from their play,
sit them down and explain a bit of history, sprinkled in with her love of all
mankind. We were only allowed to call the “enemy” using the words,
“The Bad Guys.”
When we were visiting from Ohio in Florida, going for a quick lunch out
at the good old Golden Arches, my Grandpa Mattson saw a black family
walking out of the place, heads down, parents looking dismayed, Grandpa
had to ask,
“Why are your children looking so sad?”
Turns out even in the sixties, different races were not allowed to buy a
hamburger at McDonalds, where you did not have a drive-thru. Most
of the original hamburger (fast food places), you would have to walk in
to order at the counter, take it to the beach or wherever you were headed.
But in the South, past when it should have been an issue, definitely past
the one hundred years’ mark that the Civil Rights War’s anniversary, we
were turning people away from sitting in the fronts of buses, eating at
the same places that others were allowed and drinking at water fountains
that were not labeled by the heinous words: “For Colored People.”
Well, my Grandpa took his little gas and mileage paper pad out of his glove
compartment and wrote down their orders and marched into the McD’s
to place their order. He included a few extra fries and hamburgers, too.
As he was leaving, ready to slam the door behind him, he exclaimed
“By the way, that nice family from Washington D.C. that you turned
away still wanted to eat your food, I will never buy it for my own family
and grandchildren again!”
In the animal kingdom, there are mostly defensive killings, rarely a
choice of distaste, definitely more a decision that it was animal vs.
animal, the most dangerous one being the one to defer to.
There are no cases between animals of killing out of jealousy, hate crimes,
or genocide. There are episodes of bullying, fighting over territory and
where the next meal comes from. Nature is pretty straight forward,
mankind is so much more emotionally charged and complicated in their
choosing their enemies.
Why can’t human beings just get along?
All I can think of is, we were given more brain power, we should be able
to control ourselves, make better decisions and not always follow our
first impulses. Who can decide why we feel our gut reaction to someone?
How do we learn who to trust or not?
One case at a time…
All this is pretty controversial, throwing my opinions around and all!
I was not raised to be a narrow-minded person, my world was always
large, inclusive and sometimes, in the case of my own father, included
the universe with stars and the possibility of intergalactic friends, too.
I would overall like to have us ponder this, reflect and act better towards
each other, by being this way, we do make a difference!