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One Woman's Opinion

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Peace at Christmas

by Mary Wakefield Buxton

Urbanna, Va.— December has been, at least for me, too long spent reflecting on sad reality that the entire history of mankind has been dominated with rage, hatred and envy.

We are still surrounded with the same negative thought and behavior today, as if 200,000 years or so since the emergence of Homo sapiens on Earth and all the centuries of misery fighting constant wars had not taught us even one tiny lesson. We are still as engulfed in rage, hatred, and envy just as we were in the past . . . just as if all those many centuries had never passed.

Rage, hatred and envy lead us only in one direction: self-destruction. For how do negative thoughts, words and deeds help anyone? Those caught in their lethal grip cannot hope to succeed in life, make friends, promote good will, help others and live in harmony and peace.
Yet we keep on stirring the pot of rage, hatred and envy. Even when we know from our history that such actions only lead to destruction.

Oh, but how smart we humans are! We can now blow ourselves up with our advanced weaponry and take every other species and every blade of grass along with us!

But our intelligence will never save us. Only learning how to control and overcome our innate character flaws . . . only by working for love, tolerance, understanding and brotherhood can we save ourselves.

There have been those in history that have done this: Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther, Charles Wesley, Dr. Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa, just to name a few. Unfortunately, far too few humans inspire love, kindness and generosity in others but rather rage, hatred and envy.

I blame partisan politics for much of today’s poisonous atmosphere. Political dogma has created many rabid “haters” in our midst. They are everywhere . . . on TV, in the newspapers, government, business, clubs and organizations and even in mosques, temples and churches.

George Washington warned us about the danger of political parties and he was right. Believers in both parties constantly stir the pots of rage, hatred and envy. The dark passions have always been with us but I first became aware of “haters” in our society during the term of President Clinton. The Clinton haters were everywhere, probably fanned by his sexual behavior in the White House and his ambitious wife.

Next came President George W. Bush followed by his troops of haters. The Bush haters had even more passion than the Clinton haters, suggesting that once hate gets started from one side, it inspires even more hatred from the other. Bush made terrible mistakes in Iran, probably due to the horror of  9-11, but, in reality, the Iraq war did more harm than good.

Then came President Obama, totally inexperienced in government but filled with high ideals. He triggered a new onslaught of haters. By the time he left office I realized the next president would probably be an extreme reaction to Obama. How right I was.

Our political party system begets extremism. Obama was seen as favoring the poor, unemployed, illegals and even in some cases criminals, while ignoring the problems facing corporate, small business and working middle-class interests.

So now we have the reaction to the extremes of Obama in President Trump who favors business, working-class citizens and legal immigration. His victory shocked Clinton forces, which only inspired more hatred. I have never seen such vitriolic haters as the Trump haters. The polarization is now so bad I truly feel sorry for our newly-elected president, even though his own brand of hatred has brought on much of the problems he now faces.

My Christmas message is a plea to both sides of the aisle to cease rage, hatred and envy. All sectors in America, not just some sectors, have equal rights to government concerns. If our political party affiliation inspires us to think only of our own special interests without concern for others, then, honestly folks, we need to vacate our political parties.

Politicians come and go in a democracy. Some we like more than others but unless we want to live with revolutions and mass killings in the streets, we must tolerate those we don’t care for when they win elections.

This Christmas let the words of Jesus calm our poisonous thoughts. Let peace and good will toward our fellow man replace the dark furies. Resolve now to inspire love in others rather than rage, understanding rather than hatred, and generosity rather than envy.

So now I leave this column for a few months to dream of more peaceful times. I pray when I return that tolerance and brotherhood will have returned to America and I can write on subjects other than rage, hatred and envy.

Christmas nears. Let the beauty of the night reign . . . let the twinkling lights of my beloved Town of Urbanna dressed up so beautifully for the season by so many loving hands inspire joy in our hearts. Peace! Good will! Merry Christmas to all!


Note: Mary Wakefield Buxton’s column will return in March.

posted 12.20.2017

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