I am more anxious today than I have been in many years. I used to let myself get worked up to this level of tension in junior high, when I’d spend hours pouring over environmental reports and doomsday global warming predictions. (Freakishly accurate predictions, I might say. Though, I am as shocked/pleased as anyone else to see Hummers sitting on the Scottsdale car lots and Prius lines going out the door.)
The newspaper today, en sum: North Koreans hate us. Iraqis hate us. Scratch that, not just the Iraqis; 90% of the Middle East hates us. (Israelis tend to love us. Amazing what billions of dollars in foreign aid and arms sales will do to win over a people.) We’ve been spending way too much time in Russia lately telling Moscow how to run their affairs. Europe essentially deals with us because of economics, although I get the sneaking suspicion that they hate us too, if for no other reason we refuse to call soccer, “foot.” Bolivia, Venezuela and don’t forget Cuba. Hate, hate, have hated us since the Bay of Pigs.
Remarkably, the Japanese don’t seem to hate us, even though we dropped two atomic bombs on them. The Vietnamese? They seem pretty pleasant. If nothing else, they tolerate us and encourage our tourism. I find that frankly shocking considering how violent and lengthy our war was with them. Pretty much the only place it seems Americans haven’t really pissed someone else off is Antarctica, and who am I kidding? I saw March of the Penguins. Their shrinking ice caps are in part my fault as a greedy American with an oil addiction. They hate me too.
Oy. It’s days like today, when crazy, tyrannical men who kill their own people by the millions and lob missiles into the ocean (or worse yet, into synagogues, mosques and schools) that I’m at least happy to be a woman. Say what you will, but I’ve yet to read of the female dictator who starves her people to fund her second home in Switzerland.
The state of the world troubles me for selfish reasons — I love to travel — and for spiritual ones — what happened to love thy neighbor? I’m peaceful. I am way more likely to like you than not. I’ve got about three people on my list of “never want to speak to again,” and frankly, Mugabe, you aren’t on it. (Oh, what I would say to you if given the chance.) When the world seems like it is just about to come crashing down upon us, I think of my tiny peaceful friend Gandhi, who said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
So, North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and anyone else who hates me for my nationality, gender or faith — I’m smiling at you. I’m loving you, because you are my brother, my sister. We’re all in this together, and if we can’t figure out how to get along better, I’m on the next flight out of this solar system with Steven Hawking.