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Editorial: Hatred over love?

"Crude men who feel themselves insulted tend to assess the degree of insult as high as possible, and talk about the offense in greatly exaggerated language, only so they can revel to their heart's content in the aroused feelings of hatred and revenge."

Friedrich Nietzsche

In today's world, it seems, things often escalate well beyond what might be considered an appropriate response.

A military power bombs civilian neighborhoods in the name of destroying terrorist strongholds. A communist government jails religious converts who want nothing more than freedom to worship God. A totalitarian ruler tests missiles to prove to the world that he is a political force to be reckoned with.

These days our world is ruled more and more by hatred than love. We are geared more toward revenge than cooperation. We are quick to take offense, and even quicker to respond in anger -- and sometimes before all the facts are known.

And don't think the tendency is only found on the global scene.

Here in New Richmond, our community fabric appears to be unraveling as we gossip, bicker and seek revenge.

Nobody's getting killed in the process, so our disagreements can hardly be compared the current unrest in Lebanon.

But our negative response to neighbors can destroy a community nonetheless and will likely continue to lead to destructive responses.

People may scoff at such a simplified view of the current state of affairs in New Richmond. They will claim that I don't understand the root cause of problems we face. They will claim their opponents started the mess, and it's THEIR responsibility to fix it.

I tell my kids often that the only thing you can control is your response to the world around you. It's imperative, for the good of us all, that we begin to take the high ground when the inevitable battle ensues -- even if we're well within our rights to defend ourselves and/or seek revenge.

We'd all be better off, and our communities would be a far better place, if we each pledged to live by the rules established in the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi decades ago.

"Lord, make me a channel of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is offense, forgiveness.

Where there is discord, reconciliation.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is sadness, joy.

Where there is darkness, your light.

If we give, we are made rich.

If we forget ourselves, we find peace.

If we forgive, we receive forgiveness.

If we die, we receive eternal resurrection.

Give us peace, Lord."

So the critics of the recently completed Fun Fest will continue to drub the changes that were implemented by the Chamber of Commerce, but few will likely volunteer to be part of the solution. Even though I shook my head at some of the decisions, I know it's in the community's best interest to move forward unified so that the celebration will be stronger next year.

New Richmond hockey boosters might feel justified to stir up the political pot this week after taking offense to a board member's question about the program's head coach. Knowing the anger the decision generated, the repercussions could be felt for months to come. A better response may be forgiveness and reconciliation.

The ontheborderline blog thugs will have a field day with the thought. Afterall, they are not to blame for any of the disharmony that is prevalent in New Richmond these days. Their only goal is to protect the public from Big Brother government and school districts that are out of control.

But let the healing start with me. I forgive them in advance for the things they will write.