by Terri LaPoint
Remember who the real enemy is.– Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The real enemy is not the fellow combatants in the arena fighting for their own survival, Haymitch reminded Katniss and Peeta in the Hunger Games movies. It was important for the reluctant heroes to remember that the other “tributes” were also forced into the battle, just like they were.
There was an enemy, but it was not each other. As long as they focused on fighting each other, they would never overcome their real enemy, which was the tyrannical regime that forced the people to surrender young people every year to fight in the “hunger games.”
In our world today, there is much division – left vs right, male vs female, conservative vs liberal, racial division, political division, and even division within groups that are purportedly fighting for the same purpose. Yet, at the end of the day, we are all people who bleed red, who care about our families, and want to live our lives.
There is often more that unites us than divides us, if we would stop and take the time to care about our fellow man.
This becomes evident in times of disaster. When there is a hurricane or tornado or other disaster, no one stops to ask the political beliefs of the one offering food and water. No first responder refuses to pull another person out of the rubble based on skin tone or sex or religion.
In those moments, we see the beauty of humanity as our differences are laid aside and we simply care for one another.
In the book, “Ladies & Gentlemen: Why the Survival of Our Republic Depends on the Revival of Honor,” authors Dr. Gina Loudon and Dr. Dathan Paterno talk about the importance of civil discourse and treating one another with honor, even when we don’t agree.
How much more effective could our discourse be if we would attack ideas and concepts instead of people, while treating the people with whom we disagree with decency and honor?
Our fellow man is not our enemy, no matter how much they may act like it.
It is the ideas, beliefs, and systems that are the real enemies. It is the concept and spirit behind the person that is the real battlefield.
Minds can be changed. Hearts can be won. Little things like kindness, honor, and respect show people that they matter as a person, even when we don’t see eye to eye.
Love is the most powerful weapon we have. It can heal, restore, and build up.
It doesn’t take much in the way of character or strength to tear down and destroy. Any brute animal can do that.
True strength lies in having the ability to rip someone to shreds but choosing honor and love instead.
When we make that choice, when we honor the person speaking, then we can get down to the serious business of addressing the issues that count.