This I Believe

mark - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on September 11, 2006

I believe that a person is smart, but people are stupid. An individual’s capabilities seem boundless. An individual can make informed decisions and learn from their mistakes. An individual can have compassion for his fellow man, and for his surroundings. An individual can put man on the moon, build flying machines, and is capable of both great and terrible things. People, on the other hand, more resemble lemmings; they just keep running off the cliff.

Pointing out the mistakes of the past has always remained an easy task for people, but sadly they seem doomed to repeat them. Improving the efficiency of the destruction of human life, and lowering the time it takes to invade a country are not things that I consider to be improvements on the mistakes of history. People will always fight wars and they will always cause the mass destruction of countless lives. People exist as cruel and ignorant beings. People will always destroy their environment, they will always follow the opinions of the crowd, and they will always, always follow the other lemmings off the cliff. The constant warring amongst men in the name of their god reminds me of a quote I once heard that says “I am pretty sure God is sick of being called down on both sides of an argument”. Do not both sides in war believe that they fight for the true just cause, that they will die for the greater good, and that God chooses their side? Because of this endless cycle of destruction, the determining factor of good and evil will always remain the individual’s actions.

It is not the country you live in, the army your fight for, the color of your skin, or even your religious beliefs that make you a good person. It is the actions you take, your interactions with other human beings, and your attitude about life that makes you a good person. For the past several years, the United States and Iran have not had a friendly relationship. My wrestling coach recently moved here from Iran. Most of his family still lives in Iran, and he has a very strong connection to his home. He also remains one of the most compassionate and respectful human beings I have met in my sixteen years on this Earth. As long as you will work hard when you are wrestling in his gym, he will treat you with the utmost respect. When you walk in the door, you are greeted with a hug and he judges his students not on talent, but the quality of their character. He would gladly waive payment for anyone with financial hardship. I do not know what else qualifies someone as a good person.

Only an ignorant man could say that there are not good people on both sides of a conflict. Only through ignorance could you say that there does not live good, compassionate people on the other side of every battlefield. A person is smart and compassionate, but people are cruel; just other lemmings ready to fall.