This I Believe

Andy - Orange Park, Florida
Entered on November 15, 2006

I believe all people are good.

I grew up in a sector of American society where prejudice and discrimination was common. It was a place where the two most common races did not associate with each other and crossing those clearly marked social lines could be met with violence or hatred by either side. But, I still managed to make friends on both sides and realized that good people could be found all over.

People everywhere can be smart, creative, and kind. They can love their mothers and cherish their families. They can also fear what they don’t understand and learn to hate what is different from themselves. People are equally capable of tenderness and violence, of consideration and selfishness, of hope and despair. And, everything we do affects all of those around us. Whole communities can be influenced to develop similar, and sometimes, extreme opinions.

I watch the news every day, and I see terrible things going on in our world. Terrorists give up their own lives just to kill a few people that are different than they are. We say this isn’t right and we send troops out to force them to stop. We talk about their terrible deeds and we point out how evil they are. Then we kill them and say we are justified.

I don’t wan to see them dead. I want to know why they want us dead. I watch the news broadcasts, but I still don’t understand. Don’t they value their own lives? Don’t they love their families and care about their children’s futures? Don’t they want what is best for their communities?

Of course they do, they are good people, just like us. But, something is driving them to throw it all away for the sake of vengeance. The real question is, “Why do they think we are so different?” Maybe, this is something we need to understand before the situation gets any worse.

These people have reasons for hating us so much. Increasing our military presence may provide more targets and justification for their hatred, and probably won’t give us answers to these questions. We need to show them that we are just as humane as they are, and we need to understand why they really feel the way they do.

I believe the only way to really stop terrorism is to provide all impoverished people with a voice. Everyone deserves a chance to speak and be heard. Everyone also disserves a chance to build healthy families and prosperous communities.

Killing people is never the right answer, no matter what they have done. I believe all people are good and will prove it, if given the chance to live a good life and to be understood.