Saturday, April 13, 2013

Politics of hatred, envy
By Editor
Sat 13 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Hate, bitterness and revenge are luxuries we cannot afford.
If you want to be miserable, hate somebody. Hate does a great deal more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than the object on which it is poured. And what really matters is what happens in us, not to us. Hatred leads to great bitterness, which is a deadly misuse of the creative flow from above. Great amounts of brain power are used up when you ponder a negative situation and plot how to get even. This kind of thinking is completely unproductive.

People who burn bridges will be isolated and alone and will deal with neutrals and enemies the rest of their lives. That's why we should build bridges, not burn them. He who hates destroys the bridge over which he may one day need to pass.

Hatred is a poor travelling companion. Getting even always causes imbalance and unhappiness. When you hate, you are ignoring its impact on your destiny.

You can't get ahead when you are trying to get even. While you are straining under the weight of hatred, the person you hate is out producing.

In our politics, we have always advocated a loyal opposition, but some politicians of low political culture have failed to understand the essence of this and have denounced us for advocating such an approach to politics. They seem to think they can only thrive under a climate of growing political hatred in the country.

And what Fr Mambwe Mpasa is saying about the hatred against those in leadership by the opposition is true. The opposition seems to be against anything and everything about this government. And as Fr Mpasa observes, hatred against those in leadership by the opposition is making them oppose even good things that the government is doing. Truly, as Fr Mpasa observes, "Hatred is not good because if you go on harbouring hatred, it will blind you from seeing the good in others. So for those harbouring hatred, let them come out of it. Let's show love even towards government. Where there are mistakes, let us correct them with love."

We completely agree, both about the growth of hatred in politics and about its danger to individuals and the polity itself. We are increasingly witnessing politics of hatred and envy and identity politics writ large.

Political hatred is always and everywhere a product of political overreach. When politics reaches into our pockets, our bedrooms, our private lives - that is where hatred begins.

True politics, good politics rests on love. Equally, loyalty rests on love. The politics of hatred and envy that we are today witnessing in our country has no parentage in love, and claims the allegiance of today on the ignorance and blindness of the past.

Loyalty is a sentiment, not a law. It rests on love, not on restraint.
Every citizen's life in this country is inevitably mixed with every other citizen's life, and no matter what laws we pass, no matter what precautions we take, unless the people we meet are kindly and decent and human and loving, we will continue to live under a growing climate of political hatred. Love comes from human beings, rather from laws and institutions.

We do not believe in the law of hate. We may not be true to our ideals always, but we believe in the law of love, and we believe you can do nothing with hatred. We would like to see a time when our politicians love their fellow politicians and forget about their political outlook and affiliations. We will never be civilised until that time comes.
Some of this hatred is born out of envy over the political successes of opponents, of competitors. But envy leads to hatred. And if envy had a shape, it would be a boomerang.

Envy is the most ridiculous of ideas, because there is no single advantage to be gained from it. An old saying goes, "When you compare what you want with what you have, you will be unhappy. Instead, compare what you deserve with what you have and you will discover happiness." The problem with some of our opposition politicians and their supporters is their failure to accept their position, status or rank in the politics of our country. They want to be what they are not. They want to win elections where they don't deserve to win.

There is need for our opposition politicians and their supporters to realise that nothing gets you behind faster than trying to keep up with people who are already there. If envy were a disease, some of our opposition politicians would be very sick today. They are simply failing to accept the election victory of their competitors. Imagine what they would be saying today if the Patriotic Front had been in charge of the 2011 elections! They wouldn't have accepted the result.

And this explains why even today some of them are failing to accept results of parliamentary by-elections which are conducted by the same people, same institutions that conducted the 2011 elections.

It seems they are unable to take a break from their hatred and envy of the Patriotic Front and its leadership. And Frances Bacon observed, "Envy has no holidays. It has no rest." The envy that compares us to others is foolishness - "They are only comparing themselves with each other, and measuring themselves by themselves. What foolishness!" (2 Corinthians 10:12).

Richard Evans said, "May we never let the things we can't have or don't have spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have."

What makes us discontented with our personal condition is the absurd belief that others are so much happier than we are. Thomas Fuller warned, "Comparison, more than a reality, makes men happy or wretched."

Hatred and envy consumes nothing but its own heart. It is a kind of admiration for those whom you least want to praise. John Chrysostorm reflected, "As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy and hatred consume a man."

There are many roads to an unsuccessful life, but hatred and envy are among the shortest of them all.


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