One of the most radical teachings of Jesus was "love thy enemy". Check out Matthew, chapter 5: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Buddhism teaches the same thing. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a major religion that does not, at least in theory, suggest that it might be a good idea.
(The only exception I'm running into on this is Islam. Now, I haven't spent a great deal of time with the Koran but I seem to remember something like this in there somewhere. You readers might be able to set me right.)
So, when all's said, it's not an idea that hasn't gotten around. Why, then, do people have such a hard time with it? Well, we're humans to start.
But we can't write it off due to "instinct" or something. Otherwise, what's the point of attempting this experiment we call "civilization". Of course, it's hard. It's supposed to be hard.
Tell you what. Let's start with something basic. Maybe you can't love your enemies. Maybe you can't make them soup when they're sick or send them flowers. But what if we tried not bombing them? What about that? How about if we didn't indiscriminately slaughter them? Can we do that?
I'm having a hard time with it, myself, this whole "loving" thing. So, I've been trying to remind myself that each person who is my enemy is, when you get down to it, a person just like myself. They've all experienced sorrow and pain. Their world isn't cheesecake and roses. So, I've been trying to feel some empathy for that part of their lives.
Do they do mean things and are they sometimes hurtful? Sure. But so am I. So are we. Right?
It's a long road but it's one I find I have to start going down. Otherwise, what do I have but hate? And I don't want hate because that makes me feel crappy. Taken that way, I might be being selfish. I just want to feel better and have a good time so I'm going to stop hating and work on the loving part.
The reason I keep getting back to this is because more and more, behind all of the news about the war and the horrible ecological disasters we're causing and the anal raping of the Constitution that's going on all the time these days, I begin to see this culture of hate spreading out all around me. And I don't like it. People hate illegal immigrants and muslims and gays and brown people and the poor Iraqis who never did anything to deserve their position and more and more. People in power are doing a great job at spreading all of this hatred and I really believe that it's up to us - in our homes and in our work places, at schools and churches - to take a stand against hatred. And aim at that whole "love" thing.
It could work. It certainly hasn't been tried.