I never understood why people hated me just because I was a Jew, and I don’t understand someone hating President Elect Obama just because he is half-negro and half-caucasian.

Hatred is insidious, and it can spread to our children who may overhear an out-of-context, or sadly, an in-context remark expressing hatred for a black or a Jew, or yeah, a moslem. I made a blanket disparaging remark about moslems to my 39 year old son and he jumped all over me about it. He pointed out that his best friend in high school was the son of a man from Syria, a man who really did not like Jews and was pretty unhappy with the fact that his son was palling around with one. I, on the other hand, liked Omar, and we had some pretty good discussions about the situation in the Middle East.

Time and a realization that the friendship would outlast his animosity eventually made Omar’s Dad tolerate and often enjoy my son and his jokes about Jews and Arabs, and the intolerance relented and a quasi-blessing was granted to the friendship. We even brought a T Shirt back from Israel with words in Hebrew for Omar, and when he asked what it said I told him: “Don’t shoot, I’m a Friend!” His strange look made me confess that the hebrew script spelled out the words: “Coca-Cola” and we all enjoyed a good laugh.

Don Rickles eased bigotry and intolerance through humor, but he never got really nasty like these nut cases today. One of my more rational friends still hates Obama because he thinks Obama is going to take his guns away. Practically speaking, this guy’s guns would fill a small lake and cause major flooding in the region. I never heard Obama threaten to take guns any more than he threatened to take slingshots.

Sadly, like hatred, both can blind someone, and often do.

It is time to make peace among the races and religions and ethnicities in our great country and to move to a higher plane, NOT to sink back into the morass of anti-this or that. We are all Americans. THAT we should realize first, foremost, and always.