Public Enemies (or not!)

“Never hate your enemies.  It affects your judgement.” – Michael Corleone to Vincent Mancini, from The Godfather Part III

(In context, Michael is telling Vinny not to kill a foe, Joey Zasa.)

This quote comes from the third installment of The Godfather Saga, which Michael Corleone is regarded as the Don or Godfather, but I’ll still refer to him as Michael because he will never be a true Don to me.

Hate is a strong word.  Though none of us may have hated anyone in particular, I think we have all had some encounter with hate, whether it was seeing hate cause instances in history (the Holocaust) or depicted in a film.  The end-products of hate are rarely pleasant for anyone involved.  (In the case of the Holocaust, millions of Jews died and Hitler ended up killing himself.)  We may have never had enemies, people who have wronged us in such a way to engender hate.  However, I think this piece of advice is still considerably relevant to anyone.

Michael is basically telling Vinny to not let his emotions cause him to make irrational decisions.  I’m sure we’ve all fought with someone and said something that we wouldn’t have normally said to that person – as Mean Girls puts it, “word vomit.”  In the heat of the moment, some things may be said that shouldn’t have been.  The impact is irreversible.  The word vomit or rash action could lead to extremely undersirable consequences.  For example, if Vinny kills Zasa, Vinny’s life is now at stake because Zasa has supporters that would see to Vinny’s death.


5 thoughts on “Public Enemies (or not!)

  1. Alaina, this is perfect! I agree, we sometimes make irrational decisions based on our emotions, and then end up regretting what happened later. Hate is something really powerful and can be really devastating, and that is something that should not be decided by what you are feeling just at that moment in time. Great post!

  2. I really enjoy your posts Alaina. And while I don’t consider myself a fan of the third Godfather film nearly as much as the first two… I think you picked a good line out of an unimpressive film.

    This whole notion of hate is an interesting one for each of us and I am glad you hit on that. Something I have been studying lately is the notion that… the best way to solve problems objectively is to separate the people from the problem.

    Michael (though perhaps not a real Don – I’m glad you said it) certainly said it more eloquently than I.

    I really like your posts Alaina. They are simple, interesting, and quick. That’s how we like most things in life anyway… right?

    Thanks for a fun read.

  3. It’s ironic that someone in the killing business could be so wise concerning our emotions and in particular hate. We all let our emotions color our decisions at times, and sometimes all you want to do is lash out. Keeping a cool head may be difficult and even at times seem impossible, but regressing to hate is never the option.

  4. Ma always told me never go to bed mad at someone, and I’ve really tried to live by that. Hate’s a good example, but its never a good idea to let ANY emotion cloud your judgement, because youre never as happy as you are in that moment, and youre never really that mad either. If that makes sense.

  5. Hate is one of the most powerful emotions we feel as humans. It is also the hardest to ignore and the most vicious. It eats away at us and forces us to become animalistic and irrational. However, we should never let hate cloud our judgement. Hate simply reverts us to a state of incompliance and enables us to lash out at those around us. Hate results in death, loss, and distance between people. Hate should never dictate what actions we take.

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