A frequent theme nowadays is “Why do they hate us?” meaning why does so much of the world detest the United States. The reasons given are usually absurd: They hate our freedom or democracy. They hate us for our cultural superiority. They hate us because we are wonderful.
No. Actually the reason is simple if unpalatable. They hate us because we meddle, and have meddled. They hate us because we are the most murderous nation on the planet. They hate our insufferable smugness.
People remember slights. They may not remember them as they actually happened, but they remember them. The Civil War ended in 1865, the Federal occupation in 1877. Yet today many Southerners are still bitter, to the point that their emotional loyalty is to the South, not to Washington.
Silly? Yes, if you are from the North. Grievances matter more to those aggrieved than to the aggrievers.
In Guadalajara, near my home in Mexico, a towering monument in a traffic circle honors Los Niños Héroes, the Heroic Children. These are the little boys who, when the invading American armies attacked Chapultepec in 1847, went out to fight for their country. Avenues are named Niños Héroes all over Mexico. Few Americans even know that there was a war.