Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The power of hate

I try to teach my grandchildren not to use the word "hate." One told me he understood that we shouldn't hate people but wasn't it okay to say "I hate it when my collar is too tight?" How do you answer that, and where do you draw the line? When is hate acceptable and when is it not? Unfortunately, my grandchildren and children everywhere are growing up in a world of hate.
The other day a minister I know announced she was closing her Facebook account because of all the hate she encountered. I happen to enjoy Facebook and I think it helps me tell people about me and my books, so I''m not closing my account. But I'm appalled by the hate I encounter.
This morning, after the State of the Union, it was particularly evident. A man who I occasionally spar with over politics and ethics went way over the line when he posted about "the Kenyan, B. Hussein Obama." He and I have had this discussion and he took to calling the president the half-Kenyan, apparently as a result of my arguments. But now he's regressed. It's a way of reminding people that he's not one of "us." And B. Hussein? He seems to want us to link him mentally with Sadam Hussein and perhaps Osama bin Laden. If I ask if there's a racial implication, he acts offended and says he's never heard one word about Obama's race (has he had his head in the sand?). I thought he was not only filled with hate, he was disrespectful to the president of our country. Disagree with his policies, as a vocal segment of the population does, but please don't carry it to the level of personal hate. What about the Florida politician who called for hanging President Obama? And wasn't there a call for the death of the entire Obama family? And all those calls for impeachment. I have asked on what grounds and been told he's ruining the country (vague at best) and he's violated the Constitution--I'd have to be a constitutional scholar to judge on that one, and I know these people are not scholars of any sort. This same man is compassionate about lost dogs, abused dogs, etc., and quick to praise folk music and hymns. Within the last few days he posted a tribute to Pete Seeger--had he listened to the message in Seeger's music?
State Senator Wendy Davis has come in for her share of hate, from misrepresentation of her family life to the demeaning monicker, "Abortion Barbie." Can people not say they oppose abortion without resorting to personal insults and distortions?
I happen to be a practicing Christian, which really shouldn't bear much one way or the other on this subject of hate. But so much of the hate is couched in terms of "I'm a good Christian." It embarrasses me for my religion to be so distorted. Christ said, "And of these the greatest is love." For hate and Christianity to be tied together makes me think, with fear, of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Rational disagreement is based on thought and reason; hate is a base emotion. Let there be peace. We live in times too filled with partisan hatred, and we can only move forward if we can let go of anger and hate..


Polly Iyer said...

Judy, as always, a sane and rational post. This president has brought out the worst in so many people. I saw an interview the other night of a Kansas representative that showed the man becoming unhinged with his diatribe of hate toward the President. It was a pure meltdown that left the interviewer, Rachel Maddow, almost speechless and unable to interject anything to question the man's accusations. I fear for the country and for the example these haters are presenting to the world.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your minister friend about the hate on FB. I severely pruned my friends list, getting rid of those who didn't make my life better in some way. I don't need hatemongers in my life.

Sally Jackson