Do you know what I hate? Hate. Â When I was young, I may or may not have said I hated one of my siblings. I remember my mother telling me that “hate” is a really strong word. I may not like the offending sibling. Â I may not even want to be around them for a while. Â But hate is a special word that should be saved for a special occasion, like this one, in which we should all gather together and hate hate.
You may vehemently disagree with me. Â You may abhor my stance on a subject, or my lack of a stance on a subject. Â But as I have said many times in this blog, some of you out there really need to get a grip on reality. Some of the language I have read from friends bordersÂ on advocacy of armed insurrection. You may not like that anyone is taking down symbolsÂ or representations thereof. Â You may be angry that these symbols are still present.Â You may be angry about theÂ way you or those of your race are treated. Or you may not even understand. You may be in favor of certain lifestyles or vehementlyÂ against. You may not like the fact that I own a gun, or you may believe I need two more. In any case, there is absolutely no reason to hate over it. Â And everyone really needs to consider what it is they are saying.
Hate isÂ NOT the opposite of love; fear is. Â What many of these people are experiencingÂ as hate is really fear. Â Fear of change. Â Fear of loss of status. Â Fear of values they don’t accept. Fear of people telling them what they can or cannot do. And while some of that fear may be valid, some of that fear is wholly irrational. People react to fear in different ways, and some of those ways are dangerous. And that is what I am afraid of right now.
I went toÂ the pool to go swimming today and there were two children of a different ethnic background than I. They were playing and having a good time. Â There was a time before I remember, thankfully long before I can remember, when these children would not have been permitted to swim in the same pool with me. Â ThereÂ was a pretty good amount of debris in the pool, as a storm had come through earlier, and I was looking at it for a little. Â I then got in the pool and started walking around the edge, following the edge and making one lap (it’s not a big pool). The kids watched me make three of four laps, then giggling, they started following me.Â I didn’t say anything to them and they didn’t say anything to me. Â We just silently kept making laps in the pool. After a while,Â we had a decent current going. Â The debris was carried to the middle. They started laughing harder when they saw what we had done and I began taking the pine needles, leaves and branches out.Â
For one, it demonstrates what people can do when they work together. It shows that we all are really just people, no matter our creed, our race, ourÂ orientations. Â In order to hate others, you need to dehumanize them, and the media, zealots, and the idiots who don’t bother to think are good at doing that. These were kids. Â Just like my kids. Â Just like your kids. We are all one, really. But even more importantly, I considered that alone, I was able to make that static body of water flow in a direction. Â When two others joined in, we created a more powerful force. Between the three of us we made all the water in that pool move with us and it followed us, and we did good with it. Â The world can be like that. We can be the force that starts the change and if others fall in, we can make big differences.
People are different, we are all different. Â I may not like what you stand for, but you are still a human being and you still have friends, family,Â neighbors, and others who you love and they love you. Instead of fearing each other, we should develop relationships, and find what we have in common. We should seek to understand, rather than to be understood. We should exercise compassion, especiallyÂ when realizing we are dealing with people who do not understand, and help them to understand.
We may not be able to change the world alone, but if enough of us push in the right direction, we can gain momentum. Â And if enough of us begin to tilt the direction in our favor, we can create a positive force. Don’t give in to fear.Â Learn to hate hate.