Last night I was surfing through Facebook, reading people’s posts about the tragedy that struck Moore, Oklahoma. 51 people – including at least 20 children – lost their lives in a massive tornado.
One poster’s assessment: “I guess Jesus doesn’t love Oklahoma after all”.
What a hateful thing to say.
Hate is everywhere. It seems to have taken up a happy home on Facebook – so much so that the social media platform seems more like a “Hatebook” than a “Facebook”.
Our neighborhood Homeowner’s Association (the voluntary, “do-something-real-for-the-neighborhood” kind of Homeowner Association) has a Facebook page. This past Halloween, a few folks expressed a legitimate concern of dealing with the “tricks” part of the holiday. One neighbor’s posted that the real problem was the African-American children that “…turned the neighborhood into Mogadishu.”
Hate isn’t only on Facebook, though. It’s in the Down Syndrome blogging community, too.
In recent efforts to raise awareness of the brutal murder of Ethan Saylor, I used the shorthand “DS” for “Down Syndrome”. Since I’m about people with Down Syndrome getting a fair shake in life, the spelling/abbreviation of a medical condition is pretty low on my list of “Things to Give a Crap About”. Judging by the hateful words emailed to me by a handful of the DS bloggers out there, you would think that I single-handedly set back the advancement of people with DS by 100 years. One DS blogger wrote that my writing was what she expected of a child and not a “seasoned attorney”.
[I’ll post more on this topic later, but excluding a handful of really cool and amazing people that have been really kind, supportive, and welcoming, much of the DS Blogger community appears just as cliquish and bullying as the stereotypical PTA Moms].
Hate loves labels: it likes having convenient little cubby holes in which it can conveniently tuck whole classes of people. If you support limited government, you’re a racist idiot taking away money from old people. If you support our President, you’re a stupid communist. If you support people’s right to marry, regardless who it is, you’re a sodomite. If you support a woman’s right to choose, you’re not a Christian. If you show any sign of mercy to a criminal with a serious mental health condition, you are weak and pathetic. Support background checks on firearms purchases and you’re a traitor to freedom. Oppose background checks and you’re a violent gun-runner.
Such hateful words and thoughts.
Hate is a learned behavior. In the first 6 months of Little Bird’s life, I’ve seen him happy, sad, angry, crabby, grumpy, joyous, excited, silly, cuddly and loving. I’ve never once seen him hate (although he didn’t seem horribly fond of bananas at first). I think someone is going to have to teach him hate later in life.
Hate is a uniquely human behavior. I’ve seen my German Shepherd happy, sad, threatened, excited, stupid, ferocious, loving, loyal and protective. I’ve never once seen her hate. In fact, there is one theory that hate developed as an evolutionary tool – so humans could rationalize the pain resulting from depriving competing tribes of scarce resources.
I’m not above Hate. There is one person in this world, the mere thought of whom fills my heart with Dark Hate.
As readily as I admit that, I also have to admit that it does nothing for me. I get nothing of value from it. My hate of this individual doesn’t make him different. It doesn’t make me better. It doesn’t make him nicer, or me less trusting. It doesn’t make him act in a more loving and supportive way to his children. It doesn’t make him more considerate of others.
All it does is cause me pain. It makes me physically ill. It keeps me from sleeping. It affects the way I eat. It makes me smoke cigarettes. It makes me think very mean thoughts.
I can’t imagine that I’m all that different from you; I can’t imagine that your hate doesn’t bring you pain. But maybe that’s where I’m wrong. I suppose its possible that hate makes certain people happier.
So let me ask – what does your hate do for you?by