11/12: On Hate

As I'm sure none of you noticed, I didn't publish a blog post on election day. Instead, I chose to watch Sam Raimi's Army Of Darkness and try to ignore the world because I knew the worst was going to happen that night, and I couldn't deal with the anxiety of a slow motion realization. I know exactly what lies in the hearts of the angry white folks who mobilized (and demobilized) to elect our new president-elect because, for a lot of my life, I have been one. And I knew that the voters would lash out in the only way they felt would get noticed.

I'm not sure whether people knew that the papers they filled out would directly damage the community I work in. I can't know whether they thought that their signatures would make the a third grader weep because she is afraid her sickly grandmother will be deported. I would guess that their filling in the bubble didn't come with images of a school yard filled with more silence than noise, more children thinking than there were playing. 

And yet, all of those things happened.

When I was back in high school, I remember reading an argument about reproductive rights. One voice argued that something based around reproductive policy would give women the freedom to make their own choice in the long run. That made a lot of sense to me, because I, of course, was a young progressive who wanted justice long-term.

The countering voice agreed that that would be best, but then asked one question: who are we to ask the millions of people suffering to wait? 

I personally am a believer and practician of Love, but I've been thinking recently about what to do when so many Americans based their vote on hate of the Other without considering the individuals they hate. Anger and rage are such radical human emotions that I can't eliminate them, nor should I. And yet, I cannot abide such a statement that evokes such visceral suffering at the mere mention of our next president's name. Is it enough to teach the people I can to love each other, or should I focus my energy on something counterintuitive? 

Because right now, Americans need to learn to be more responsible with our hate.

We can still lash out in anger, say what really gets to us, air it all out (if it is safe to do so; free  speech is quite a privilege these days for the oppressed.) Releasing pressure is how we prevent ourselves from destruction. But when that steam becomes something that is more about someone else than yourself, targeted at specific groups of people, when it burns the children, it becomes something evil. Take the time to seek understanding in your catharsis. While we all have the right to speak, no person has the right to injure with their words. 

And if your words hurt others, or you sit back while someone you know or knowingly support does, then you are letting your anger control you. You are letting your anger control the nation.

And if you tell me something about relaxing, how historically things are going to get better down the line, I will respond, "Maybe." And then I'll ask you one question:

"Who are you to ask us to wait?"