Let me try to illustrate the circumstances in which I am currently writing this essay.
It is 4:30 in the morning and my brain won’t stop thinking. I’m lying in bed, my dog curled up next to me giving me the occasional “stink eye”. So, reluctantly I turn on my light and roll out of bed in search of pen and paper (which in my room is not an easy task). D.O.G. wearily lifts her head and looks at me like, “You’re kidding, right…?” before she nestles her head back beneath the sheets to hide herself from the light that has awoken her from her beauty sleep; and all this simply because my brain refuses to stop thinking.
What, you may ask, could my brain possibly be thinking about that is so important to keep me awake all night? The answer is, hate.
For some reason, my brain has decided to contemplate hate in the wee hours in the morning, and well it’s having trouble understanding the point of it, and well frankly neither do I.
When I was a child I remember my mom scolding me for using the word “hate”. And I mean it was possibly in reference to broccoli or something, after all what does a child actually know about hate. But, I remember Mommy telling me then and many times throughout my life, not to use the word “hate” unless I truly understood its meaning and meant it. “The Nazis hated the Jews,” she would say; and that resulted in the mass genocide of millions of men women and children. The Nazis hated those different from themselves so much that they took mass murder to a whole new level. They figured out how to make mass genocide not only effective but efficient and even profitable as well. And I don’t know about you, but I have never come close to feeling that about another human being, ever, and I hope I never do.
I remember the feeling, the power that true hatred has only once in my entire life.
It was another night like now when I couldn’t sleep. I was on Facebook (naturally), and had clicked a link that one of my “friends” had posted. It was a link to an anti-LGBT website – the post was not in support of the site, but in warning of their message of hate. Now, my parents are gay and I love them with all my heart. I grew up surrounded by strong intelligent women, some gay, some not. Having two moms was natural to me — it’s just the way things were; and why shouldn’t it be? I had two of the most loving, caring parents that any kid could ever hope for – but I digress… So I click on the link to this anti-LGBT website of hate, I have long since forgotten the name of the site, and for the first time in life (I think I was perhaps a freshman in college), and the only time so far as I can remember, I felt the true power that real, pure, unadulterated hate can hold.
It was harrowing, I felt hollow, paralyzed. It is not something that I will ever forget. I was sitting in my living room, probably around 5 a.m., and I’m sitting on the couch my feet up on the coffee table and my laptop wresting on my knees, absorbing these comments, these thoughts and ideals and beliefs from people that honestly and wholeheartedly believed that my moms, my loving parents are evil, terrible people because of who they love. My mom came out of her room to find me on the couch shaking with hot tears running down my face, near hysteria, filled with a complete sense of fear and an absolutely clear, petrified understanding that, that was what hate was. The power, the feelings that those words had on me will never be forgotten.
For the First time in my life I truly understood what the word “hate” meant.
So here I am again at the same ungodly hour, and my thoughts turn again to this subject of hate. And yet, still, after all these years while I know I can recognize when I see it, I just don’t understand it, the concept baffles me. People the world over use God and religion as an excuse to justify, espouse, and spread their hatred like a disease, infecting everyone it touches. But most of the religions and Gods I have learned about basically boil down to peaceful, loving and caring tenets. And while most religions also have the idea of the “wrath of God”, if you believe that your God is a spiteful, hating God and not a loving God, then it is for God and alone to condemn and punish any and all that are deemed unworthy of God’s love. It is not a single person’s job in this world to do God’s job. For who are we to condemn? We are not God(s). We are not all powerful and all knowing. Who are you to be so sure you know God’s will? If you believe in God and Religion then it is only for God to do God’s will, for only is (s)he infallible in their knowledge.
The continuous and seemingly eternal fighting between religions in God’s name, it doesn’t make sense to me. Can someone please explain to me how any God would find it right and good that their people be slaughtered en masse, for that is all war is? Ever since people have believed in different gods they have been fighting and killing each other to prove that their god is the one true God. Well, who’s ever god (if any) is the one true God, when we die and our soul and life and choices are to be judged, who do you think God will judge more harshly: the person who comes with hate in their heart for those different than themselves, or the one who comes with love in their for those differences that give the world color and meaning?
In the bible, it says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Show me a perfect person, one who has committed no crime, no sin no matter how great or how small. Show me this person without blemish on their soul and I will let them freely judge every aspect of my life. But, until then what right have you to judge me? What right have you to hate me because I am different than you?
Malcolm X once said, “Do not condemn a man because he does know what you know, or think as you think, or as fast; there was a time when you did not know what you know today.” We as individuals are constantly changing. We become who we are through our life experiences; but, if we chose to carry hate in our hearts for those that are not like us what good does that do anyone, including ourselves.
It takes a lot more energy and effort to hate than it does to love. After all, we are not born innately hating, it is taught and it is learned, it is something that is fostered from birth. Hate is a living, breathing parasite that grows with its host organism and slowly consumes. It drives everything the host organism does for the rest of its miserable lonely life. Hate is unnatural; it is a learned and acquired skill. We are born into this world loving. We are born dependent on our parents love. Love is what sustains life. A parent’s love for their child is what gives that child breathe, it’s why parents are instilled with that inherent quality to protect and care for their children. Love gives life, hate takes it away. And while it can definitely be argued that our planet is grossly overpopulated, there has got to be a better way to deal with that issue than hate.
Think about all the lives lost in the name of hate, whether those lives were taken by their own hands or others; whether those lives are victims of others hate or their own self hate. How many friends and families have been victims to hatred? Have you? That night when I first truly understood what it meant to hate, was a terrifying moment. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. There is no such thing as a completely 100% evil person. I’m sorry, but they do not, have not, and most likely will not ever exist. Every person has some redeeming qualities, and while in our eyes, the good may not outweigh the evil, what good can we do by becoming them in order to eradicate them. If you truly believe in God and have faith, then you must have faith that God will take care of them when the time comes; whether that be in life or in death. You are not God. And, if you do not believe in God, and even if you do, all you can do is live life to the best way you know how and do your best to care for those you love and who care for you; to do all you can for those that matter and you love. If you do not care for a person whether it be their personality, or their lifestyle, or whatever trait of theirs that seems to have offended your delicate sensibilities, let them be and let it go. Do not concern yourself in matters that don’t concern you. If you don’t believe in gay rights, then don’t be gay. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, well don’t marry someone of the same sex. If you don’t believe in his god or hers, then don’t worship in their holy places.
Sometimes I fear that people are ignorant to the consequences that their hatred has on others. Your faith may say that homosexuality is a sin, and that the sinner is going to hell. Well, I have two loving moms, and growing up I was surrounded by a caring and supportive family, by strong parents that had to constantly work hard to protect me from the hatred that their love seemed to attract. Even though they tried with every fiber of their being to protect me from a world full of hate, they couldn’t stop it all. But, because of those instances I have learned some invaluable life lessons. I learned that words are only words. My parents have been called every derogatory name in the book, and I have been called some quite colorful things as well. My parents have been called dyke, lesbos, fags, homo, cunt, and many others, and while some of them have some truth, others don’t, and even though the accusers said them with hate, at the end of the day, they are either just stating the obvious or espousing lies. Yes, my parents are gay, they are homos and dykes, although a fag is a bundle of sticks and last I checked, my parents are flesh and blood. As for cunt, well women do have vaginas so while they do have it, they are not one. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and she is absolutely right. Words can only affect us in the manner we choose to allow them. At the end of the day what people say about you is either true or false no matter the tone or the intent behind them. If what is said is true, then it’s true; if you don’t like that truth then it is on you to change to a truth more agreeable. If what is said is false, then clearly they do not know you well enough to judge.
Hate has such profound and lasting consequences. Hate makes people see each other as less then human and so they think themselves justified in dehumanizing. But they are wrong. Scientifically we are all the same species. We share the same earth, we need substance to survive, we all feel loss and the need to belong and be loved. It doesn’t matter what God you believe in, or whether or not you believe in a god, at the end of the day we all want the same thing: life and love for ourselves and those we hold close. What right have we have we to deny that to our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, to our neighbors and friends. Hate divides us. Hate weakens us, all of us. Live and let live. Life is more beautiful when we can learn from those different from us. We need to learn to realize that it is our differences that make life interesting and worth living. We need to learn that everyone has something to offer and that just because what they offer is not for you it doesn’t make it any less important or worthy.
I do not understand why people hate. I mean I understand the concept, I just don’t understand when it became our job to dictate to others how to best live their lives. If you live a life full of love what does it matter if you make a mistake, you learn and you move on. You should not be condemned for it. And what does it say about the person who is determined to hate the way some love. Love is not hurtful; if yours is you’re doing it wrong – about that I am fairly certain. Love is a gift, a blessing. Hate is a cancer that eats away at our humanity and our ability to love until it consumes everything that is right and good and beautiful, until we are left with nothing but the empty shells of ourselves, alone with our fading memories and lost desires.
I hate hate. I hate hate so much that sometimes I have to actively force myself to stop judging someone, because I fear what that judgment might turn into if left unchecked. Honestly, I am 23-years-old and I don’t know this person I have decided to judge. I have been through some pretty bleak and harrowing times, but those experiences have helped me to define myself not others. I was brought up with the Golden Rule: “treat others how you would want them to treat you.” And I strive, everyday, to live up to that rule. I feel shame for some of the ways I see people treat each others, and why? Its 2013 and we should know better by now. I have learned from my mistakes and from the mistakes of others, after all you can make every mistake yourself, and I can promise you that I will keep making mistakes my entire life; but, I also promise that I will continue to learn from them. That is all I ask of anyone else, and there are a lot of people who refuse to hold up their end of that. And it frustrates me, and it infuriates me at times. And I just want to shake people sometimes and say, “Look. Look and SEE all the pain and suffering your hate has caused. Look at all the families you have helped to tear apart. Look at the scorch marks from your bombs. Look at all the blood you have spilt. Look at what your hatred has caused. Can’t you see you’re killing us?” Hatred will destroy us all. And when we are all gone and the last person on earth is left alone they will turn their hatred inward, they will hate themselves for what they have done. Hatred doesn’t care who or what you hate only that you do hate. Your may consume you last, but it will still consume you. STOP. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from my mistakes. Please I beg you, open your eyes and step outside yourself. Look at the world we are creating. What legacy are we leaving for our future generations? Please open your eyes and SEE. I know it can be scary and I know you won’t get it all, but that is why our differences are so important: because somewhere out there someone sees what you can’t and they can help you navigate what you don’t understand. But if you continue to hate those that are not like you then not only will they be lost forever, but so will you.
Hate divides us, it weakens us. In tragedy we may pull together and find our strength, but why must we wait for tragedy to realize our strength? How far are we willing are we willing to let this cancer that is hatred destroy us from within? Everyday hate kills. Everyday people are maimed, labeled, and suffer the horrible consequences of hate. When will we learn? When will we stop perpetuating this endless cycle? What is you breaking limit? How much are you willing to suffer, to allow those you love to suffer before you are willing to do something? How long must we all wait?
It is time to hate hate. To put an end to its destructiveness and the best way to do that is to love. Love and kindness and acceptance are the only weapons that can kill hate. It is time to end the cycle, we have all suffered enough, don’t you think? It is time to gather our strength, accept and embrace our differences and eradicate hate from our hearts. Its time we learn from our past mistakes and become better and stronger human beings. Let hate wither alone in the darkness, its hold over us disintegrating as we kill it with kindness. It is time to step into the light and embrace our differences, be grateful that we are not all the same. And once you shed the ties that hate binds you with, you can finally embrace the warmth from within and feel life radiate through our bodies once again. Hate is a cold, cunning, vile, thing that worms its way into our hearts and minds, surrounding and engulfing us. Do not let it, please put an end to it. Margaret Thatcher was quoted saying, “Watch you thoughts for the become words. Watch your words for the become actions. Watch you actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character for it becomes destiny.” No matter your opinion of this woman, you can not deny the truth in her words. Hate hate, and spread acceptance, joy and love.