Saturday, March 18, 2023


 I've been struggling lately with this emotion called hate. As an elementary school teacher, it is my duty to remind kids that "hate" is a very strong word and if you were to examine the thing for which you have such a big emotion, you might find that there are layers, beginning simply with "I don't like." It is a whole lot easier to get a second grader off the ledge of "don't like" than it is to try and catch them once they plummet from the heights of hate. 

Hate means you like nothing about the person place or thing. Hate means you have spent time cultivating this feeling and enriching it with other bad stuff that will turn it still darker and more infected. Hate is about as dark as one can get. Sometimes I try and cajole my young friends out of that place with synonyms like "loathe" or "despise." Adding a layer of vocabulary around that poison can sometimes have the effect of shaking something loose. 

In this spot, I have mentioned several times comedian Denis Leary's remarks about hate. Here they are again for those who may have missed it. "Racism isn't born, folks, it's taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list." A couple things about this: There are people out there who will respond with "I hate Denis Leary," which is about par for the course, but the obvious response to that would be that your hate for Denis Leary must have been learned somewhere. The other note would be that this quote comes to us from 1992. This would mean that the son Denis refers to is now a thirty-three year old man. It would probably be interesting to check in with him to see how that list his father described has changed over time. What a triumph if would be if he got over that one issue with naps and didn't hate anyone or anything. 

Or maybe he just hates being asked about it. 

Which brings me to the place where I reiterate my feelings about hate crimes. I confess that I struggled for a day or two about my feelings toward the criminals who stole our catalytic converter. I suppose I owe it to my bleeding heart upbringing that the rationalizations and eventual forgiveness that came to me is based largely on the existence of car insurance and the fact that no human beings were harmed in this theft. I continue to believe, however, that the willful taking of someone else's life must be rooted in hate. Crimes of passion? Those would seem to slide in there somewhere before the cold and premeditated taking of murder because of antipathy. Victims that don't show up as human are much easier to eliminate. Most wars occur because the other side has been diminished by hate into something easy to kill. If nations around the globe can commit hate crimes as a matter of foreign policy, why would we expect our citizens not to take that bait in their own neighborhoods?

Disagree with me if you'd like, but don't hate. 

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