Hate is easy; fear is easy.
If you believe in the devil or any other inclinations toward evil, today there are great tools for them. Start with ignorance, and build on emotions and shallow thoughts. The next thing you know, someone has done something stupid and it’s the top headline.
I wrote the other day about pigeonholing people. Pigeonholing is a great foundation for hate and fear; if you never see anyone as an individual, but always as a member of some cliché, then it’s easy to react—especially if you’re an idiot. Those whites! Those blacks! Those cops! Those millionaires! Those immigrants!
I’m going to get pretty direct, so if your ego is fragile, maybe you’d better change web pages.
My father was a police officer for over twenty years—retired as a lieutenant; he didn’t talk about it beyond close family, but even though he was required to carry a weapon on duty and off, he was proud—yes PROUD—that he had NEVER fired his weapon except at the target range throughout his entire career. Never.
That is the attitude we need. My father had his biases and flaws—as do we all—but they were never expressed through a weapon. When he shared that with me, I was awestruck. He’s a hero, at least to me.
On the other hand, if your ego is so fragile that an insult makes you respond with gunfire—you’re a wimp; you’re a pathetic, insignificant little wimp.
How do the rest of us move forward? We need to present ourselves as civilized, responsible citizens. We need to act without fear. Why? First, it’s the right thing to do. Second, it’s who we are. Third, it’s being recorded on video somewhere by someone and will be on the internet ten minutes from now.
Yes, some of us will get screwed. Rosa Parks got screwed. Dr. Martin Luther King got screwed. Emmett Till got screwed. The Jews, Romas, and a variety of others during the Nazi regime got screwed. Mahatma Gandhi got screwed. Malcolm X got screwed. Caesar Chavez got screwed. If you or I get screwed, what a great team to join!
So, how do we avoid getting screwed? Let us all commit to seeing every other human as an individual, every day. Let us try to accept that individual as they are; if we cannot we will not ascribe their attributes to others who share some random similarity.
Today, we need to draw the line. Like the movie “Network,” we need to say, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
Then we need to reach out to one another and build on what we have in common—what binds us. That is what makes us strong.
I can commit to that. I have seen so much of misunderstandings and hatred lately, on the news and in my own life. And I refuse to accept it as the way a human being should be behaving towards any person encountered. I admire and appreciate the insight you have shared in this post.
Steve, I totally and absolutely agree with you about hate, fear, ego, and even evil. Your examples of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, et al, are those who were “bloodied” because “they went through the fence first”—so the rest of us could follow. And I love your example of your dad—who didn’t have to use his firearm in all the years he was a police officer. Your dad’s experience reminds me of my 40 years in medicine without seeing much death…which is not to say it did not occur around me.
You speak of being “civilized”—perhaps meaning the taming or domesticating of our soul’s raw passions or even our innate selfishness. My dad believed we learn this at an early age at home, and if we cannot live in the community of home and parents, how can we ever expect to live in the community of man in society?
Home and parents is the root of belonging– the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. Think of it for just a second, Steve: Our life as a kid at home is a REHEARSAL for our life in the future. How we respect the authority of home and parents is how we respect the authority of school, teachers, ministers, business owners, librarians, and police officers, etc. If we are respectful, we will be respected. Today is our REHEARSAL for our tomorrow.
And love, friendship and old-age…one leads to the other in the rehearsal of life. BUT, unless we are rooted in belonging–selfishness, entitlement and narcissism can turn even a loved one into a FUNCTION. When our loved ones are not with us, we do not think the same of them as when they are close to us. Subtly our ego begins to deny their goodness and turn them into a function. And when a person functions less and less, we lead them to where they do not wish to go…to where we are not.
With great respect and honesty, I am sick and tired of apologizing for American values and our justice system, and for giving respect to Hispanics because one is Hispanic, or one is Black, White, Asian, Muslim, Jewish or Catholic. Our Constitution does not promise respect for Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, Yellows, Catholics, Protestants, or Jews. It does not demand rights for black identity, but universal rights…natural (God) and political (Constitutional). It guarantees the protection of the rights of every individual human being. When are we as an entire people of America going to get it that our Constitution is about “human rights” simply?
Home is where individual, universal human rights begin.
Steve, we are the pawns of others. We are manipulated by The Press, Government and Political correctness. Personally I think Blue Lives matter. comes first. I am feed up with all the rest of the noise.The more the BLM crowd makes noise the more they alienate themselves. I remember the late sixties and it seems worse than that now. Sad thing is our decisive “leader” is not leading but is adding to the situation.I don’t need to revisit the 1968 again. I see this in several of my friends, We don’t want to be labeled anything because we think that the behavior of a few is representative of a whole group. The one percenters should not drive the bus as other groups have forced their views in our society. I’m just feed up. I will back Blue Lives Matter first and foremost. Poor choices and decisions should not prevail. John Locke’s reasonable man, where are you?
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Wonderful message! We do need to be more precise with our convictions and deal with them, together! We do need to be strong in our love we offer up because it is the right thing to do!