The job of an artist is to show the world itself, through their chosen medium. Painters, use paint. Some artists work in chalk or pencil. Sculptors use metal, wood, stone, or other mediums to express their ideas. Writers use their words to try and place a mirror in front of humanity. It’s our job to expose every blemish and defect we can. Artists are supposed to make you think. So, let’s think about hating each other less.
I’ve stopped watching the news. This was not something new in my life, as a matter of fact, I really stopped watching the news on a regular basis about a year ago. I do check the internet once or twice a day to see if anything happened as I can’t completely remove myself from the world. I was shocked and appalled, as all of you were, by the events in Orlando.
I thought about those events since I first read the news story. I wanted to try and put my feelings into words if I could. Maybe, along the way, help you gain some perspective on it as well.
Facebook has exploded about this incident. Everyone offering arm-chair quarterback opinions, as if they were experts in terrorism or members of an elite swat team. The White House was quick to jump on it, as was several celebrities, religious organizations, lobbyists, and all manner of beast on planet earth.
After synthesizing everything I was reading, I came to my own conclusion. Humanity doesn’t have a lack of love; it has an abundance of hate.
Ask yourself this question, “How do we define hate?” One dictionary entry suggest that hate is to dislike intensely or passionately. I’d agree with that. But what does it really mean on a day to day basis? We use the word hate all the time.
- “I hate going shopping.”
- “I hate it when they forget to bring my drink.”
- “I hate that waitress; she always stares at me.”
- “I hate going to the department of motor vehicles.”
Okay, well maybe the last one I can see. But the rest are not really reasons to hate someone or something. Sure, maybe a little annoyed. But hate?
We banter that word around so much that it seems acceptable and normal to hate things. We raise our children with the words, “I hate”. They learn that it’s alright to hate something and eventually it’s okay to hate people. Sadly, they learn to hate groups of people as well.
Hate isn’t a condition we are born with. I once saw my son playing with a bunch of Lebanese children who didn’t speak a word of English. It took them about five minutes to come up with a way to communicate through the international language of playing. Lebanese or American, it didn’t matter. None of those children had enough hate in them to dislike one another. They just saw another kid and wanted to play with them. It was beautiful.
Jesus taught to love your neighbor as you would love yourself. I think, sadly, that could be a lofty goal. Maybe we start with something more basic. Try to hate less. It starts with all of us. The next time you see a man, or woman, begging for money, try and look them in the eye and smile at them. Even if you don’t give them money, try to see them as a human being. It’s tough to hate someone while you are smiling at them. Maybe you hold your tongue when your order isn’t quite right at the restaurant. Try to see it from the waiter’s point of view. Maybe this is the worst day of their lives and your smile is really all that got them through the day.
Here’s the hard one. What groups do you ‘hate’? That man who killed those people in Orlando hated homosexuals. In my opinion, hating someone never gives you the right to kill them. I may not agree with certain aspects of certain lifestyles, but that doesn’t bar me from liking, or even loving members of that society. The shooter couldn’t see them as human beings. His hate made him blind to the humanity of his victims. Chances are, he was raised in an environment of hate. Even if he really didn’t like those people, he had an obligation to not harm them by virtue of us all belonging to the brotherhood of man.
Haters hate because it is way easier than loving someone. It’s true. Love is an active stance towards someone. Loving someone means you have to do something for them. You have to make sure they are taken care of. Hating means you distance yourself from them, they are no longer your concern because you don’t care what happens to them. Perhaps it’s possible that just not hating someone is a good middle ground to start from. Maybe, that’s the one thing that will get us away from the sad events which took place in Orlando and move us towards a different reality where we can all keep from killing one another in the streets.
I’m no saint. I have a long way to go to learn to lighten my own hate load. It’s still easier for me to hate certain groups of people than to just accept them as human beings. But I am trying. Maybe it’s something as simple as volunteering at the food bank, or maybe a refugee center. Or maybe it truly is as simple as eliminating the word ‘hate’ from our vocabulary.
-Your Humble Servant, Bryan the Writer