“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.” ~Booker T. Washington, American educator, author, and Presidential advisor
I’ve noticed something of late that disturbs me greatly.
So much so that I’ve got to write about it.
It’s a pervasive meanness, a lack of civility, a raging anger, and hate that seems to cross all age, gender, race, and socioeconomic boundaries. It’s prevalent on social media, of course, as people seem to think anonymity there provides a cloak of protection (guess they don’t know, or don’t care, that stuff on the Internet never goes away — unless you’re trying to write a novel, in which case you’d better save and save often!)
I’ve noticed it on TV, sports, podcasts, comedy acts, neighborhoods, cities, and even homes. And you can’t miss the meanness if you follow the political scene, where those on the outside scramble to get in, and those on the inside grapple to stay there.
“Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.” ~Henry Emerson Fosdick, American pastor
I wonder if countries outside the U.S have fallen victim to hate like this, or have they managed to escape its grasp?
I wonder if this pandemic hasn’t succeeded in worsening the hate, perhaps because no longer can humans get close to one another, no more hugs and handshakes, no more High Fives — and unifying activities like dining out, movies, music, theater, and church have been interrupted.
Instead, we’re forced to view each other with suspicion and distaste — Has she got COVID? Does he have a cough? Even if we haven’t seen someone in months, we shrink back from touch and gauge the distance between us and them.
“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.” ~Eldridge Cleaver, American writer and political activist
There are more times than I can count where I turn off the noisy devices with their hollering, vindictive, angry voices. I’ve found myself unfollowing those who try to shove their angry opinions down my throat (perhaps they pride themselves on their sphere of influence, but real dialog comes only when minds and hearts are open to exchanging ideas.)
And really, haven’t they heard that it’s okay to disagree, but it’s not okay to be disagreeable?
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr., American minister and Civil Rights activist
My mother was of the generation that taught their children, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
It’s a good rule to follow, and it’s never gotten me in trouble.
Too bad we’ve chosen to toss it out the window in our efforts to be heard, to stand out from the crowd, to one-up each other in who can be the meanest.
Everybody is entitled to their opinion. But “one convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”
Peace has to start somewhere. If each of us, upon arising, would remind ourselves to err on the side of kindness, maybe we’d make an impact.
Maybe some of the hate and meanness would go away.
What do you think?
“Hate is a fire that consumes the altar upon which it burns.” ~James Lendall Basford, American aphorist