I wrote this several months ago, but haven't posted it yet because it sounded a little preachier than I normally like to get. I'm also not entirely convinced I believe everything I've written here or live by it as much I profess to, but... as I haven't had time to write anything else today, I thought I'd bring it out and post it. Seems relevant to election season.
When I was in high school, I had a teacher named Mr. Marth, except that we all called him by his first name because it hadn’t been too long ago that he’d been a student at Benet, that and his younger sister Sharon was in my class so he felt more like a peer than a teacher. I can remember what he looked like, that on the religious retreats he snored so loud you could hear him several rooms over, and that his birthday was April 4, but I can’t remember his first name, even though we called him by it. Maybe it’s just too early and I’m tired.
Anyway, whenever someone would flippantly use the word “hate” Mr. Marth (Ray! His name was Ray. I knew it would come to me), Ray would say “Hate. It’s a powerful emotion. It must burn you up inside.” He’d say it rather deadpan and it came off humorous while at the same time a pointed critique/warning about the word “hate” and ultimately hate itself.
I often hear those words in my head when someone says they “hate” something or someone, and yet I rarely speak them aloud to the person even though I believe it. I have little use for hate, the emotion or the word. I may dislike, be annoyed by, or not want to be around certain things or people, but rarely do I wish them any real harm or ill will. I try not to dwell on it. I let it go.
Hate is an easy emotion, a lazy emotion. Rather than exploring the root of a problem, it’s easier to chalk it up to hate, rather than risk any self examination that might reveal faults in oneself, or worse yet, rather than risk examining another person’s perspective and realizing their actions make a logical sense and probably weren’t maliciously directed towards you in the first place.
I wouldn’t banish the word or the emotion. If hate is the opposite of love, then love couldn’t exist without hate, and that would be truly tragic. I still don’t believe in hate. I don’t see the point of it. It doesn’t solve any problems. It just creates more. It’s destructive, not constructive. It reeks of ignorance and a lack of empathy.
But someone might say “well I don’t really mean that I hate so-and-so or such-and-such.” Then why did you say it? Say what you mean and mean what you say. Now, I’m all for a little hyperbole every now and then for dramatic effect, but “hate” is a word I don’t fuck with. Because it is a powerful emotion and it will burn you up inside.
I need to start saying that more, just like Ray did.
Un-Abridged Closing Night: Let It Snow! Austin, MN
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