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July 8th, 2013

The Hate Mongers


It occurs to me more and more that hate is at the root of the problems we’re having with our politics. And it’s not only the other guy who’s sowing hate. We’re doing it too.

Left or right, our politics are all based on hate. This would seem to indicate that whatever afflicts us isn’t going to be solved with left/right politics. First we must apply the antidote to hate throughout our society before we can even think about moving forward. Indeed, that would be the first step of our forward motion.

Several generations back, my generation rediscovered the truth in the notion that “love conquers all.” We fought many of our battles with love. We sometimes fought by placing flowers into the barrels of the weapons held on us by the police and the national guard. We called everyone “brother” or “sister,” even those who wanted to be our enemies.

I know this sounds simplistic, but it’s not.

If you think it’s simplistic, try reading some Tibetan Buddhism, which is based entirely on the concept of treating all creatures, even those who think they’re your enemies, with loving kindness. You can spend the rest of your lifetime reading and still not read everything written on the subject. If you still think this is simplistic, try controlling your hate and anger for just one day. I’ll bet you can’t make it two hours. If you’re really honest with yourself, I’ll bet you don’t make it even two minutes.

Our hate must go.

If we want a better world, we have to create it through love, not through ideology. You can scream at the right till you’re blue in the face, and all you will accomplish is to reassure them that you’re against everything they hold dear. You can insult them and call their party the “Rethuglicans” all you want, and all you’ll do is convince them that you’re at least as small minded as they.

We must quit looking at the other guy as our enemy. We must quit looking at the other side as our adversary. We must offer them compassion and understanding–what the Buddhist call “loving kindness.”

I know what you’re thinking. They’ll still hate us and they’ll see our compassion as weakness which they will try to exploit, so we will have to get angry and began hating them again to stop them.

Yup. That’s the way usually happens, but only because we let it happen that way.

Hate is a disease. We all seem to have it right now. We’ve let it become endemic. If your neighbor hates you because of your political beliefs, then your neighbor is sick and needs help. Not help seeing the world politically the way you see the world, but help overcoming the disease of hatred.

Likewise, if you hate your neighbor because of political beliefs, than you are diseased and need help. Again, the help you need does not include changing your beliefs about politics. You just need help overcoming your hatred.

If we quit hating each other. If we quit hating each other’s ideas and beliefs and start treating each other with loving kindness, our political differences will eventually work themselves out.

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