“So much for the tolerant left.”
the words emblazoned across the screen. Be it in a tweet, Facebook, or slipping from the lips of a neighbor, coworker or family member.And you clench your teeth. Bite your tongue, feel the muscles between your shoulders clench and try to control your eye roll to less than migraine inducing.
How many times have we heard this refrain? How many times has it been tossed out casually to any criticism as if it’s a get out of being an asshole free card. Pre-Trump, it was the most annoying and repetitive thing we heard during debate about polarized issues. It has been supplanted by another worthless toss off statement of late.
41,511,141 is the number of times I have personally seen this tweeted
But it’s still in use without hesitation. Doing a Twitter check right now, it was last used 16 minutes ago because someone had the audacity to say Tucker Carlson should shut the fuck up.
No. Really. He should shut the fuck up.
The reality is this. The world is getting more and more polarized. There have always been two sides of the political spectrum. Left, or more liberal/progressive or right, more conservative. People fit anywhere along this line of ideology, but where it used to be some far left, some far right, and most hovering around the center, it’s not a few floating around in the middle of the pool wondering where the fuck everyone is while the left and right stand on opposite sides glaring at each other. Talk to the people on the left, and it’s the right-wing that has run headlong in to bat shit insanity. Talk to the right, and it’s the Left that’s completely lost their minds. And to be fair, neither side is completely wrong. There are some straight up wackos on both sides of the divide.
Now here is where I go forward and my personal biases come in to play. I feel that the right has shifted further from reasonable positions. I am however, an unabashed leftist. So you’re not going to get an objective position from me. Standing back, I have to admit that there are some on the progressive side that have in my opinion, completely lost their minds. Although we share a great number of ideological values, we don’t share the way to get there, nor the priorities. (I’m sorry, but free college for already privileged white kids is not at the top of my list. great idea? Yeah. Maybe we should feed, clothe and give medical care to people first.)
All that is a long-winded windup to my pitch. Which is this. We DO need to stop hating as much as we do. It comes easy. I see an eagle AVI on twitter with the name deplorable and I immediately intensely dislike the person. But should I immediately hate them? TRY AND STOP ME. Sorry that slipped out. No, I shouldn’t.
But I firmly believe that “hate” has its place. We do not need to be the tolerant left in the face of the never-ending attempts to dehumanize, control, and marginalize people of color, LGBTQIA, immigrants, the poor, and non-Christian religions (or lack thereof.)
It’s funny and not. Because it’s parody. And not.
We should not back down for one second in the face of fear mongering politicians and pundits, nor the people who have drunk deep from that toxic well and vomit it back out on every forum. In short, we should hate the hateful. We should hate the racist, the homophobe, the heartless, the unstable lunatics who believe there is a secret cabal of Obama clones running an underground network of tunnels to dig in to trailer parks and steal guns.
All to often there have been attempts to put a human face on the tiki-torch white supremacists and the confederate flag waving morons who shriek about showing respect for America by standing for the anthem while waving the flag of a defeated traitorous faction.
Now, when I originally sat down to write this piece, I was going to take a far more militant tone. But a few tweets from people I love and respect gave me pause. I will cite exactly none of them, because they know who they are and you probably don’t (but you should because they are awesome.)
“Anger is useful. Hate is not.”
My brain shrieks at that. HATE them. They deserve it. Brexiteers. Trumpsticks. Tories. The “we hate melanin” party. (I really don’t know all the names of the various groups that stand on hateful ideology.) My lizard brain wants to hate.
I’m sorry. This meme is obligatory when talking about hate. All hail the dark lord, Lucas.
When I mentioned that I still feel hate, another person kinder and wiser than me wrote “I do sometimes too… I always try to find compassion. I’m not always successful. So should we feel compassion for the people who do their best to maintain suffering in our world and nations? Pity? Hatred?
I think that what it boils down to, is that hate isn’t hate when it’s opposition to hate. I don’t really hate any individual person who voted for Trump. (Although I’ve met few in person and they may test that theory.) I do hate pretty much everything they stand for. I hate their hate.
So when they talk about the intolerant left, Fuck yeah. We must be the intolerant left. We must not stand aside on attacks on the vulnerable. We must block every attempt at taking away the rights of women. We must point the spotlight on racism and bigotry. We must stand shoulder to shoulder and say no to every single horrible thing those steeped in fear and loathing can throw.
But hate? No. We shouldn’t. And just like giving up opium, good luck getting of that cold turkey. I’m the most hateful of the group of people I was chatting with about this very topic. I’m as my partner calls me, a little over-emotive. I feel deep, hurt deep, lash out from the deep. Bigots played a role in one of the biggest losses in my life, albeit indirectly. Letting go of hatred for homophobic douchecanoes is as easy as watching The Notebook without grimacing.
But it comes from a place of honest compassion for those who don’t have the same privilege in life that I do. That are victims of what is currently the most toxic world political climate since World War 2. I think for most of us that’s the case. I think we want love to win so badly that we feel the hate of opposition to it. It’s easy to do. So if you find yourself feeling hate, remember what it is that we stand for. And stand against. There’s no hate cessation patch. And in saying that It means I have to do the same lest I be a hypocrite. I hate hypocrites.