“You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!”
-Oscar Hammerstein, 1949 “South Pacific”
I love the words of this song. They are typically used to describe racism, but they are very relevant to all types of hate. You can hate people based on their lifestyle, the class they were born into, the religion they practice, the color of their shoes. Pretty much anything you wish to hate people for. This is often taught to us by our parents, teachers, peers.
Because we are living in a very politically charged moment, I want to address political hate. It is strong. I hear it in conversation, see it on tv and feel tension even on the internet. (You’ve all probably seen or been a part of a ridiculous political argument on Facebook. I know I have.)
To me, the two logical choices when I encounter people whose political beliefs are different than mine are to either A) live with the fact that we disagree or B) try to change their beliefs with logical discourse. But, is it just easier to hate them instead?
It sure seems like that’s what our society does. Either you hate former President Bush, or you hate current President Obama. You have to hate someone you disagree with, right? You can’t possibly show with your words and attitude that you genuinely respect both men while disagreeing with some or all of their policies. *Note the obvious sarcasm which is my desperate attempt to make a point.*
This is something for which I have felt disdain for quite some time. This is my warning to you that I DO NOT tolerate hearing people call other people they disagree with “evil.” So if you would like to bash and berate someone, that’s your problem. If you want to tell me WHY you think someone is making terrible decisions, then I welcome your ideas and conversation. Believe it or not, I’ve had some fruitful conversations with people of opposing ideas who’ve actually changed my mind about my political beliefs. (I know, shock of all shocks, right?)
More about what inspired this post tomorrow. Stay tuned!