Time for another episode of “Barrett’s Erratic Ramblings” (I wasn’t going to post this and then I saw the news about the killing at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin.)
The growing atmosphere of hatred, bigotry, and selfishness has become almost too toxic to tolerate. It would appear that the lofty, noble principles on which this nation was founded have been jettisoned. To which universe, I have no idea. In place of the benevolent, collaborative, and supportive “US” as in WE THE PEOPLE… is now some version of “Us and Them” and Me & Mine, More & More, & More.
But even more than that, it’s become vicious, hate-fuelled, and dangerous. I know there are people who say it’s no different from any other period in history, but I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve lived through several of those decades and never been as fearful as I am now. Yes, fearful. Without doing the research right now, I recall in the last month or so, hearing about at least seven different individuals being beaten or killed because they were perceived as being gay or lesbian.
Two teenage girls shot in the head, one dead. For no apparent reason. They did nothing wrong.
A young girl and two young boys were chased and the girl was severely beaten after the men screamed homophobic slurs.
In Nebraska, a woman’s home was broken into she was beaten up, the assailants carved words into her flesh, and spray painted hate speech on her walls.
In New York, two young men were savagely beaten for being homosexual.
In the middle of the night, a fire in front of the house awakened a man and his two roommates. The man’s car was spray painted with the word “Fag”. As he tried to extinguish the blaze, it exploded and he sustained first and second degree burns which seared his tee shirt to his body. (http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/hate-crime-fag-painted-on-gay-mans-car-then-blown-up-in-front-of-him/news/2012/07/25/44541)
(a recent reference: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/08/lesbian-couple-attacked-by-neighborhood-youth-in-alleged-hate-crime/ )
I Just Don’t Get It.
Why? When did being different in a vast and wonderfully diverse country like ours become evil?
Even without all the details, but I’m reasonably sure that none of these people had done anything to injure or in any way harass their assailants.
So here’s a tough question to the hypothetical assailants out there, “before you decide to take the liberty of deciding how “My God” will judge me, answer one question; Can you tell me any time that I have infringed on your rights, threatened you, or tried to take away your Civil liberties?”
I didn’t think so. This just hurts my heart.
Here’s my two cents. I have been a Registered nurse for over 35 years and during that time; I have cared for thousands of individuals from all walks of life. People with money and those without; people who built the systems of Health Care and people who took advantage of it.
And you know what? I didn’t like all of the people I treated, but I cared for each of them equally and without judgment because it wasn’t my place to judge them it was my job to provide care. You might have even been one of those people.
I believe that I could pick any week during my professional career and truly know I did more to alleviate pain and suffering for more people than many of our illustrious politicians and corporate leaders have ever done in their lifetimes.
How about you? How many times have you put your personal beliefs in your back pocket in order to help your neighbor?
The hypocrisy and hatred has to stop. How can we be the greatest nation on earth when all we demonstrate is bizarre divisiveness? The beauty of our democracy is the freedom each of us enjoys—without exception. We can certainly disagree without violence.
There is greatness in compassion.
Peace, seriously, live it and BE it!
23 thoughts on “Love and Hate: Discuss”
What you catalog makes me want to cry, but that is just giving into these sick individuals.
I’m proud of who I am.
I agree, Dalia, and there’s no end in sight. It’s why, now more than ever, we need to support one another in every way we can.
I’m with you.
I have been a nurse for 20 years now, and I’m right there with you. I remember caring for a man who served in Vietnam, and began a semi-rant about Asian people walking by his room. I had to take over for a Jewish nurse to deliver a shot to a man tattooed with a swastika and other assorted hate markings. It was in that same ER that I cared for a woman with the blue numbers on her forearm. I lost interest in Emergency work when I saw a 13 year old strutting through the department proud that he had been shot (minor flesh wound). I wonder if he made it to his 14th. It is amazing how much damage the ignorant can inflict, and how many people insist on being and staying ignorant.
Thanks, Susan. I hear you, I only last 7 years in ER before I was burned out. There were so many painful cases but we did what we needed to do for every patient.I’ll bet none of those patients ever realized…
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
Thoughtful piece, #1F, and interesting commentaries. The trick, as you pointed out, is to disagree without violence. I think one of the reasons that (as a nation) we have such difficulty with that is because we have so dumbed ourselves down – we don’t argue ideas, because we don’t take the time to inform ourselves thoroughly on issues, so we argue opinions. An opinion is personal. It’s harder to let go of than an abstract idea hence we become more emotionally invested, and all that emotion tends to lead to the “you’re either with me or agin’ me” mentality. I know it’s easy for me to go there and I have to constantly remind myself that I can’t approach hate with hate, lest I become the monster I fear.
I heard a great quote once and I wish I could remember who said it, that “the American male is oversexed, over-fed, over-stimulated and undereducated.” I think that sums up much of the problem. And would that it were only the males. There are plenty of women who fit the description also.
Thanks my very wise #1 Author. I was just thinking about you a few minutes ago. I hope you’re well, we really should chat sometime. Let’s make it happen!
Check out the idiot burning Cheerios in front of General Mills…omg.
Now that is priceless! Clearly, not a very bright individual who didn’t think his stunt through. He’s definitely one of the ignorant masses relying solely on narrow-minded, bigots to tell him what he should think. Good stuff!
thanks! much appreciated. Baby steps to peace.
I get really sad, too, Jeanne. In my line of work, I see smaller and less “newsworthy” examples of this erosion of common decency than I can tell you. People are just angry. And it’s not some new phenomenon stemming from the economic situation, it’s been festering for a while. I think what Gabi said is true, our sense of common decency as a whole is declining, and so predictably, the extremes grow ever more rabid. They lash out while the middle is silent. We would do well to remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller: (addition mine)
I think about these words a lot now, because it feels as though history is coming dangerously close to repeating, if we’re not careful. And let’s not forget that the first step to fascism is controlling the media message… Fox news, anyone? Community and empathy for our fellow citizens–personal connections are all that will save us. Thanks.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, (and homosexuals and the disabled)
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Thanks for your valued perspective. It helps. I worry less for myself than I do for those who come behind us, many don’t seem to recognize the gravity. Stay safe, my friend!
My friend, I was having similar thoughts to yours tonight. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve got a few more thoughts I’ll be adding to the conversation in my morning post.
Lynette, as a German I have been pointing out now for some time how history seems to be set on a course to repeat itself. Hitler (and his propaganda cronie Goebbels) started with bizarre hate speeches and of course you had his manifest “Mein Kampf” and educated people didn’t took that seriously. So Hitler came to power and used it to turn a democracy into his Nazi-terror. If you look at the parallels its frightening and Niemoeller comes to my mind quite often: There is a fine line between freedom of speech and hate mongering and I hope the US won’t discover the hard way that some people mean what they say – may it ever be so outlandish.
Thanks, Henriette!We need to pay attention and be proactive.
Thanks, Henriette. I appreciate your thoughts.
Henriette, that is my fervent hope as well. Thanks
I think that the hate in the world has always been there. I think we hear more about it than we did before because the victims of hate, who would have been afraid to report the crimes against them in the past, are now standing up and fighting back and exposing the haters. Forty years ago the crimes you cited would have been blamed on the victims. Now the community and the authorities stand with the victims to bring the haters to justice. Hate will not go away. It is too carefully cultivated. What is going away is the public acceptance of Hate. For me the day it becomes unacceptable everywhere can’t come fast enough.
You may be right, but I think the 24 hours news cycle and instant communication to world events has sharpened the fear ratio. Not to mention the blatant and protracted “fear mongering”. People are much more suspicious of strangers or any belief that is not their own. Rather than educate themselves, they lash out reflectively. Still scary.
We live in a society of fear and fear includes hating what is different from us. One side lies, the other side does nothing to stop it. Free speech has become an excuse for hatred and intolerance, and “the right to my opinion” has trumped common decency. I try hard not to, but I find myself giving in to despair and giving up on humanity. Almost.
I know exactly what you mean, thanks, Gabi.