Posted by: mesabimisadventures | September 15, 2010

The Hate Stops With You

Anonymity may be the downfall of our civilization.  If nothing else, it’s become the downfall of civility.  Harsh comments on an online news article, aggressive driving on an interstate, collective rage packaged up as political activism. 

When I was in college, the phrase “Mean people suck” and the black-background, white-lettered bumper stickers popped up everywhere.  Simple, not quite eloquent, but oh so true. 

I’m disheartened by the hate that surrounds all of us and I’m simply annoyed that so much of it is given off only in circumstances where people will know no consequences for their uncivilized behavior (and in case you’re wondering, yes, I did have a British accent when I said that). 

Perhaps I don’t understand the security of anonymity because I’m a redhead and I grew up in a small town.  I couldn’t drive aggressively or flick someone off because chances are somehow they would recognize my car, see a flash of red hair and know it was me.  I learned to contain my impulses, devilish as they may be.

Online it’s a little easier, because if I wanted to, I could create an alter-ego and be that commenter who has nothing of value to say, but wants to go on a non-constructive rampage towards the author or previous commenters.  I could TYPE IN ALL CAPS and shout about how Obama is One Big A$$ Mistake America or how Bush will have his own little seat locked in ice on the 9th level of Dante’s Hell.  I will accomplish nothing, but I will spread the hate.

I could spread the hate.

I could believe all of the right-wing, left-wing propaganda telling me not to believe the left-wing, right-wing propaganda.  I could get angry and venomous towards people that have never created one problem for me (“but they could!” shout the voices).  I could lump all people into one based on one subject and one subject alone.

love and fear

A few years ago I got into a political discussion/argument with my father about gay marriage.  The discussion ended quickly when he said “I thought I raised you better than that” and I stated “I didn’t realize you had tried to raise me to hate people.”

Let he who is without sin…

Hate is not a good color on you.  It’s destructive – it does not create.
You are not anonymous – you know who you are.
You cannot have a legacy built on hate.
You can only have a shadow.

You choose every day, every moment, love or fear. 

Yoda had it right after all… 

“Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering.”

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Responses

  1. What’s crazy is how you think you really know someone… I mean couldn’t know them better, then one controversial topic comes up in conversation and you realize you really had no idea. What I do know is that the generation our parents grew up in had a whole different perspective on race and gender. I imagine how different my views are than my parents, the two who raised me as best they could, and how my views may differ from my children’s as they grow older and form their own ideas about the world.

  2. I agree Heather, it’ll be interesting to see how the next generation differs from ours. We may not be physically evolving much, but it’s incredible how the culture evolves year-by-year. The world your boys are going up in is so different than the one we did – they’ll probably think some of our beliefs are just bizarre and outdated 😉

  3. I am really digging the “You are not anonymous – you know who you are.” line because I’ve seen way to many jerk face posts by ‘anonymous’.

  4. Awesome love. All I know is that living in small town northern MN was the perfect training for living in a South African village. Everyone knew what I was doing in both places and the racism was rampent in both places. I expected it is SA, and learned to make comments like “You know I just joined Peace Corps; you can’t possibly think I would agree with you.” in MN


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