Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hatred

I've been thinking about that church shooting of the other day, and the fact that the shooter went there gunning for "liberals" who, so he believes, are ruining this country. Curious, because I'm a twin to him in one respect: I happen to believe that conservatives are ruining this country.

I don't, however, have the slightest desire to kill them. I've been searching my soul to find out whether I "hate" them. I think not. I do stereotype them, which I suppose is a soft expression of prejudice--a form of hate; and I blame them for a lot of the bad things I see happening around me. I get enraged by what I judge to be their stupidity and short-sightedness, but I try not to forget that they judge me for what they see to be mine.

Who's right? I think I am. Bu then, I'm left.

In any event, I don't own a gun. I was taught to use a .22 caliber rifle by one of my father's parishioners, when I was just a lad, and I had fun smashing flower pots. But I don't think there's a single molecule in my body that wants to kill or maim another human being. Luckily, I have never been of an age at the right moment to be called to war, so I have never had to face the question of conscientious objection--at least in other than theoretical ways.

Back to the church, though. Aside from the fact that the poor fellow was clearly insane, I'd have to attribute his action to a mix of rage and hatred. I've had moments in my life when rage has erupted to the surface, so I know it's down there, hiding. I remember one moment, as a boy, then the two came together in a fist-fight with another boy at school, when rage and hate exploded in uncontrollable fury, and the experience is still hotly vivid in my memory. I carry it around with a sense of shame and humiliation (the other boy won! I came away with a bleeding nose.)

Anyway, these random thoughts, these troubling events, this odd memories...

5 comments:

John Torcello said...

I've come to the conclusion I'm an odd sort; grew up believing (until very recently) that everyone thought the same as I do; yeah, really!...it was my discovery, in recent years, that this wasn't the case (told you I was naive); the trigger?...conservatism, in particular, neo-conservatism. Consequently, I labeled myself 'liberal'.
Like you, Peter, I have much difficulty with those who claim to adhere to conservative principles. I first went through a period of mis-trust and extreme dis-like for them. But, I found this was usurping too much of my energy and thought; not to mention, lending 'credibility' to their 'cause' through my reaction to it.
Now, I just accept the fact that in this world, this samsara, we all find ourselves playing out (or not) our unique set of situations and challenges; there are those who choose to cling to a world of their own making, sometimes imposing their 'beliefs', clinging and supposed 'righteousness' on me too. I still try 'dialogue' with them, usually to no avail...and I most often just accept they have their own set of unique situations and challenges in this life which they may or may not choose to address for themselves...I once felt an air of 'despair' about all of this...but, eventually, I came to the realization that this, too, was a form of mirror-like 'clinging' to my own judgmental feelings of righteousness for my own cause...
After all this, I try now to just accept that today is a new day, yesterday is over; and though I can foolishly try to calculate the possibilities for the future, I must have the 'faith' that I can't really know what's ahead for me at the next turn...This, I think, is the real situation and challenge for us all, conservative or liberal, if we choose to accept it.

Roger said...

IMHO, as we say, the conservatives running the country are objectively responsible for the trashing of the constitution and the economy, to say nothing of "normalizing" torture. they deserve our disdain. they earned it. they aren't merely stupid and/or shortsighted. they broke actual laws. federal laws. actual humans, a lot, have died as a result their machinations. they have lost the right to judge anyone.

that doesn't mean i have to hate them or that i agree unreservedly with democrats or the "left."

citizen of the world said...

I've been thinking about this a lot, since it occurred in the church I used to be a member of. In fact, I felt compelled to post about it for three days. I just think it such a mult-facetd problem.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I’m in agreement with you, Peter. I add that, from what little the media has reported of Jim Adkisson, may I suggest that it was not only unemployment, frustration, and rage that motivated his shooting spree. He was also an isolated and lonely individual who, although neighbors say was a nice, quiet guy, had few if any friends. Perhaps his isolation from others was as much a part of the build up of the rage that exploded in such a violent manner as anything else.

Squirl said...

It's easy to hate those with whom we disagree, and I usually do disagree with conservatives. But like begets like and I would prefer to send out love and compassion to them.