Rich Wilhelm

Denounce Hate. Begin with Your Own.

In Philosophy/Creativity on November 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm

 

President-Elect Donald Trump is being called on to denounce hate crimes and threats made in his name, and to some extent he has done this. Some people might argue that these actions are not Trump’s responsibility, but when your name is being spray painted next to a swastika or along side any sort of slur or brought up in this kind of meeting, there’s a fairly good chance that it’s been your rhetoric that has inspired that activity.

So, I think we need to keep Trump’s feet to the fire on this thing. If hateful events continue, we need to keep reminding him that these people are doing these things in his name and that it is just plain wrong. Period.

At the same time, maybe we should all use this opportunity to reevaluate our own relationship with the word “hate.” It is a strong, powerful word, and I think it ought to be reserved for people and activities that truly embody evil. To that end, I have three suggestions:

  1. The use of “haters” as a synonym for “someone who does not explicitly agree with all of my actions and statements, with my lifestyle, and with my own general way of me being me” needs to be retired. People ought to be able to express disagreement without being proclaimed a “hater.” I blame Taylor Swift, though I know she didn’t originate this particular use of “hater.” But, I still like you OK anyway, Taylor.
  2. No matter how much we might harbor a visceral dislike for a certain song, movie, book, person, etc., maybe we ought to not extravagantly proclaim how much we “hate” the thing in question. Yes, indeed, there are things that I truly dislike, but going on about how much I “hate” this thing just seems silly and petty these days.
  3. Find the things you love and just pour all your focus into those things. Life is too short to waste on stuff you hate.

Case in point: for two decades, I have ranted and raved to anyone who would listen about how much I hated the song at the top of this entry. I hate the music. I hate the lyrics. I hate the song title. I hate the band’s name. I hate that goofy hat. Etc.

No more. I am formally denouncing my hatred of “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes. To 4 Non Blondes, I say, don’t look for “What’s Up” on my playlists anytime soon. But sorry for all the hate!

Retiring my “What’s Up” hate might seem silly, but given the amount of real, actual hatred going in this country, and around the world, I will no longer expend the energy necessary to “hate” a silly pop song. More importantly, now that I’ve struck down my hatred of this song, I’m going to try to move forward, and figure out where else hatred might be making me less of a human being than I could be. And, hopefully, I’ll continue to denounce the real, hardcore hatred that infects us all.

That’s what’s up with me.

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  1. You’d think that after the fiasco of the 2000 election, there would be a serious effort to change the way we elect our Presidents. The “experts” assured us that the Electoral/Popular vote disparity was unlikely to happen again. So much for the “experts”.

    I’m upset (to put it mildly) at the prospect of a President who has so little regard for the First Amendment. He should realize that it is one of the things that made America great in the first place.

    I’m also a bit baffled by his demand that the cast of “Hamilton” apologize to Mike Pence.
    In the first place, Gov. Pence was not offended. He even told his daughter that “That’s what freedom sounds like”. A good example of a father and a statesman.

    After all, Trump is said to have seen the original Broadway production of “Evita” at least six times. He must surely know that Patti LuPone, who originated the title role is famous (or notorious) for calling out audience members who are late, loud, or otherwise disrespectful.

    Hang in there, Rich.. Somehow, some way (stop me before I start singing Sondheim),
    we’ll get through this. And I have a suggestion for a sort of theme song—the “Spamalot” version of “Always Look on the Bight Side of Life”. When the world becomes surreal, silliness is often the best defense.

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Patrick F. O'Donnell

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