Preface: This article was written long before I wrote: “Haters & Hate Speech – Doncha Just Hate It!” Even though the content is similar, I have decided to leave since there are differences, and it clearly reflects my state of awareness of our culture at different times.
I doubt that there has been another time in our history when the word “hate” has been used more often. The apparent reason any strong word becomes so heavily used is the broad availability of daily communication resources, along with the diminishing vocabulary of the average person. When words were primarily spoken or written in books, letters, or newspapers, people thought about what they said within the limitations of politeness. Now, with the internet, social media, and all sorts of cable TV shows, someone will coin a buzzword or blurt something out before thinking, and the expression or word will catch on and suddenly go viral. Some words and expressions may come and go. Others continue to be overused.
When running across these, I look at my understanding of the word. Lately, I have heard the word “hate” used excessively. By definition, “hate” means “loathing and aversion toward something or someone with great intensity.” I searched my memory to see if I could find where I had felt that against man or beast. Um… mosquitoes, perhaps?
Certainly “aversion,” but “loathing”? No. Look as I might, I couldn’t find any instance where I felt hate toward any person or thing. I must say, I would “hate” to see an instance where I had felt hate itself, especially toward an individual. After all, I consider myself a good person. I’m sure there are many people who feel hate in some emotional moment. Perhaps some feel it toward some person or subject for their entire life. I guess I am lucky.
Once planted in a person’s mind, the seed of hate can seek out evidence and incidents to reinforce the emotion festering in that mind. Most of us have seen this type of hate in another at some point in our lives.
The use of hateful incitement has become quite common as a political or social tool to further the agenda of individuals or groups.
Hate itself can be quite a powerful tool. I have the means to destroy nations and civilizations. It can destroy the very soul of the person doing the hating. Thus, it is not surprising that in our current divisive era, this word is being used so commonly as a tool, whether regarding the transgender bathroom issue, one’s political affiliation, the election results, or some other current hot topic. Fomenting hate in others can be used as a means to get any agenda forward. It is bad enough that some people may hate another, but should anyone use it to incite others to get their own way or just to watch the drama unfold?
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is a concept many of us grew up with. Can you love yourself and hate your neighbor at the same time? Can these two powerful emotions co-exist? I think not. If you hate others, you don’t truly love yourself. The first step to stopping hate is getting to know an individual in the group or community one opposes. The result may surprise you.