Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who do you hate?

You all know that I am against hatred, meanness, violence.  As far as I can see, we haven't gone very far in terms of eradicating that big boy's game of war with real weapons.  Dogfighting is illegal but boxing, football, hockey, and other sports that we know often lead to brain damage are not.  This is a patriarchal culture, and was founded as a violent overtaking of other humans, with the nice excuse that they weren't really human like us.  It is still patriarchal, meaning it values and rewards the aggressions of high-testoserone males in business, academia, the economy, god, they even rule the kitchens now, taking a job traditionally done by women in the service of nourishing and community and turning it into a screaming competitive hell.

Okay.  So it has started on facebook already, the vicious posting about that act of terrorism by a handful of deranged young men almost 10 years ago.  And I was in an unpleasant mood yesterday to start with.  So I got into it with someone who was deploring the very idea of "building a mosque at Ground Zero".  He had his facts all wrong - here's an article about the proposed construction at Park51 that explains what the building will house - but the issue for me was the vindictive hatred I was seeing in the comments on this post.  Self-righteous, and backed up by their idea of Christianity.  I had good experiences in my Christian youth, and that ticked me off too - Jesus did not tell us to hate one another.  So I got into it.

I restrained myself, that wasn't the issue.  But my anger surprised me somewhat - maybe it was just a high-fire day.  I often sat and listened to racism and bigotry and idiotic parroting of talk radio hatemongers from our fathers, not rising to the bait to argue or even get mad.  Maybe my long patience was just worn out.

But if I hate the bigot and assign him/her to the category of subhuman (sub me that is), am I not as bad as him? And go further - don't you know liberals who self-righteously hate the sitting ducks of the right - it used to be George W.  Now it's Sarah Palin.  In the privacy of my own livingroom I am not a model of compassion and kindness about a number of people, definitely including that Dominique Strauss-Kahn person.

If you want a spiritual exercise, think about putting some person whose politics you abhor into your lovingkindness meditation, in the spot of "enemy" or "difficult person."  If even thinking about it increases your stomach acid, well here's an opportunity, I guess.  Meanwhile, none of us should be too hard on ourselves - it doesn't help.  Lovingkindness starts with us.  Well, maybe the cat first, then us.

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