I learned acceptance and tolerance from my grandmother, who also taught me wrong is wrong, no matter whose name it is being carried out in. Hate the sin, not the sinner is ingrained in me. “All behavior has meaning” was drummed into our heads in nursing school. And, a genuine Granola Girl, I came of age with the Woodstock generation. This was a perfect storm of circumstances that resulted in knee jerk bleeding heart liberalism.
There are some actions and beliefs, however, that are so egregious they are utterly unacceptable or understandable on any level.
Blind hatred is an evil as old as human beings: who is right, who is wrong, who do you love, who is better, who Mom likes best, an infinite number of possibilities. In my 55 years I have grown so, so sick of how we do not learn, ever, what seems so obvious to me: we are all the same. You are me. Whatever your color, your religion, your sexual orientation, your ethnic background, your birth order, we all start from the same few cells.
Sure, I know that may be oversimplifying and naïve on some levels. There are traditions and unique aspects of every culture that need to be cherished and protected. We want to have diversity. But come on. Because of hatred, how many indigenous peoples will be exterminated? How many wars will be fought to close concentration camps? How many little girls will be blown up in church? How many young men will be tied to a fence and beaten to death? How many towers will be brought down?
The other day I commented on a blogging site about the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan. The protest is perpetuating hateful stereotypes, I maintained.
But today, as part of my Commitment to Being Open-minded, I followed a link to an Islamic website, one that purported to be moderate. And there it was, hate filled rhetoric, so repugnant I felt dirty and embarrassed and afraid and I couldn’t get off fast enough.
It was the same thing all over again.
“You have to be taught to hate and fear”. It is an old song, but still so true. So where is it going to stop? Who among us, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Democrat, Republican, heterosexual, white, black, and on and on, is teaching a new lesson? We are all responsible for ending it. If we don’t, then we are responsible for continuing it.
It starts here.