Monday, April 07, 2003

Funky Hate, Funky Love

In general, I realize that my political coevals—my posse of leftist friends-- and the people whose ideas I tend to gravitate to have a certain perspective… they are angry and see evil everywhere. (Of course, they don’t use the word evil. I’m not sure what word they would use, actually. They don’t like the word ‘injustice.’ Hmmm. I’ll have to ask them. Exploitation?)

It isn’t that there isn’t a reason to be angry. And it isn’t that there isn’t evil everywhere.

I fear what such anger or hatred could do to me or to all of us. Thinking about what is happening in this war could cause me to hate my own government, to hate all the media outlets, to hate those who staff and support the media outlets, to hate the people making money off all this, even to hate the misguided people who think this is anything but a horribly unjust war. To hate the politicians who are afraid of losing the next election for speaking out against the war. And especially: To hate the politicians on television and their bloated dusty gray faces and their yapping mouths that only justify what will turn out to be indiscriminate slaughter. It could become this outward ripple of hatred…it could go on to encompass millions.

When you hate, you are at the center of the ripple I suppose. Although hate is like love in that it also transports you, gives you purpose and lets you forget yourself? It is addicting and has its own special pleasure.

Some people would say this is good. It’s good to hate. Hate distances you from the hateful. Hate motivates you to act. Hate shows you are on the right side. Hate purifies us and removes the disgusting thing we despise from our soul. If I hate them, then I am not them nor like them.

I think: Hate blinds you. Hate destroys your soul with its fury and violence. Hate gives you an excuse for inhumanity. Hate can make you no better than what you hate. I am like them in one way since I am like everyone human. If I forget this I may become less human.

Oh, I guess today I could also hate those people at ANSWER that sent me this sickening and inflammatory email painting all U.S. soldiers as sadistic murderers following a policy of explicit murder. What makes me sick is that it is such an obvious attempt to politically capitalize on a tragedy. What makes me sick is that they’ll make their lemonade from the death of thousands of people—Hooray! An opportunity to show more youngsters they must get rid of capitalism! They can’t wait until more people are dead to radicalize the populace and are jumping on the bandwagon now. It was written in a disgustingly misleading way and contained deceptive statements that amount to lies. I’d post it but why bother?

Except what I experience now is mostly love instead of hate. I don’t know why. I am ashamed when I think about what my leftist friends would think about this: I have developed this strange and embarrassing secret practice of feeling love towards the people in the war and towards specific Iraqis and American soldiers who are described in the newspaper—whether they are named or unnamed. The specific words of some people (not all) or their picture gives me this love for them. I can’t explain this. It happened first when I read about this Iraqi man who cried when taken prisoner. I felt love for this man and also thought: This man is my brother as much as my own brother. I thought of my intense love for my brother and thought of this man as if he were my brother. And when I read about this Hopi girl who was taken prisoner (she even looks somewhat like my sister) I thought of my sister and loved her as if she were my sister. She was found dead. Her name was Lori Piestewa.

I love my brothers and sisters in a constant and overwhelming way. Love for them is always with me. The love that I have when I hear of a person who is in this terrible difficulty reminds me of the love for my family.

This is not something I could admit to anyone I know. Everyone I know is full of heated and complex political rhetoric and I am full of sappy emotion. It started out as hate for these people (I don’t know the names of all of them) on television and in the newspaper who said these stupid things to support the way (which we would have had anyway) and the infidel politicians who beat the drums of war.

But the hate fell away. I don’t have it anymore. I don’t care about them. I only want these people in danger to survive and not to suffer.

Love and hate are only emotions, they do nothing and have no point. This love simply comes over me and I pray for these people I read about. I know I am only imagining they are my brothers and sisters. I find it very strange.

I can’t get to the point of loving the authors of the war. I doubt I ever will. I don’t bother to hate them right now. That is all.

Love is dangerous—If my sisters and brothers are killed aren’t I supposed to hate those who made the situation that killed them? When I realize the value and beauty of someone—even someone I don’t know—and then I know that they are being killed unjustly shouldn’t I hate the killer?

The loss of who or what you love can destroy you.

I suppose you can always hate. But you don’t have to. The Iraqis who love their family members that are killed will perhaps hate the United States for killing them. In a way it might seem that the hate proves your love and without it, you must not have loved enough. You cannot blame them for hating if someone they love so much is taken away.

I’m more ashamed of my secret feeling of love than I would be if someone found out I made obscene phone calls or shot up heroin. I suppose because I see it through the eyes of someone like Chomsky or Edward Said or another postmodern identity politics person. The postmodern identity politics person would be horrified that I dare to identify with someone whose material conditions I do not share. The leftists would say I was naïve.

These people are in my head the way religion is supposed to get in your head and mess you up. I have an idea of what I would say to defend myself but again—it is exhausting. This constant assertion of one’s beliefs, opinions, argument. I stand for this, I stand for that. I’ve lost interest to some extent in even being an ‘I’ and standing for anything. I have my political analyses. I spend hours writing them out to clear my mind to function somewhat normally. I know all this talk is now pointless.

Some stories of injustice always haunt me. I read a story in high school about a man who was put in prison forever on the three strikes law although all he did was panic and drive a few feet after a policeman put a gun through the window of his car (attempted homicide—even the judge thought it was unjust). I remember a man with brain damage who was executed although he didn’t know what he was doing when he committed the crime. I remember a man who killed someone and then tried to kill himself but destroyed some of his brain. He was like a child then, and Clinton did not pardon him so he could be president. I remember a little black boy walking down the street eating a candy bar and getting shot by the New Haven Police because they said they thought the candy bar was a gun.

I remember when the U.S. army bombed the Iraqi army retreating from Kuwait and killed many thousands on the technicality that they did not officially surrender.

I don’t mistake an emotion for an action. I don’t visualize world peace and in some schizophrenic delusion think this will make world peace happen. I don’t think that my emotions will result in some miracle of salvation for anyone, that my prayers will automatically be answered. My insignificance and powerlessness in the world is glaringly apparent. All I’m left with is the idea of my own bare and sad humanity and all I see is a simple reminder that I share this with everyone.


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