joemygod.com asked yesterday what, if any, resolution we were making for the new year. Lots and lots of fun, serious, interesting, and cordial responses. I was surprised that mine (as of noon on January 1, 2016) was voted up by 44 people...quite a surprise.
"Two things: My anger toward our enemies has evolved into hate. I need to get rid of that, because I see what hate has done to them. I'd rather not become like that. I intend to keep my anger, but I have to drop the hate."
The other was to get '23 Revue up and running...a workshop, recording, something, and maybe not.
As for the first, I thought I was just admitting that in spite of 2015 being a remarkable, unthinkably wondrous year for gay equality, the latter half of the year was a time I found my reactions to those who think I am subhuman or that the United States is a fundamentalist xn nation or that my tribe and I deserve death no longer just being anger but verging on hate and then actually hating them as they hate me.
My mother was not an abusive person. I was spanked, yes, but not several times a week and not beyond a couple of swats on my tush. It was punishment because I was doing something wrong or bad. It worked. I think I'm better because of that discipline. One day I was mouthing off about something...I honestly don't know what...and I said that I hated something. Suddenly, I felt her open palm whack me on the cheek. It didn't hurt, but the surprise made me listen. "'Hate' is a horrible word," she told me. "Don't ever use it until you know what it means."
I have no idea what sparked her response. We were white, part of a respected family, Presbyterian, owners of a family business that about every farmer used. I never asked her where that reprimand came from, but she clearly meant it.
Through the years I've come to know what hate is and what it means. I've experienced it. I've had it directed at me and my tribe. I see it and hear it in The Truly Religious, the candidates for the republican presidential candidates and in those who support them. "Hate The Fags" has been a prime motivator for many for decades...centuries, even. The bible cherry pickers make it clear what they are "told by God" to do...hate, destroy, kill, keep us down.
The last few months, their rallying cries have become more strident, their fear mongering more horrible, their hate more ferocious, their lies even more unabashed. Why is the equality of all US citizens such a horrible reality for them? Why can't they read and understand the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment? Why can't they read, think, be less malleable?
I crossed the line at some point. Nothing specific, everything in general. I realized that what I was thinking, what I was replying on JoeMyGod, the way I was starting to react...hate. Worse, I didn't feel Mother's slap on my face. I felt I knew "hate" well enough to use it, finally, and to dish it back.
And then maybe I didn't feel her slap, but I saw what was happening. I was becoming a gay One Of Them. I could see what it was doing to a large part of our population and I didn't want to be like that. The hateful, fearful, happy to be unthinking sons of bitches are lazy, lulled into a sense that those who are different are dangerous. Hate, fear, prejudice, ignorance...they grow, but they grow like a cancer grows, not like a healthy organism. I stopped drinking. I stopped smoking. It was really hard to stop doing those things because I'd been doing them for so long. I thought if I stopped hating now before it became part of my life it would be less difficult to discard it.
Hate, out. What I don't want to lose, though, is my anger. Anger at the lies, hatred, stupidity, demagoguery, misuse of religion (the difference between xn fundamentalists and ISIS is only that the xn taliban hasn't put united action together), an intentional misreading of the US Constitution, and the growing belief that they are martyrs, that they are being stifled, that their rights are being trampled. I am angry at their pig shit. I must get away from hating them. There are other ways to view them; I must find them.
Anger brings about action. I'll be 70 later this year, so my physical activist years are behind me. That doesn't mean I can't do anything. It's my life that's being trampled. It's people like me who are being harmed, damaged by ignorant sheeple. I will maintain my anger and act accordingly. Hate? No. It makes you ugly, disgusting, and willingly ignorant right to the core. I can do better. I will do better.
And maybe get to see or hear a production of '23 Revue.