Tired of the Hate

Daisies

Pardon me while I go on a rant. I am so tired of hatefullness. I see it all the time and don’t understand it. Before anyone can accuse me of hypocrisy, let me state unequivocally that I have strong opinions and am not afraid to voice them. But you have never seen me rant that someone who’s mere ideas I oppose is “the lowest form of human life” a direct quote from a ultra-liberal “Friend” on Facebook about GOP Presidential candidate Scott Walker, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I see hate directed at Gays, blacks, Republicans, Democrats, Mexicans, Muslims, Huskies, Cougars, the list goes on and on. I’ve had some people do unspeakable hurtful things to me directly, some of these people were very close to me. I know others who suffered the same sort of treatment turn their affection around into hate. Some of these same people don’t understand why I don’t. I can’t. Its simply not in me.

I hate actions not people. Murder, rape, betrayal, and selfishness. I recognize the worst of the worst. But hate of people is too heavy a burden for me to carry. This isn’t about religion or faith, though my faith tells me to LOVE not hate, and to forgive. But its not my religion that prevents it, its just a deep seeded feeling.

I’ve been saddened by the immense growth in race hatred in the years since Obama took the White House. I didn’t vote for him, but remember in 2009 writing of my hope that his election would finally end the racial mistrust and hatred that existed. It didn’t. It has gotten worse. I think all this hatred can be fixed. But not by our current leaders. We need parents to tell kids to reject all those who enunciate hate. We need to teach our kids that the best way to persuade is with love, forgiveness, understanding and setting a good example. Nobody was ever persuaded by calling them a hateful name. Many have been persuaded by a kind word or gesture.

I believe illegal immigration is a serious problem in our country and needs to be curtailed. But it’s wrong to characterize so many illegal immigrants as “murderers, drug dealers and rapists…and I suppose some are good people” as Donald Trump has done. Yes, statistics show illegal immigrants bring a disproportionate amount of crime to our country. This is an uncontroverted fact. But the overall picture of the results of illegal immigration is the harm it causes legal Americans, yes in crime; but also in lower wages, fewer jobs, diminished social resources (i.e. benefits) and housing. That’s not hate for one group of people. That’s compassion for another group of people. Our people. Fellow Americans. There is no need to hate the illegals because they want a better life in our country. But they must do it legally, in a controlled manner in order to not hurt those to whom we owe the most; our own brothers and sisters and moms and dads.

People need not misunderstand disagreement with hatred. Too often I see people calling another a “hater” because of their views, when hate has nothing to do with it. Some one once said, “Anyone who thinks you can’t strongly disapprove of a persons actions and not hate them but love them, has never raised a teenager.” Jesus once said, “Let him among you without sin, cast the first stone”. Where is that sensibility in today’s culture? The woman who Jesus saved from a stoning didn’t get off without a reprimand. Jesus forgave her of her sin(s) then sent her away with the admonition to “sin no more”. When asked by his disciple Peter how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, “Up to seven times?” he asked. Jesus said “I say to you not seven, but seventy times seven”. That’s not religion. That’s common sense. That’s learning to live more happily.

Be strong. Be opinionated. Argue for your beliefs. But don’t hate the person who feels counter to you. Provided their beliefs don’t inhibit your ability to live and be happy…let them go. Let them live as they would see fit.

I am a much better man now than I was in years past primarily because I won’t let anger hurt me or others any more. It’s a wonderful way to live that took me too long to discover. It took someone hurting me in the most profound way to come to this way of thinking and feeling. But it’s made me better as a result. I honestly believe others can benefit as have I. (And now for some religion…) And upon embracing a life of love, peace and understanding I believe God directly intervenes and blesses you. And even if you don’t believe that…you bless yourself.

10 year anniversary Logo

Did Michael Brown get What he Deserved?

Let me start by mentioning that I get it. I get that many people are upset that a young man is dead in a senseless act of violence. I get the need and desire to assert blame and hold someone accountable for a life being taken.

Eighteen year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri August 9, 2014 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. His death sparked massive protests and riots in and around Ferguson at the time, and again last night when the county prosecuting attorney reported a Grand Jury’s verdict that Wilson was justified in the shooting.

I’m angered by the violence and senseless destruction by people who aren’t seeking justice. My guess is most of them are opportunists looking for every chance they can to be destructive and to steal. It takes a senseless violent episode and puts it on steroids. It makes a tragic situation much worse. How did the small business owners and their employees who have no job to return to today bear any responsibility for the shooting or the Grand Jury’s verdict? Explaining away such outrage as mere emotional responses to tough news is outrageous in itself. These people are thugs and criminals, not protesters; and they’re not to be respected. They’re not patriots to be viewed in the same positive light as past Americans who exercised mostly non-violent protests to convey need for change. The American tradition is not molotov cocktails, burning buildings, and assaults on police officers.

What we know about the shooting is this. Michael Brown stole a package of small cigars at a convenience store. He assaulted a store employee who tried to stop him as he left the building. Unlike what had previously been reported we now know through the Grand Jury transcripts that officer Wilson knew of this crime and suspected Brown of being the perpetrator when he came upon him and a friend of Brown, Dorian Johnson, as they walked down the middle of a street that August afternoon. We know that Wilson stopped his patrol car in the middle of the street, confronted Brown and Johnson, and that Brown attacked Wilson and tried to kill him when he tried to take the police officers gun as they wrestled inside the police cruiser. A gun shot was fired during the altercation and Brown’s hand was grazed with the bullet causing considerable bleeding. Blood was found in the car and outside on the street. And gun powder was found on Brown’s wound indicating a shot from very close proximity.

What we also know is that Brown, though only 18, was a fully grown man. He was 6-foot 4-inches and weighed 292 pounds. That’s a huge man! And angry huge men are very intimidating. I’m not as big as Brown, but at 6′ 1″ I know my temper can and has intimidated others in my past. The blood on the street indicates that Brown walked away from the confrontation in the car, but then turned around and came back at Wilson; a span of 21 feet. Wilson says Brown was attacking him again and had a fierce look on his face “as that of a demon”. That’s when Wilson fired the series of fatal shots.

By turning to walk back to the officer we know one thing. Brown was not afraid or concerned that Wilson had a gun; which leads me to ask the protesters what would you do if someone who just attacked you, tried to steal your gun and shoot you, was now coming back at you (21 feet is not just a few steps)? Would you try to talk with him, calm him down, run from him (if you could. Remember Wilson was in or near his car)? Can you seriously say you would do anything different from what Wilson did?

The death was senseless! Of this there is no debate. But it was senseless because this hulking young man committed some senseless acts including attacking a police officer who was trying to talk with or detain a suspect in a crime.

Michael Brown ought to be on Thanksgiving break from college this week, as he was planning on furthering his education. He ought to be hanging with friends and preparing to watch Thursday football and stuff what must have been an enormous appetite with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, candied yams, and whatever else his family puts on the table to celebrate that for which they are grateful. He ought to be. But he’s dead. And he’s dead because of, based on a preponderance of evidence, his own choices.

It sucks. It’s sad. It’s even maddening. It shouldn’t have happened. But until this country solves its race problems it’s going to happen again. Police and others in authority need to completely wipe out and eliminate all people responsible for truly guilty acts of unnecessary violence and discrimination. And African-Americans need to vigorously fight such people and such acts. But they shouldn’t cry wolf every time an African-American is hurt, killed, or jailed because of their own criminal behavior. Such explosive outcries only foment distrust and hatred. And its my belief this distrust and hatred is learned, and was at the forefront of Michael Brown’s mind when he took the steps toward Darren Wilson that ended his young life.

An Anniversary with Two Related Meanings

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

April 4 on any year’s calendar has two meanings to me. Both are important and both are related. To the rest of America April 4th is the day in which Doctor Martin Luther King Junior was assassinated on a motel terrace in Memphis, Tennessee, 45 years ago today. While his greatness is undeniable; his martyrdom sealed with absolute certainty that he would never be forgotten.

 

April 4th is also my wedding Anniversary. The best day of my life was when Miss Sonja Fleming agreed to love me and keep me and honor me and wear my ring for the rest of my life. Twenty-six years later we have enjoyed lots of love and traditions, made our own traditions, raised three kids and stayed together. The staying together part is wonderful and a blessing. But I think my wife would agree it wasn’t a fairy tale. As with all successful marriages we’ve overcome some challenges; though we had more than many.

 

Our 1 and only brief moment to sit during our wedding & receptionThese two anniversaries are related in that Sonja is black, and I am white. At the time of Martin Luther King’s death such a union was extremely rare, and socially unacceptable in the eyes of most Americans. In 1958 only 4% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. By 1968 that figure had only grown to 20%. At that time it was only one year removed from the U.S. Supreme Court making it legal for people of different races to wed. Remarkably there are still 16% of Americans who don’t approve of my marriage. Something I share with my children all the time is the fact that in 1987, when Sonja and I said our “I do’s”, interracial marriage was still rare and still disapproved of by most Americans. I tell my kids this, and they nod, but I can tell they haven’t a clue. How could they? But even those who are my age or older have forgotten what pioneers we were and what obstacles existed as late as 1987.

 

I maintain Martin Luther King’s death made our marriage and it’s longevity possible. His death was so horrible and so universally scorned that even the hateful racists or the indifferent idiots were forced to shut-up over changes that happened far too slowly.

 

Much to my embarrassment and frustration my father was one of the majority who didn’t approve of the marriage of a white man (especially his son) to a black woman. Eight years later my brother married a woman of Philippine decent. And my Dad showed no signs of disapproving. At the time I asked why it was wrong for me to marry a black woman but OK in his mind for my brother to marry a woman with darker skin, and asian. To his credit my father said , “You were Jackie Robinson. You showed that it’s OK”. I loved him for saying what was possibly the very best thing he could have said.

 

Funny how that happens. Things change in society. Some are decidedly bad. But some things we only think are bad at the time change is occurring. Time and example prove the changes were OK at worst, good at best. In other words, the masses are often wrong.

 

I was only four years old at the time of Martin Luther Kings death. But by the time I was 19 Ronald Reagan had signed a bill into law creating a national holiday in his name. Funny, that was opposed too.

English: Photograph of President Ronald Reagan...

President Ronald Reagan and the Signing Ceremony for Martin Luther King Holiday Legislation in 1983.

Race in this country is sadly still a huge issue. And being on the front lines of the issue for more than 26 years I can tell you how sad I find it. For there can be no denying that the ugly face of racism still exists. But I don’t believe it hampers the advancement of most African-Americans from achieving their dreams and goals for success. I do believe the belief, in and of itself, by many blacks that racism holds them back is in fact what holds them back.

 

The fact that I’m married to a black woman for 26 years and the father of three kids who society calls black does not insulate me from criticism from some in the black community for holding this belief. One need only look at the fierce attacks

Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson 

Dr. Benjamin Carson received for speaking of Conservative Christian values at the National Prayer breakfast in front of President Obama to know I’m somewhat doomed.

 

Race in this country can live up to Martin Luther King’s dream when and only when African-Americans collectively recognize that racism will never be fully eradicated. Idiots and hate have existed throughout history. But to point accusatory fingers at every person and incident and scream “racism” at every slight only frustrates everyone and keeps innocent people on the defensive and pushes them away. For instance, today’s higher rate of poverty among blacks is less the result of societal racism and more the result of the astounding rate of single-mother and teen births.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

A graph showing percentage of single mothers by race.

As of 2010 72.5% percent of black children are born to single mothers. It’s 29% for whites, 53.3% for Hispanics. Not one single white person, racist or not is responsible for this horrible fact. And it’s horrible because 64% of single mothers and their children live in poverty, regardless of race.

 

Progress has been made in race relations since the death of Martin Luther King and since the 1987 marriage of Sonja and I. A black President with a traditionally Muslim name is fair evidence of this fact. But on this day every year, I want more and better. And from this non-racist white guys perspective the African-American collective bares the burden of making this happen. Not entirely, just most of the heavy lifting.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

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