Monday, June 13, 2016

Hate Is A Four Letter Word

This last week or so has been filled with emotionally exhausting events, at least, I have found them so.

The Stanford Rapist

If you've been living in a cave, perhaps you were not aware there was a young rapist at Stanford University who sexually assaulted an incapacitated young woman behind a dumpster. He was stopped by two young men on bicycles, arrested and convicted of three felonies, and then the judge decided his bright future shouldn't be marred by too much time behind bars.

The young woman - extraordinarily bright and articulate and brave. The rapist, who may have also taken photos of her breasts during the assault to send to his friends, using a third party app so they could be deleted, because who doesn't? seems to be an entitled sociopath who also swims real fast. The douchebag father of the rapist - also an entitled prick.

I've been pleased with most of the discussion on the subject, which puts the blame squarely on the rapist, with some on the father, and a generous helping for Judge Aaron Persky, who didn't feel the lad's bright future should be tarnished by excessive punishment. (You can support the recall campaign here.)

But one troubling note for me is the level of hate some have for this young man. Even if he IS a worthless excuse for a human being, IMO, he does not deserve "street justice" in the form of being repeatedly raped in jail. NOBODY deserves to be raped. And as angry as I am with his actions and attitudes, I am also puzzled by them as well. I want to understand why some men and women grow up to think they can take whatever they want.

Hillary Clinton Becoming Presumptive Nominee of the Democratic Party

Last Tuesday, California voted, and to the disappointment and in some cases, denial, by many vocal supporters of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Rodham Clinton won the state and became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party.  No, it's not because all votes for Bernie weren't counted. Yes, it's an historic moment even if women from minor parties have run for President in the past, or been candidates in major parties, like Shirley Chisholm and Elizabeth Dole.

I "get" that some people dislike and/or fear Hillary Clinton. Some  have genuine issues with her policies and actions. Others have fallen for the lies and propaganda spread by certain political factions for years, on the grounds that if something is repeated enough times, it must be true. And still others (including some women) are afraid of a strong powerful woman, because, well, she's a WOMAN. For many of us, watching criticism of HRC be based on her wardrobe, her hair, her voice - while no male candidate has been subject to the same criticisms, it is obvious that misogyny is still alive and well.

I don't know what the answer is, except to hope that some people will come to see that their fear and hate isn't helping anyone, not even themselves.

Pulse, Orlando

A young Muslim man armed with a semi-automatic rifle entered an LGBT nightclub and began shooting people on June 11. As of right now, 50 are dead, more than 50 additional people wounded. Why? Hate, fear. Terrorism is looking less and less likely, homophobia more and more likely. Closeted homosexual feelings and self-loathing, perhaps?

It feels to me almost like there is an epidemic of hate, of angry, shouting people who don't want to hear or acknowledge the humanity of others. Like it's influenza, or an alien entity, it's as if people don't feel safe unless they hate anyone or anything that is different or new or whatever, this miasmic THING is traveling around the United States, maybe the whole world, all red-faced and pointy-fingered at those people, over there, who are ruining it for the rest of us.

Surely we can do better. Surely we can look for our shared humanity, for ways to help one another, for ways to understand one another. Call me a sentimental sap, but I still believe.

Do you believe?
Do you have any thoughts on the raging anger?
What can we do to spread love instead of hate?