I don’t think love is the answer. I think hate might be.
I get the whole deal about turning the other cheek About hating the sin and not the sinner.
But the politicians who are against universal background checks on all gun sales and who are against a ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the United States don’t deserve the parsing of their terrible actions from their souls. What they deserve is our hatred.
We are fools to treat this situation as an opportunity for political debate. The reason is this: On the one side you have politicians who are supposed to protect the public health (something they have no problem doing when they tell us how fast to drive and how tightly to be strapped in) but drop their responsibility when it comes to guns.
On the other side, you have the rest of us, the citizens of America who are all patiently waiting our turn to be gunned down in a public place any fool would think would be a safe place, you know, like a school or a public health department conference room.
To me, that makes debating a little stressful since I am, almost literally, ‘under the gun’ and they are protected by security details and metal detectors, police intelligence and people. They all have ‘people,’ don’t you know, folks surrounding them who almost certainly would get shot first if yet another twenty-something guy with an assault rifle decided to take aim. I don’t have that. No security, no metal detectors, no people. It’s just me. And my dogs but they would be easily dispensed with by someone with an assault rifle. So I just need a t-shirt with a bulls eye on it and I’m all set.
But back to the subject of hate.
I never bought the rap that “all you need is love (altogether now), all you need is love, love, love is all you need.” (Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour, 1967). I was part of Love But Verify, a small splinter group of cynical bystanders who knew love by itself would never cut it. For example, love – all the little flower children in Haight Ashbury putting daisies in police officers’ rifles – didn’t end the War in Vietnam. The mean SDS and Weathermen motherfuckers in old Army jackets threatening to blow things up and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and a whole bunch of other incredibly pissed off people convinced a sitting president to decide not to run for re-election.
Why? They hated the War in Vietnam. They hated Lyndon Johnson. They didn’t care if he was a child of God. They had no use for separating the sin from the sinner and, bottom line, they had no patience for another single minute of a war that brought thousands of young men home in body bags. That’s what we had, folks, every night on the national news was the latest body count. A lot like today, actually, except the bodies are local and don’t have to be flown home from SE Asia.
What fueled the protesters of the 60’s was hatred. Hatred fed them every day. It made them forget about other things, like settling down and making money. The hatred of the war was all day, all the time, it hung like old smoke on all their clothes, expressed itself in every word and action, every friendship had that one litmus test: what have you done against the war? What have you done against the war, little motherfucker? Don’t be a pretender with me. What have you done?
Yeah. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? You had to be there. One of the great beauties of being old is knowing that people could get that angry, hate that much and be so right. The hatred of millions of Americans about the war and its perpetrators saved us. Maybe hatred could save us again.
Maybe it’s time to pack up our patience and our hand-wringing and just hate politicians who decide day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year that we aren’t worth worrying about. Maybe they need to feel our hatred all day every day. Maybe we have to stow our love for later and find our truly mean, hateful selves. We need to drill down to that part of us that can be our fuel, keep us intense.
Thinking about that young man at Pulse, texting his mother I love you before he got shot, that might be all the fuel I need to keep my hatred of these irresponsible politicians going for a lifetime. How about you?
The Daily Post: Struggle