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  • Writer's pictureChristopher McHale

HATE IS NOT WORKING. NOW WHAT?

For the first time in human history we need to get along or perish.



Bernie Sanders says ‘hate has no place here or anywhere’ but that’s untrue. Hate very much has a place in the human heart. More than ever. It’s not enough to say go away. We have to  acknowledge who we are as a species.


Hate is a big part of who we are. It shapes us. We build nations based on it. And houses of worship too. Hate defines us as much as love.


Our digital society has supercharged our hate. We can speak instantly and without boundaries and let our hate rage. And then after awhile shove it back into a box and pretend it’s under control. Maybe write a couple of love songs. Or peace poems. Build a couple of statues. Scribble on parchment. Whatever.


The truth is our hate just simmers on a back burner while we pretend.


But here’s the good part. The miracle. Hate doesn’t work anymore. For the first time in human history hate has run out of room. The consequences of hate are fatal. Not just to our neighbors, but to ourselves as well.


No one survives our hate going forward. There simply is no way to survive in a future of hate. How many bombs can you drop? How many tanks can we roll? To where? The world has become too small. The drone in the Ukraine sucks away the air in the Bronx.


Don’t get me wrong. We are more than capable of hating ourselves into oblivion. We are really close to it in fact. But the way I see it in a world facing shrinking resources, dried up aquifers, empty oil wells, thinning air, the only way forward is acknowledging the fundamental truth of our current situation: humans need to get along to survive.


Your national anthem is not going to feed your children. You cannot build a wall high enough to trap air for your own use. The sun bakes every piece of land and the seas rise on every shore.


We’re in this together. It’s time to lower the flags. It’s time to see our differences as our superpower. I don’t know what else to say.


Gandhi walked to the sea. Martin Luther King crossed the bridge. Mandela landed on the shore. These gestures of resistance caused more profound changes than any gun.


What bridge are we willing to cross? What shore lies ahead? Down what road do we march?

I’ve read words from friends I never wanted to read. There are corrupt leaders in this world using hate for power. We’ve reached a point, haven’t we? You can feel it, can’t you? We’re right up against a line we must never cross. We never should have gotten this close to crossing it but here we are. One more step. Just one.


Or.


Look at the sun streak through the clouds .  Breathe the air. Listen to waves break across the shore. Watch the murmurations of swooping birds. The dogs zooming in circles. The laughter of children. An old couple walking down the street. A busker on the corner. Echoes of the everyday.


Stand by these things. The simple things we all share.


Hate has no place here or anywhere. When I first heard those words they struck me as naive. But they’re true in the sense that for as the first time in human history, there’s no future in hate. It just won’t work. So naive or not we’re just going to have to choose. I know what many of our leaders choose. Hate is power. But what about the rest of us? What bridge are we willing to cross? What shore lies ahead? Down what road do we march?


Love one another is not new, but what is new is love one another or perish. And our future is as stark as that.


Look, I’m no philosopher. I’ve made a mess of my life. My fancy plans were made without much thought and I paid a heavy price for all that. I wear my scapegoat status in my family as required by those I used to love unconditionally. But I have a granddaughter. She has the future in her eyes. I am her grandfather. I shaped that future with my days on earth.


I think we did a piss poor job of it. There’s not much to be proud of. But there’s still love. And where there is love there is hope. So that’s where I hang my tattered hat. At last, humans, here we are. Love is profoundly our only choice. Stand by no flag that is not raised in love and we have a shot.

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