Hatred and Lovingkindness in the Election Season

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This Klansman — or Klanswoman, you can’t tell — represents the face of hatred: Hatred is cowardly and conceals its identity.

So we don’t notice when we begin to support Hatred.  It conceals itself so well, that we don’t even realize when we’re feeding it.

We don’t usually know we are hating, when we are hating.  Usually we feel like our feelings toward the hated person are justified feelings.  We feel righteous in our anger, and often there is much merit in our logical arguments against whatever-it-is we are angry about.

The trouble is, hatred has a life of its own.

So hatred may start with a political candidate.  It may start with targets that seem worthy of hate.

…but then slowly, insidiously, it makes its way into our repertoire, it becomes a basic response we have to people who frustrate us.  Once practiced, hatred grows and wriggles its way into our everyday life.

We become similar to those we hate, and similar in precisely the ways that we hate them. We become haters.  We love to hate haters, but what does that hate do to us?

The antidote for hatred is lovingkindness.

Like hatred, lovingkindness tends to grow.  It does not remain static.  If we start to turn our energies toward those which we love, if we turn our thoughts to “easy targets” for love, that behavior of loving can grow and color our daily life.

In this political season, are you hating?  Gosh, I know I sure am.  But I am trying to be aware of what that hatred can do, and to practice lovingkindness by picturing those I love, and thinking kind and caring thoughts about them.

It is a very advanced practice to think kind thoughts about those who draw our anger out, those we might end up hating.  I think I’ll wait til after the election to work on that!

At least, we can be kind to our frightened, angry, Inner Klansperson.  We can be accepting that we, too, are capable of hatred.  We do well to be kind to ourselves, forgiving of ourselves, in order that we may be at ease, and in order that we may practice lovingkindness toward others.

Which would you rather do, hate or love?  You have this choice every day.  And more so in an election year.

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6 Comments

Filed under Anger and Hate

6 responses to “Hatred and Lovingkindness in the Election Season

  1. It’s in our nature to hate but we can rise above it. One problem is that so many haters are in denial. Hate is an integral part of their identity so they won’t listen to anyone who says there is another way. A typical hater of this kind is Richard Dawkins,

    As a opposed to Jonathan Haidt who analyzes the problem instead of being a part of it,

    Both clips are worth watching if you haven’t already.

  2. Thank you. I admire Richard Dawkins, and am not sure I agree that he “hates” in the way I am talking about, but I DO find his views rigid and immune to any changing. That is ironic because he invented the word “Meme” as far as I know in his book The Selfish Gene, and understands why ideas do and don’t change. I think he, like others of his intellectual persuasion, just don’t get religiosity, just don’t really understand what it is, and perhaps are incapable of doing so. It’s as if he and people like Karen Armstrong are just wired differently.

  3. eM

    Love and kindness trumps hate every time, all of the time, now. Now, to practice!
    Thanks for the loving and kind reminder that I want to check my hate-o-meter.

  4. You’re welcome, and thank for your comments (and for checking your hate-o-meter!) 😉

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