Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Hate The Word "Hate"

One word I have come to despise these last several years is HATE! It seems to be used more and more all the time. It bothers me to the point where I am very conscious about how I use it. I do not use it much any more, and when I do, I stop to check myself and ask, "Do I really hate that?"

It gets thrown around everywhere and I wonder if we really think about just what it means?

According to, hate is defined as:

–verb (used with object)
1. to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.
2. to be unwilling; dislike: I hate to do it.
–verb (used without object)
3. to feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility.
4. intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility.
5. the object of extreme aversion or hostility.

It is the hostility part that bothers me. We saw it demonstrated again in Fort Hood just last Thursday. Almost immediately, the hate mongers came out and started in on how they hate all Muslims. Did we hear the same screams of hatred towards all Christians when Timothy McVeigh bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995? If we did, I don't remember it. (On a side note: he wrote a letter telling why he did it. You can read it by clicking here. I found it interesting he sent the letter to Fox News which was published almost six years to the day he bombed the building.)

If you ever have an opportunity to stand on a school playground for any length of time, just listen to the children tell each other how they hate another child because of something they may or may not have said or done. Have you ever had your sweet, little seven-year-old daughter say, "I hate vegetables!" Where did she learn to hate anything?

Is hate a learned emotion? Are we born to hate, or do we learn to hate from the people around us?

Have you ever heard yourself say, "I hate this traffic," or "I hate rainy days," or "I hate the Packers and the Yankees"? Do you really hate or are you just frustrated because you are inconvenienced or disappointed your team lost? Even former President George H.W. Bush said he hated broccoli.

Personally, there are things I hate. I hate war, violence, cancer, poverty, homelessness and racism — to name just a few. I have a much longer list of things I dislike. (He said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

Confucius said, "Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."

Are we becoming, or are we already a country of hate? If we are, what can we do to turn it around, or is it a lost cause?

I look forward to your comments.




Anonymous said...

I know what you mean...Odd that you mention Timothy McVeigh because I recall the morning he was executed. I was home alone and stood in front of the TV and wept--and prayed for his soul. Do I hate what he did? With all that is within me yes. But he was a human too, and something was very wrong with him, something snapped when he was in the military, or who knows? Only God--I told that to a friend just a few weeks ago and had never mentioned it to anyone, and, as expected, he did not understand how I could care what happened to Mr McVeigh but I did--every time I saw him on the news it was like a sadness deep within his eyes, a lost longing, something that triggered such horrific violence from his hands. And watching CNN that morning just minutes before he died I also wept thinking, what has happened to our society that we are all watching, millions of us, an execution of another human, somehow thinking it would make things right again? It never does and never will. Only forgiveness can heal.

Regarding Muslims, ironically the day after the Ft Hood incident I received a group email at work about "sending all of the Muslims back to where they came from." As a society we seem to have learned absolutely nothing from our prejudices and, as you said, HATRED instead--and it prevails on both the right and the left. May God have mercy on us all. Thank you for sharing your good words as always.

Jenni said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading it. You're definitely correct.

Matthew Smith said...

Thanks for posting this. Actually, after the Oklahoma bombing, there was a rush to pin that on Muslims, with Steve Emerson pontificating on how this or that characteristic of the bombing was a "Middle Eastern trait". There were cases of Muslim women having their hijabs ripped off in the street and at least one stabbing. In the UK, one newspaper (Today I think, which shut down in the 1990s) posted a picture of the bomb site with the headline "In the Name of Islam". Of course, we all know who did it now.

I'm a Muslim myself, and I've noticed that the "usual suspects" have rushed to blame Islam for this. Of course, the fact that individuals shooting up workplaces and schools because of personal grudges is something the USA has a long history of doesn't occur to them.

When I was at school, I remember being told not to use the word hate; the lady teacher said it is "a very strong word". In some languages, the word which translates as "hate" is not used much for that reason; words like "detest" are used instead (Portuguese is one example). One of my old friends, when she blogged at Blogger, set Haloscan, when inviting people to comment, to put "Don't hate!" in the link when there were no comments yet.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that it is not going to go away, Mike. It's been a part of everyone's lives and cultures for too many centuries. I dislike the word also and am saddened by all the acts of hatred going on in our world. Thanks for writing.

I'm Not Done Yet said...

I know, Anonymous. But, it seems like it is increasing so fast these days. The KKK is increasing it's membership numbers dramatically, as are other White supremacist skinhead groups. Hate crimes are on the rise. It's everywhere and growing.