Authors of Hate

As an author, my goals are to entertain, to enlighten, to educate, to engage, and at times, to challenge. One thing I try never to do is to incite hate.

We traditionally tend to think of authors as those who write books or plays. As professionals who make a living by writing. But in this day and age, anyone who writes a blog, an email, a text, a Tweet, a Facebook post, a customer review, or an online commentary, is in fact an author; an author whose oeuvre is as indelible and permanent as the authors of To Kill a Mockingbird or Mein Kampf.

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In today’s Salt Lake Tribune a friend of mine, Dave Folland, had a letter to the editor published. Dave’s a retired pediatrician who now volunteers his time and energy to Citizens Climate Lobby, a wonderful, politically nonpartisan grassroots organization with the goal of creating the political will to pass climate change legislation in Congress. (In the interest of full disclosure, I too am a member of CCL.)

CCL recently presented Rep. Mia Love, a Republican Congresswoman of Utah, an award for being an active member of the House Climate Solutions Caucus, one of the few truly bipartisan bodies in Congress. Indeed, in order to become a member, a Democrat and Republican must join simultaneously. To date there are 21 from each party, working constructively, side by side, on their climate agenda. Dave’s letter was an endorsement of the award bestowed upon Rep. Love.

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Rep. Love after receiving the CCL award.

Personally, while I appreciate Rep. Love’s courage for going against her party’s grain and speaking forthrightly about the challenges of climate change, I don’t think to date her actual actions have merited this particular award any more than dozens of others. Though it should be acknowledged that for a Republican politician in Utah, the country’s reddest state, to take even that level of a public position requires a degree of courage rarely demonstrated by our other representative, I disagree with her on almost every other issue. That, however, in no way condones the kind of repugnant invective hurled at her and Dave in the online comments by my ideological comrades. Here are but a few:

If she acknowledges the problem, but fails to criticize Trump’s withdrawal from Paris Accord or take any other action, I would suggest instead that we send her a bottle of Ivanka’s Complicit perfume.

Typical spineless Republican hypocrite.

So Doc, are you going to be handing out awards to Lee, Hatch, Chaffetz, Stewart, Love and environmental terrorist Rob Bishop?

Jeez Doc, you really puckered up for that bit of tripe!

One good act in a swarm of evil doesn’t make her decent.

     More like a swarm of Mia sitting on her keister.

One possibility: Mia is conceived in Haiti and ends up in Utah and declares it … “Feels cooler to Me!”

The Doc must be wrangling for federal funds or a job, otherwise why write this fantasy LTE. Come on, Doc, what’s your angle?

I feel her “climate” award is nothing but a phony pat on her back by a bunch of pathetic lap dogs.

Yup! just another piece of S—-

I‘ll tell you what. The minute she walks into the Oval office and tells Donald Trump that he’s a horses a** for his climate denial dementia, I will be glad to send her a thank you note.

     If she were to walk in to the oval office, you know Trump will asker her “do you want to blow me?”

     Mia then asks, “Is there an award for that?”

     More likely he’d ask her why she was late emptying the trash cans in the oval office. I’m   sure Donnie T. has no clue that Mia “tap-dancing” Love is an actual congress person.

And these are the people with whom I agree on the issue of climate change. Think about those who disagree and read vitriol like this.

Is there really any surprise that a deeply troubled James Hodgkinson went on a rampage and shot Sen. Scalise? The real wonder is that this doesn’t happen everyday, though in the future I fear it will. It appears Americans, from both the right and the left, have learned absolutely nothing from the Scalise shooting about the connection between hateful speech and violent action. Yes, there was a 24-hour ceasefire with much hand wringing. Now, after the obligatory platitudes we’re back to our daily routine of character assassination.

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James Hodgkinson

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Sen. Steve Scalise

To my friends on the left, if we want to encourage Rep. Love to do more, to work with members of the Climate Solutions Caucus on crafting meaningful climate legislation, rather than insult and condemn with revolting language, what would be so objectionable to saying, “Yes, so far you’ve taken a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction”? What harm is there in saying that? Is that not macho enough? To my friends on both ends of the political spectrum, would it not be better to try to heal wounds, to be the adult in the room, to be the first to say “enough,” to painstakingly attempt to forge consensus, instead of burning everyone with whom we disagree at the stake? Is it not possible to turn a ceasefire into a truce into a lasting peace?

Can’t we hold our pens a moment longer and think before we write? After all, we’re all authors here, and authors can choose the words they use.

 

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8 thoughts on “Authors of Hate

  1. frances dearman

    Well said, Jerry. Well said.

    The church I currently serve lights its chalice on Sundays to the words that love is a better force for good in the world than fear–they are the inheritors of the Universalist tradition, gathered on site since 1880.

    I am fond of saying that frightened, angry people do ugly things. Where vitriol becomes normalized, it is fed by and feeds a culture of violence that emboldens bigotry, and, frankly, misogyny. Hatred loves a soft target.

    Churches I serve have learned to insert a “musical response” of 2-3 minutes immediately following any sermon, so that folks can have a quiet pause to think about the sermon before we proceed to close out the service.

    While Canada has its own issues of violence and racism, there is also the weather to calm us down: one day, your car is gonna break down in the dead of winter, at twenty below, and there will be a light across the fields, the only front porch for several miles, and when I drag my sorry butt through a couple hundred yards of knee deep snow, wondering if I’ll make that front porch light, or if they’ll even find my frozen corpse before spring thaw, I truly do not wish to see the door opened by someone whose ace I trumped the week before…….

    This I believe explains the supposed Canadian cultural norm of civility. Also the French fact; because of Quebec, we always know there will always be another opinion and point of view than our own, even before factoring in immigration. And btw, happy solstice, aka national aboriginal day, aka honoring refugees day, shortly followed by St,. Jean Baptiste Day in Quebec Province, which is celebrated by lighting bonfires at the riverbank.

    Resilience, Jerry. The Rev. Berenice King is not the most liberal person on the planet, but her ten points for resilience and resistance I find helpful; especially, I lift up her exhortation to support the arts at a time when those who should lift them up are shooting them down.

    You do that Jerry, you are a force for resilience, and I am glad of it.

    Best regards, and thank you for weighing in on the balance of civil discourse, Fran in Canada ps: please keep writing…… a new novel would be nice, if you can find the heart for it…. fd

    Interim Minister the Rev. Fran Dearman serving the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda, Essex County Ontario I read e-mail at random intervals; if your message is time sensitive, please telephone: home study land line: 519.398.8436 (home study and voice mail) dire emergency cell phone: 1.778.835.8616 (cell, no voice mail) ________________________________________

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    1. eliaspattn Post author

      As always, Frances, thank you for your thoughtful reply. “Hatred loves a soft target.” You should write a book, with such a powerfully stated thought! And speaking of books, my next one, Spring Break, will be released on August 1 in the US. (It’s already available in the UK, but I don’t know where Canadians prefer to shop.)

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  2. ccyager

    I agree. I wish that the internet also agreed. It’s definitely difficult to write anything positive on the internet these days. There are people who think that’s cause to take pot shots at the writer. It’s very sad. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. eliaspattn Post author

    Dear C.C., what strikes me most is that people who seem to be intelligent, who seem to have a valid–or at least reasoned–point of view, are so lightning quick to drop any pretense of civility and will resort to the most inflammatory language, guaranteeing that by doing so no one who has a different opinion will ever be swayed. Besides being repulsive it’s damn counterproductive. Well, enough high horse. And, by the way, thank you for your kind review of Devil’s Trill.

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  4. ccyager

    You’re quite welcome! Glad you saw it, and I meant every word. The internet tends to perpetuate the current, in my opinion, total lack of knowledge of how to have a civil discussion. It doesn’t help that public figures with their behavior support uncivil discussion and no discussion at all. I have to admit that I’m often frustrated, and the last 2 years have been especially bad. I’ve curtailed my social media presence as well as my intake of any kind of news. Then a blogger friend in Singapore asked me to participate in an international blogfest designed to spread positive stories about people demonstrating the best of humanity and compassion. I don’t know if it will eventually go viral, but it’s been interesting and heartening, a balm for my poor frustrated heart.

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    1. eliaspattn Post author

      Your friend in Singapore has a project well worth supporting. There are a lot of people doing good in the world. We just need to make sure they aren’t drowned out by negativity.

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