Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Haters Gonna...Stop Hating?

I am still wondering how some person from Comcast randomly found my blog and saw a few words there about me not liking Comcast and then asked me to explain. How come I could never find someone in 8 months of calls to Comcast to help me figure out how to resolve my problem? Don't get me wrong, I had some nice people and some helpful people in the midst of many not so helpful people. But still, no one could ever make any progress. I can't tell you how many different numbers and departments I got passed around to and people would look up my case and see that it was there and understand my problem and see that no one was acting on it, but then nothing.

Have you ever had any similarly frustrating situations like this with Comcast or some other service provider?

Since I am on tirade here after my message to Comcast...I want to say a few words about the shootings in Arizona and all the discussion that is going on right now about hate speech. Well, actually I want to talk about how this recent discussion has got me to think more about my own sloppiness and carelessness with words.

I try so hard not to be negative. I do. But this Comcast thing just made me so sick for so many months. I wanted to run around screaming "I hate comcast! I hate them!" And I did use those words in a blog posting back in September. But I have been trying really hard to erase the word "hate" from my vocabulary. This is kind of a New Year resolution for me. Something I have been thinking about for awhile and working on it, and all of this discussion coming out of the Arizona shootings has me thinking even more about it.

My husband is such a positive person. He really helps me improve and stay on track to be positive. He is the one that made me realize how much I used that word - hate. I tossed it around all the time. Oh I hate this and I hate that and I hate that actor and I hate that show and I hate that music and I hate that pundit and I hate when she does that...on and on. And to me it didn't really have such a negative or serious connotation. I used that word to substitute for a whole range of emotions and levels of seriousness. I had become lazy and sloppy. I was misusing the word. To capture dislike, displeasure, disagreement, etc.

When I realized what I was doing, I stopped and thought about it. What do others hear? How do they interpret what I am saying? It may mean nothing to me because I've abused the true meaning of the word, but others might be holding it true so that something that meant nothing to me in saying it might actually be something very strong and serious and offensive to them.

Merriam Webster's definition of hate: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. When I stopped and thought about it there was actually very little in this world and my life that I "hate". There are very few people, if any, I have ever really hated. Intense hostility, from fear and anger and injury? Not so much. Yeah, I think I might have a few examples in my life of reasons for feelings of hate. But those are very few. And the new me wants to eliminate any and all hate from my life past and present. Life is too short and too beautiful to hate. Life is what you make of it. You can choose to be happy and positive and see the good or you can choose otherwise. I think I have a pretty good history of choosing the former, but when I met my husband, I realized I had a lot more work to do.

I am spending more time thinking about what I say and how I say it, being more aware now that others may not be interpreting my words as I want them to, especially if I am sloppy with how I toss around and misuse words. I still slip up. But I am aware now. I think about it a lot more. And I catch myself. Sometimes before I do it. Sometimes after. But I feel it is progress.

And this thinking circles me back to this public discussion and debate going on right now, as a result of the tragic shootings in Arizona, where six people died and many others were wounded. Discussion about our "climate of hate." About accountability for reckless, violent rhetoric. I believe in free speech. I love intelligent, informed discussion and debate. I dislike (see, I did not use the word hate!) fear mongering and reckless violent rhetoric. Just as I have taken on my personal responsibility to clean up my language and be more careful about what I say and why so that I am really speaking and hopefully communicating  true words, I want all of these tv and radio personalities and these politicians and pundits to clean up their act. I want them to have real debate and discussion and remove the fear mongering and the anger and the hatred and the violence. I don't understand how people can watch these people and listen to them and respect them. They should be ignored. I have always disliked all of that. I can't watch Fox or MSNBC or any of these tv "news" programs - right or left. I can't even stomach some of the CNN problems sometimes.

It is a proven fact that there is an increase in reported threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials. In one op-ed piece I read in the NY Times by Paul Krugman, he said:

"It’s important to be clear here about the nature of our sickness. It’s not a general lack of “civility,” the favorite term of pundits who want to wish away fundamental policy disagreements. Politeness may be a virtue, but there’s a big difference between bad manners and calls, explicit or implicit, for violence; insults aren’t the same as incitement.
The point is that there’s room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn’t any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.
And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence."
I don't know how I feel about Paul Krugman, and I don't care that he is the one who said this. His words just speak to me. We need to clean up the hate speech people.

1 comment:

  1. I agree-- and I'm on the same journey toward a positive outlook and an elimination of hate. I meet a lot of so called "progressives" who have such hatred for the right that they're just as bad as the alleged "conservatives."

    I've also known for a lot of years that hate speech is an indicator of future violent acts. I wrote a paper on sexual harassment in school and I said: "...bullying in any form must be viewed for what it really is: an indicator of future violence. Hate is detrimental to learning, and bullying is nothing but a seed of hate which is bound to blossom sometime later."

    Unfortunately, this Tucson shooting is less surprising to those of us living in Arizona. The Pima County official who said that this state has become the mecca for intolerance and bigotry was, unfortunately, right. We've got no gun control of any kind, horrible laws targeting immigrants, a crooked and unjust Maricopa county sheriff... and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I hope that this shooting is a wake-up call to Arizonans. I hope that this will make people realize that this state is becoming a radical place. I hope that haters will just stop hating. Seriously.