February 20, 1939. A rally at Madison Square Garden. George Washington’s picture hung behind center stage. The Pledge of Allegiance opened the event. Patriotic music was played and a popular local performer sang the National Anthem. 20,000 people were there to hear speeches about America’s great history and plans for future greatness.
It was one of the largest pre-war Nazi rallies in America, if not one of the largest in the world outside of Germany.
If asked they would have said it wasn’t about hate. It was about love of culture and history. It was about identity as a people. It was about protecting the country from unwelcome outside foreign influence.
For the fourth year in a row hate groups have grown in the US. Up about 30% in that period. This is accompanied by a 17% increase, according to the FBI, in hate crimes. The typical given explanation for this is a growing fear of the loss of white majority status and increased cultural pluralism in the US.
This morning CNN reported that Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, of Silver Spring, Maryland,was arrested in possession of a large cache of weapons and drugs. He planned on carrying out a massive terrorist campaign in the US. He said “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost.”
What is Hate? Intense hostility, dislike, animosity or aversion driven by fear, anger, or sense of injury. A clinical definition, but you know what it feels like for you have felt.
Sometimes its fleeting and intense. Someone wrongs a person you care about and it flares up. That is normal. That is human. That is understandable.
Yet sometimes it lingers. Grows. Steadily simmers and lays dormant. We forget its there. We call it by a different name. We compare it to what others have and say “I have not planned on or condoned killing anyone. What I have is not hate.”
If Love is primarily concerned with seeking the best interest of the other Hate is primarily about denying the other. Denying their need, their interests, their rights, and even their existence.
To deny the right of another to exist is the worst form of hate. It might manifest as a simple deceleration or it might come from the barrel of a gun.
When you say “You should not be” you have hate in your heart.
When you say “You should not have what I have” you have hate in your heart.
When you say “You can exist but only on my terms” you have hate in your heart.
When you say “You are less than I am” you have hate in your heart.
We attempt to justify these feelings. We appeal to cultural, religious, or even so called scientific standards and norms. We attempt to call them something else.
But if it is not hate what is it?