Friends, Enemies, and Hatred

Hatred is not the answer. It is never the answer.

At the same time, while I don’t regard those who back Trump and his worldview as my enemies, I certainly don’t regard them as my friends. Those who want to take away my rights and the rights of those I care about are not my friends. Those who spew hate toward minorities and immigrants are not my friends. Those who view victims of sexual assault as non-entities or worse are not my friends. Those who are happy to let our planet die are not my friends. Those who want to deny health care to others are not my friends.

I don’t hate others. It is wrong, morally and theologically. Meeting the hatred of others with one’s own hatred only leads to chaos, hurt, and harm. I have no time for that. I do not want to look in the mirror and see that. When I feel hatred well up in me (which is another way of saying that I’m a human being), I accept it, feel it, and try to move on toward strength and acts of lovingkindness.

But that doesn’t make those who are agents of what I regard as destruction as my friends. Just because someone is not my enemy, does not make that person my friend. We must peacefully defeat the forces of hatred that Trump and other authoritarian leaders on both the right and the left are gathering across the globe. We must face those views down in the public square and must win at the ballot box. And we must try and try and try again until we succeed and humanity and our country and our planet can flourish and thrive.

https://www.kentucky.com/living/religion/paul-prather/article219868740.html

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Media Punditry and Power Sniffers

Every one, even the best, can be wrong. None of us are immune. But certain pundits blaze paths to simplistic conclusions based on claims that have little basis in data. Their assertions actually reflect a sub-conscious (my psychologizing here) desire to preserve the familiar and the well-trod paths of individuals who make themselves feel important by hanging out with one another in select groups of the self-appointed, golden, anointed ones.

Tom Friedman (and David Brooks and even Brett Stevens, and many other media darlings) fall into that category. They are what I call power-sniffers. Sometimes they have good things to say, and I respect them for that (I just posted something from Stevens today criticizing Israel because it a was good essay). But a lot of time they aggravate the hell out of me because they so very much crave to support old institutions, the familiar power circles, and the arguments that play well among the kinds of people who come from well-heeled backgrounds–the kinds of people who don’t ever really get to know how regular people live and what they’re thinking

Tom Friedman did this in “The World is Flat.” Obviously, world events have totally proven this thesis not only wrong, but profoundly wrong, especially in the U.S.–where we have never seen such a sharp division between rich and poor and the educated and not-as-well educated. The world still looks rather mountainous to me.

And now again we find the promise of Friedman shattered on the rocks of a horrifying murder of Jamal Khashoggi, apparently ordered by a cruel tyrant, posing as a modernizing member of a royal family–the very same prince to whom Friedman has cozied up and whom Friedman has praised for his visionary leadership of Saudi Arabia.

I’m not saying that we should be never pay attention to the favored clubby pundits that grace PBS, NPR, and the New York Times. They too have useful things to say. But, from now on, let us be more cautions when we read them (or listen to them). And may they use their powerful stoops to mix with the hoi-polloi and learn what real life is for a lot of people who do not run in the rarefied air of their intellectual circles.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/10/09/end-saudi-whisperer/?utm_term=.7cb11b35433f

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