Hate is an extremely strong word. In fact, I believe that out of all the words created to show dislike, hate is the most powerful. Think about it. Abhor, detest, spurn, disdain, loathe. None of them portrays an aversion to something like “hate” does.
When I was little, my mother heard me use the word when I was angry with my sister. “I hate her!” I said, probably in reaction to her stealing one of my Barbies or something equally trivial. My mother somberly explained how hurtful and powerful the word was. I automatically felt ashamed for uttering such a thing – and about someone who loved me unconditionally! I never said it again after that … OK, I did, but never in front of my mother, and I swear I felt guilty about it every time.
I still have residual feelings of guilt after using the H word. In fact, whenever I say it, I pause and ask myself if I really mean it or if I can substitute it for a different word. I’m sure many of you feel the same. Or at least I hope you do. Otherwise, you’re reading this column right now wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
Before you turn to the Sudoku (you know you can’t finish a Very Hard one anyway), let me assure you that this background was necessary. It’s important you know how seriously I take this word and how rarely I utter it. Now, let me tell you: I HATE that Proposition 8 passed.
I know you’re probably thinking what a cop out it is to hate the proposition and not the people directly responsible for this tragedy. But I think that some of these people who supported 8 honestly deluded themselves into thinking that they weren’t being hideous, brainless, intolerant, immoral, hateful, ignorant, cruel bigots. And I can’t feel anything but sorry for them if they think they were actually doing the ethical thing by denying rights and happiness to decent human beings.
It’s like the Nazis: I’m sure they convinced themselves that their intentions were good. They were brainwashed into believing a horrendous lie that resulted in the tragic deaths of millions of people. I bet Hitler told them that if they didn’t participate in the genocide that Judaism would be taught in schools, and that their children would magically turn Jewish. I wouldn’t be surprised, since it’s now obvious that that ridiculous rationalization works.
Now, for those unlucky few that have class on Friday, let me assure you that I don’t have a personality disorder (that I know of). Yes, I know that last week I was ready to hold hands with everyone and sing Kumbaya. However, that was before I knew that more than half of those hands filled in a bubble to support a discriminatory piece of legislation that I’m willing to bet didn’t have anything to do with a single one of them. If someone who wanted to marry a person of the same sex voted yes, then they have bigger problems to deal with.
I know that it won’t always be like this. I know that someday I’ll look back on this experience, maybe when my grandchildren are studying discrimination in school, and I’ll be able to tell them stories about how I lived in a time when hatred was commonplace and bigotry was prevalent. I know that California is no Deep South of the 1950s, but having lived in Los Angeles for most of my life, I never realized that there were so many prejudiced people in this once-great state.
I still have hope, though. Lots and lots of anger, but hope, too. We just elected an extremely intelligent, caring and good man to be the next president of the United States – someone who has dedicated his life to fighting hate and helping those less fortunate then him. Barack Obama is a person who can inspire and bring about the kind of change we need in this country: less discrimination and iniquity and a greater concern for those who were not given the same advantages in life. This is my hope. This is what stops me from running around Davis, gathering all the “Yes on 8” signs and having myself a bonfire – the belief that it will get better and although our state took a step backward, our nation took a giant leap forward.
DANIELLE RAMIREZ understands the irony of hating hate. If you still have the burning desire to explain it to her, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.