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Hope in Times of Great Hate

For the second time today, my glasses are wet.

The first time, it was a good wetness. My daughter and I worked out in the yard, pulling weeds (and arranging them into alphabet letters) and having a good time. This time, however, it is from sheer heartache. I can’t remember the last time I bit my fist and sobbed—right out of a movie, eh?—but just now, I did just that.

I came across this post while I was scrolling through my nightly Google Reader fodder. It’s a group that’s against a mosque being built a few blocks away from where the World Trade Center once stood. I went to the page and found that, like many Facebook pages, groups, and collective masses these days, it was filled with rage—not the kind of helpful rage that causes people to, I don’t know, stop using plastic bags because they don’t want to see another whale autopsy caused by them, but the kind that causes and feeds war, death, hate.

This kind of thing has been popping up so much lately. Whether it’s killing the president, hating on fat people, or racism of the most blatant kind, there seems to be a Facebook group on it. And it’s a shame that I know about them, because that means that my own friends and family are often members of these shameful groups.

Usually I turn away in disgust. This is actually a good thing, because it means I don’t waste as much time on Facebook, right? But tonight, after perusing through Most Good, Least Harm a bit for a journal art page I’m working on, I felt like I needed to act. Now I’m not one of those people who joins a group or page to simply make comments against it. I get infiltration and I know sometimes it’s necessary, but I just can’t stand the idea of my name being joined with something so awful. So I did what the authors of the blog post did—I flagged the pieces of the page that had hate speech (which were a lot).

But as I continued to flag a few spots, I just kept feeling my vision get blurrier. These aren’t comedians (not that it’s funny in the least) or fictional characters or extras from a South Park episode (I think South Park would have more class than this, anyway); these are real, breathing people who feel this way, who walk around, who live nearby and who vote. These are people who seem to have no compassion toward any other people except for ones who believe, act like, look like, and think like themselves. In a word, they are dangerous.

And they make me feel rather hopeless.

I’d like to think I’m an optimist. I strive for good in what I do, and I strive to raise my daughter in a humane fashion—which can be difficult in a not-so-humane world. But even with all that I believe and do—and with plenty of other people out there who do want peace and a global community of people who respect one another—how much is it going to help when faced with such deep loathing, such a vicious, violent hatred that seems to know no bounds?

All we can do is keep trying. And hoping.