Column: Hate destructive in all its guises, even in our vocabulary
When I was young I met a girl who told me I used the word “hate” far too often in my everyday conversations. She told me that when people use the word “hate” so casually in their lives, they become immune to the damage it can cause, and they underestimate the destructive power of such an emotion.
I brushed off the girl’s comments and went on with my life.
As I grew older, I realized she was right. I was using the word “hate” too much. It flowed off my tongue when speaking about football teams, cars, teachers, movies and clothes. The more I used it, the more I could see it was a word that painted a darker picture than I meant to paint. I didn’t really hate a football team — I didn’t even know the players. How could I hate something I really didn’t know?
I started seeing that the word could unfairly influence how I felt about other people and how other people perceived me. Like changing a bad habit, I started correcting myself when speaking. Instead of saying “I hate that teacher,” I would say, “I don’t like the amount of homework that teacher assigns.” I noticed a real difference in the way I felt about things. My life became more positive and brighter.
As I watch the news it seems actions of hate push to the top of the headlines and become more frequent each year. From online trolls to supremacy organizations, hate seems to have found a new era of cultivation. Hate feeds on itself, but we do not need to feed it here.
Just as when I was young, I fear we are not aware of how desensitized we are with hatred. We cannot allow such feelings to grow and flourish in our nation.
We must take a stand against groups that incite violence and fill the hearts of men with such evil designs. As Americans, many of us believe the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God — a God that loves all men and teaches us to do likewise.
I am certain that the authors of the Constitution did not mean for the document to protect groups or individuals whose intentions are to destroy the lives of others because of the color of their skin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
We can all take a small step today by being more aware of how we use the word “hate” in our conversations. We can take a bigger step by not tolerating the spread of hate in any form.
One of the most articulate quotes I have seen on this topic was made by author and religious leader Gordon B. Hinckley who said:
“I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction... Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears. When I was a young man and was prone to speak critically, my father would say: ‘Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.’”
Collectively we are so much better than the ugliness that has shaped so many headlines this week. Let’s all work together to take a stand against the tides of hate.
Richard Haddad is Director of News & Digital Content for Western News&Info, Inc., the parent company of The Daily Courier.