Hatred is an ugly thing. It consumes the mind, twists the soul, and leads you make astoundingly idiotic forum posts. Everybody hates something. Some people are able to keep it to themselves, other people spray hatred out of their very pores like a demonic sprinkler system. The worst part, though, is the fact that hate makes you blind to some things that are clear to anyone who isn’t so emotionally invested. Namely, that it is almost the same thing as love.
Let’s look at sports for a moment. I’m a Yankee fan. That means I root for them. I have a favorite player, I watch a game every now and then, and I follow the scores. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the Red Sox, though. This does not seem to be the case for the Boston fans I know. They all seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every stat for every player on the Yankees. They always have comments about the latest Yankee game, even if it wasn’t against their team.They know a lot more about, and care a lot more about, my team than I do. This team you claim to hate is constantly on your mind. The only thing keeping it from being love is the emotional polarity. Perhaps the most telling aspect of this love hate relationship came when Boston finally broke their World Series drought a few years ago. After they won, there was general happiness and joy for about six minutes. Then came the chants of “Yankees Suck!” Now, this was not a game against the Yankees. The Yankees weren’t even in the state. But even a victory after decades of disappointment could only create genuine Boston fans for six minutes. After that, they reverted to their primary role as Yankees haters.
When it comes to people it is even worse. Try to think about someone you went to high school or college with. Someone you were an acquaintance to, or maybe someone you were actually friends with, if only briefly. You probably remember a few good anecdotes about them, but not more than a few minutes worth of stories. Now hunt down someone who hated them. They will have detailed, vivid accounts to last for hours. You’ll hear details that they wouldn’t have been able to recall about the birth of their own children. Why? Because that person you hate, whether you like it or not, matters at least as much to you as the people you love, and sometimes much much more.
The most obvious example, though, is the case of hate groups. With few exceptions, these groups claim to be hating in the name of something. God is popular for this one, but racial pride shows up a lot, too. Strangely, though, you almost never hear about any of them saying positive about those things. When was the last time a white pride rally made you really proud to be white? That doesn’t seem to be the message that they are focusing on. Why? Because the thing they hate matters so much more to them than the thing they love.
I don’t hate very many things. I’m just not passionate enough for that. Sure, there are plenty of things that annoy me. (As evidenced by the thrice weekly rants you can read here on this very site.) When it comes right down to it, though, the list of things I truly hate is a highly exclusive one. Like most of my ostensibly positive traits, this is born mostly of laziness. Hating something takes a lot of energy. It raises the blood pressure, and you need to make signs and come up with slogans and chants. I just haven’t got the get up and go to hate. Maybe if I was more motivated I’d be involved in all sorts of marches, but as it stands, tolerance is easier and far less stressful. Plus, there is a tiny part of me that refuses to upgrade the things I dislike to the level of hatred, because doing so would essentially be admitting they got my goat, and I don’t want to reward them by giving them any more of my mind than they’ve already got. So there you have it, I’m tolerant and accepting out of laziness and spite. Such is my curious road to virtue.
I’ll close this with a theory that you folks at home can help test. Obviously there is a lot of hate on the Internet. So much, in fact, people are always on the look out for a target to squirt it at. The next time you see something you think no one could possibly hate, take a look at the comments, and count how many you have to read before you get one that is spewing bile. For me, the magic number seems to be three. It could be a video about puppies and kittens building a sand castle and comment number three will be a PETA member threatening to burn down the house of the person who posted it for taking advantage of animals. Let me know what you find in comments below. And a special thank you to whatever nutcase leaves the first one that proves my point.