You Only Beat Me if You Get Me to Hate*

HalfMastsLike millions of other people, I’m heartbroken by what happened in Nice on Bastille Day. I won’t try to find superlatives to describe the sadness and loss. To the people of France, especially those who lost loved ones, please know that people all over the world, and I am among them, stand with you in your grief. May you know peace and healing.

It’s not just France, though. It’s Afghanistan. It’s Bangladesh. It’s Orlando. It’s a lot more, too. We could be forgiven for wondering if we’ve all gone completely mad. I don’t have the answer to that. I do know this, though. Somehow or other, we all need to find ways to deal with everything that’s going on.

I’ve resolved to cope with it all by refusing to hate. I know it seems simplistic. Perhaps naïve. Call it what you will. But here’s the thing. If you listen to the political and public-figure rhetoric, you hear a lot of hate. If you pay any attention to online rhetoric…you hear and read hate. From my perspective (yours may be different), that hate serves only to fuel more hate. And we’ve seen – far, far, too often – where hate leads.

Does this mean we should blindly assume that everyone is a nice person who intends no harm? No. But if we let hate get the better of us, we begin to act on that emotion, rather than on anything productive or beneficial. And as we’ve tragically seen, that fuels the worst that people can do.

At times like these, it’s easy, even seductive, to respond with hateful, fear-driven reactions. Terrible tragedies such as what happened in Nice are so appalling that it’s hard not to feel that way. But I hope that we can remember that we’re human beings. We’re capable of so much more than those kinds of responses. France will not give in or give up because of the hate that caused those deaths. I hope the rest of us also choose not to give in to hate.

Please, as we all deal with the grief, the loss, perhaps the fear that we have, could we also remember that we are human? Of course, part of being human is reaching out to those who are suffering, and offering our support in any way we can. But to me, anyway, it also means refusing to hate. Giving in to hate makes us less human. And once we forget how to be human, or choose to behave in ways that are not human – and humane – we lose part of ourselves. I don’t have to tell you what the consequences of losing our humanity are. That’s why I choose not to stop being human. Even as I grieve, I will not hate.

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s The Great Wall of China.


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39 responses to “You Only Beat Me if You Get Me to Hate*

  1. I think refusing to hate is a very strong stance, Margot – if we respond by hating then we’re engaging and in some way validating what’s being done in the name of evil. We mustn’t give in and stoop to their level.

    • Thanks, KBR. You put that beautifully. Hating really does validate some of the awful things that are happening. And that, in turn, m akes us all less. We can’t give in, as you say.

  2. Keishon

    Great post, Margot and I agree with you. To hate is to let the evildoers win and I’m not letting them win. I refuse to hate or live my life in fear. There’s always moments/or things that people do that restores my faith in humanity daily.

    • Thanks, Keishon. I’ve found, too, that there are always things that remind me that of the good that there is in people. That’s one reason that, like you, I refuse to be either afraid or hateful. As you remind us, if we allow ourselves to hate, we let those who do evil win. I won’t do that, either.

  3. I resolve not to hate also.

  4. Pingback: You Only Beat Me if You Get Me to Hate* | acacialane

  5. Well said, Margot. Hatred and fear are their weapons – tolerance and fraternity are ours. I know which I think will win in the long run.

    • Thank you, FictionFan. And how right you are about which strengths we have, and which will win in the long run. That’s yet another reason for which I will not hate.

  6. Beautifully said and I couldn’t agree more.

  7. mudpuddle

    right on… i totally agree; but it’s a fact of human nature that not one of us(them) thinks that they’re bad… everyone on the planet thinks their behavior is righteous… pov is a powerful channeler for emotions, and also responsible for misunderstanding and violence. if everybody thought just like i do there would be a lot more peace( i’m being ironic to demonstrate a point…). i strongly believe that education is the only way to achieve a peaceful planet; tx for posting about this, Margot….

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Mudpuddle. And you’re right about perception. People are often convinced that they’re right. This is an important reason for which education is so important. The more we can learn, the more we understand. And allows us to go beyond our own perceptions.

  8. You are right, Margot. It’s not easy, but it’s the only way.

  9. I think that’s the right way to go about things, Margot. A simple formula that may not be easy to follow, but is definitely one that can end all the baseless hatred and violence out there.

  10. I think you’re taking a good stance by refusing to hate. FB, especially, is filled with hateful remarks. I just scroll by. Life is way to short to hate anyone.

    • Thanks, Sue. And I’ve noticed that about FB (and Twitter), too. I scroll by, too, and have been known to cut loose from followers, etc., when I spot that sort of thing. As you say, life is far too short for hate. And it’s not productive, anyway. It just leads to more hate, violence and worse.

  11. Hear,hear Margot, well said x

  12. tracybham

    You are so right, Margot. I feel sad, and sometimes it seems so much like this is happening that it is overwhelming. But that is no reason to hate.

  13. kathyd

    Nothing is solved by hate. That includes those voting for the Brexit; many of those who voted to “Leave” the EU did so out of hostility to immigrants and refugees. And after the vote, hate crimes went up 500% and migrants were told that “we voted you out. Why haven’t you left?” So, a lot of good people are trying to overcome that. But this is a situation where politicians blamed economic problems on immigrants and it worked in some cases. Some people were even angry that refugees were used the National Health Service!
    So, yes, it’s hard work to convince some people not to be haters. I’ve got a sign up on my front door in memory of those killed in Charleston and Orlando. (By the way, not every relative of a deceased victim forgave the shooter. Some did not, understandably.)
    We all have to do what we can, whether small or big to combat hatred.

    • I think your last sentence says it very clearly, Kathy: We all have to do what we can, whether small or big to combat hatred. That, to me, is the key. As you say, hate solves nothing. Instead, it creates even more problems.

  14. This horrific attack in Nice hit me even harder than some of the other recent disasters because it happened in a place I’ve visited many times. To have the beauty of the place, the majesty of the event, and the innocence of the locals and tourists who were they that evening destroyed forever breaks my heart.

    For many, Margot, the reaction is not hate as much as it is fear. I wish everyone would stop with the hate rhetoric and labeling and start addressing the root problem In Nice, as in Paris, Brussels, Ankara, and the rest of the communities hit around the world, fear creates a fight or flight reaction. Those who fight, even if just verbally, don’t necessarily hate. They most certainly are frightened.

    • What happened in Nice really is heartbreaking, Pat. As you say, such a lovely place, and such an important event…it’s very sad. And you’re right that fear plays a big role in people’s reactions. When people are afraid, for whatever reason, that’s when you get that rhetoric. And that’s when things spiral out of control.

  15. kathyd

    I don’ tknow. I put up my signs, I give food to homeless people. I think people for work they do. I donate money. Right now I wish I were in Cleveland at anti-Trump, anti-hatred protests where tons of people are going and I’m worried since it’s an open-carry state.
    And I wish I were at the protests against police violence in Chicago (huge numbers, multinational, sat-in on a bridge), St. Paul, Baton Rouge or Boston.
    I hope there is peace and no one is hurt. Lots of friends there. Youth seem to be in the lead — Black, Latino/a, white, Asian. So I worry and wish them well.

  16. SteveHL

    It is July 17th. Three police officers were killed today in Baton Rouge. I just read your eloquent post. If only your attitude would spread and prevail!

    • Thank you, SteveHL, I heard about those killings, too. I hope that at some point, we can learn to listen and talk to each other, and find ways to work things out, rather than fear and hate one another. I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know that hate and fear aren’t it.

  17. Thanks, Margot. We humanists need to stick together 🙂

  18. kathyd

    I agree about promoting “no violence” and “no hatred,” but that also means an end to police brutality, too. It is very difficult to see this continuing and families of victims are not getting justice — but they call for peaceful protests.

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