Last night, a facebook “friend” went on a tirade over a post in which I critiqued our culture. It was an obscene tirade. It was a stupid – and I am sure – a drunken tirade. Later, I was openly accused of being a supporter of pedophilia and rape by the same person. All this over a post someone mis-read after having a few too many nips. Yep, that’s what political discussions have come down to: Hate or be hated.
The obscenities of Donald Trump, Richard Dawkins and the latest brouhaha over Milo Yiannopoulos were contrasted in a simple post in which I openly wondered how it is that we find in it our hearts to hate one and love another, when they have effectively communicated the same obscene things. Of course, the answer is found in whether we agree with them or disagree with them. The answer is found in the positions they hold on politics, religious or social issues. If we agree with them, they get a pass and the benefit of the doubt. If we disagree with them, they should be silenced and everyone else should hate them as much as we hate them. This is the new rule of both the left and the right: Hate or be hated.
If you do not hate who I think deserves to be hated, then you must be an apologist for their beliefs and everything they stand for – this is how many people feel. Welcome to the rising vulgarity of politics. Today’s politics have the nuance and subtlety of carpet bombing.
I am not a fan of Milo – but, I recognize he is brilliantly dangerous, and simultaneously has an occasional valid critique of politics today. He is also obscene and part of the problem. I am not a fan of Trump, but I recognize he is a tenacious and relentlessly hard worker, who somehow has tapped into what some people are crying out for. He is also obscene and dangerous and in no way should be considered worthy of the office of the highest public servant. I am not a fan Richard Dawkins, but he is a brilliant biologist and a savvy communicator. He also has become the primary icon of a subject in which he has no expertise, and is a prime example of the vulgarity against religion so popular in certain circles of our culture. Problematically, each of these individuals has also become a voice defending rape culture – whether they misspoke, or actually believe their own words is not something I can assume to know. I can assume this: their vulgarities should be equally judged. I should not assume one is guilty and one is innocent, because I like them. That is the activity of bias, or prejudice, or partisanship, or bigotry, or any other word we can find for it. It is the definition of injustice, because justice is blind.
Today’s new cultural commandment is “Thou shalt hate whom I hate.” And I say to that, “If you live by the hate, you will die by the hate.” I’m not keeping that commandment. I am not playing your game.