Bob Meade - Growing in hate . . . or . . .

  • Published in Columns

Growing in hate. Doesn’t that sound awful? Yes, it does. But that’s what’s happening. We’re looking for things to hate, things to divide us, things to use to shame others, things to make others feel guilty for being who they are. We routinely abhor the success of others and deny the efforts they made that led to their achievements. We deny the benefit to us and others that have resulted from those achievements. We treat allegations as cold hard fact based simply on who is making the charge; today’s flirtation may be tomorrow’s allegation of sexual abuse. We ignore and excuse actual criminality for one and make scurrilous charges to invent criminality for another.

Did you choose your parents? Your gender? Where you were born? Your physical characteristics and attributes? Your size, weight, appearance? Did you participate in the migration out of Africa thousands and thousands of years ago? How many slaves have you owned? How many people did your ancestors take advantage of or abuse? Aren’t you ashamed and don’t you feel guilty? How do you intend to right those wrongs of long ago? And don’t you feel you need to pay reparations for any acts “alleged” to have been committed by the ancestors you don’t know you have? And, by the way, are not the deaths of a million-and-half patriots who fought to bring freedom to others reparation of the highest order? We now hurl invectives and eschew compliments. We trade comity in exchange for complicity. Hate! Hate! Hate! Is that the “new norm?”

Now stop for a minute, and think ... do you think that, just maybe, at some time during your historical family lineage, there may have been an ancestor or two who were the ones doing the abusing of others? Or, at other times during the lineage, there may have been an ancestor or two who were the ones being abused? You/we don’t know, only God knows! But today we have guilt thrust upon us for things of which we have no knowledge and no culpability.

There’s so much more that could be written but, have you had enough? Now take a few minutes and reflect on the old who-what-when-where-how and why. When did we start on this road of finding things/people to hate? Who or what triggered that need? Why did we decide to join in? How is it that there are so many people feeling the same need and a willingness to build on hate? Do you really know a man who is a misogynist, a real hater of women? That word is routinely used to describe men who have never had that kind of hatred. How does one defend a negative?

How about labeling someone as a xenophobe, one who hates people from other countries? Most of the people in this country are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. As waves of immigrants came into this country, they were looked down upon and had to struggle to adapt and become accepted. No Irish need apply – in Boston, of all places. Native born Japanese citizens put into internment camps in World War II. Chinese taken into this country to do backbreaking work, building railroad tracks across the country. In city after city, immigrants from various countries formed their own enclaves to live and struggle together as they established their roots in their new country. They were used and abused but they thought it worth the struggle. And it was.

Think too, about all those ancestors who took that abuse and through their struggles, found and made a better way for those who followed. Think of Boston’s no Irish need apply signs and note that the son of Irish immigrants named John Fitzgerald (AKA Honey Fitz) became a two-term congressman, the mayor of Boston, and the father of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the mother of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Think that in wasn’t until the 1940s that President Harry S. Truman integrated the Armed Services and the growth that has happened since then ... Colin Powell, born in Harlem of immigrant parents, became a four-star general of the Army, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Advisor, and the Secretary of State. All wonderful and well earned, merit-based achievements. Think too, that our previous president was the son of an immigrant father and a native-born American mother, who rose in one generation to the presidency. These are but a few examples out of thousands and thousands that can show that this country is truly, the land of opportunity.

Not everyone can become a congressman, or a big city mayor, or a four-star general, a Secretary of State, or the president. Just as not everyone can become a star athlete, or actress, or business mogul. Hopefully, we each achieve the best that we can based on the effort we invest, not on the hatreds that we have.

Bob Meade is a Laconia resident. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..