Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hatred or Anger?

There is a woman who has been in my life sporadically for 27 years.  We are friends.  But this woman gives me a lot of heartburn:

1.  She voted for Nixon in 1960, then for President Johnson in 1964.  Her vote for Johnson was a sympathy vote because she still was mourning President Kennedy.  In every presidential election since 1964, she has voted for the Republican candidate.

2.  She now considers herself a Teabagger (although she hates that word).

3.  She thinks people on welfare are universally lazy and should be forced to work, regardless of their circumstances.

4.  She considers my being gay to be my “choice,” and she constantly refers to my “gay lifestyle,” two huge no-no’s in my list of horrible attitudes.

We haven’t been close to one another physically since her retirement in 2002.  She calls me, though, four or five times a year to check in and see how I’m doing.  She called this morning when I was at my doctor’s office getting my annual physical.  I was waiting for the doc when she called, so we wound up talking for about a half hour.

When I think about this woman, I get angry.  Her attitude of entitlement and certitude are like fingernails on a chalk board to me.  When I think about her in her absence, I come up with brilliant and cutting things to say to her and save them up for the next time she calls.

But when she calls, I realize that I actually like this woman, that she really is my friend, and all my bon mots go flying out the window.  She is, beneath all her neanderthal political beliefs, a generous, warm–hearted person who sincerely cares about me and about all her other friends, of whom there are many.  The best part about knowing this woman, for me, has been the lesson she’s taught me: the human organ most important in friendship is the heart, not the brain.

I think about her today because of something that has come up on FaceBook.  One of my friends on FB has told me several times that he sees hatred in my postings.  I’m not sure against what or whom he believes this hatred to be directed, but he sees it apparently.  I have spent some time lately trying to figure out if I have hatred in my life, and if so, hatred for what or whom.

Most of the people that I think I dislike are people I don’t know, or don’t know very well.  It almost always happens that, if I get to know someone well, I’ll like the person.  I honestly don’t think there is one human being whom I hate.  I have to say, too, that I don’t believe it’s possible for me (or anybody) to hate someone I don’t know.

There are people and things that I may seem to hate:

1.  the Republican (ReichThugliScum) party.

2.  the Catholic Church.

3.  fundamentalist Christian churches.

4.  fundamentalist faith groups of any stripe.

5.  groups that are anti–learning, anti–intellectual.

6.  people who home–school their kids to keep them from being exposed to diversity of belief and opinion.

7.  men who oppose a woman’s right to choose.

There are others, but these are the ones that have given me the most inner grief over the years.

When I think about these institutions and people, I have to say that I don’t see hate for them in myself.  I really don’t.  What I see is a huge reservoir of ANGER!  I am one mad motherfucker!  Until I came out, this overwhelming anger was directed at myself, with predictable consequences: depression and “suicidal ideation.”  That depression and that “ideation” have gone away over the time (20+ years) that I have been out.  The anger, however, still is with me.  Now, though, it’s directed at the churches, the parties, the people who have made my life much more difficult than it had to be, and have made the lives of Beni and my girls more difficult because of me.

I believe that my treatment as a gay youth and young adult was unjust in the extreme.  That is true of all gay people, especially those who are boomers or older.  Anger, in my opinion, is the only sane reaction to injustice.  My anger, now expressed in healthier ways, leads me to want to help, want to get involved, want to march, want to picket, want to yell, want to boycott, want to change what little part of the world I may be able to change.

So I acquit myself of the charge of hate, but plead totally guilty to the lesser charge of anger.


  1. Very well written, I agree completely with your list there,if I wrote a list those would be at the top of mine also.

  2. I think you've just described me here. I, too, am a gay man who despises the same things you do, and who has a lot of anger towards society over the way we have been treated.

  3. #6. Oh yeah. I often tell people I grew up in a cave, because that was what it was like - I don't tell people I was homeschooled, I say I am self educated. I was socially and emotionally stunted for years due to being locked in a house until I reached my early twenties and (finally) figured out that I could actually leave.(Loooong story!)Love this blog.