Hate – My Last Gasp on the Subject


My last gasp on hate – at least for a while – has me pondering its definition depending on where you live. It’s been pointed out to me that people need to concentrate on similarities rather than differences; while agreeing in principle, I think this subject needs some dissection. Hate is a big word, a word meaning different things to different people, a concept seemingly open to interpretation.

In Canada under the Human Rights Act of 1985; no person or group is allowed to publish or display notices, symbols, signs or emblems that might express or imply discrimination or intent to discriminate. This law covers verbal intent, specifically banning telephone conversations of a hateful nature; also including communication by computer, be it email or the internet. The link below highlights a few of the more prominent convictions under Canada’s hate crime laws.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/10/12/f-free-speech-hate-crimes.html

America on the other hand doesn’t seem to define hate until a physical assault has taken place. Section 249 of the Hate Crimes Act covers bodily harm inflicted on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/4161

In the United Kingdom, under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003; a judge must consider a crime “aggravated”, thus ruling a tougher sentence if the crime was motivated by ethnic or religious bias.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/15773

Hate laws vary drastically from country to country; Turkey for instance has no laws whatsoever regarding hate, the Sudan defines hate as “blasphemy against religion”. All of which take me back to my original ponder – one without a definable answer. I wonder if hate is the wrong word, perhaps the word is too subjective. Maybe we should put “hate” to another test. Obviously “hate” is a strong word, a word that tends to divide and muddy the waters.

It could be that we need to settle everyone down and take it back to playground rules. Trash talk wasn’t allowed at school so why should it be allowed when we “grow up”? Children aren’t allowed to talk smack about anyone – that is defined as a bully. So why should they “grow up” and be allowed to say anything they damn well please? I realize I’m over simplifying things, yet put that aside for a moment and ask yourself if replacing “hate” with “bully” might help put the issue in perspective.

What is Hate?


Pondering hate has my head in a spin, who decides what is or isn’t hate? The sobering fact being; my views of right and wrong are considered equally hateful by millions of people who see things differently. Last night I wrote about Christian Kerodin, the convicted felon behind plans for “The Citadel” – a fortified city accepting applications from prospective residents who want nothing more than to live with “like minded” people. Like minded in this case meaning an insular society free from “liberals”, city government or taxes, recycling, and criminal or background checks. All “The Citadel” asks in return is that you arrive with your own weapons, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and the attitude needed to use them.

As repugnant as I find this, the reality is – Kerodin has served his time for extortion, isn’t breaking any laws, and under his constitutional rights can say anything he pleases. Stock piling guns and ammunition, wilfully excluding those who don’t fit your “mould”, and building a utopian society in a remote corner of Idaho are completely within the law.

Strictly speaking I have no right to criticise or condemn his actions. The flip side being that I wouldn’t want my voice or opinions to be squashed just because others didn’t agree. All of which takes me back to pondering hate.

I wonder at what point freedom of speech crosses the line? Are we so consumed with freedom of speech and religion that we allow hate to poison society? Is there anything wrong with a fundamentalist preacher attacking homosexuals; does that fall under freedom of speech or is it a hate crime? Are my pro-choice views hateful, and if so who decides? Freedom of speech appears to guarantee racist organizations the right to spread  hate, at what point if any does that become a hate crime?

There isn’t an easy answer – I wouldn’t want my voice silenced any more than a fundamentalist radical would want their views snuffed. That said – what is hate and where do we draw the line?

Blame and Understanding


Human nature feeds on blame. It wasn’t my fault, childhood sucked, family let me down,  I’m mad as hell, no one understands, it wasn’t supposed to be this way, how dare you question me.

Blame is second nature, judgement our hammer. Someone else is always at fault – “you cheated”, “you lied”, ” you were wrong”. Blame is simpler than understanding. Blame doesn’t excuse mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers who dare to be human. We pigeon hole family to fit roles prescribed by society, cast blame when it blows up in our face. Nothing is ever our fault, someone else is always to blame. Life is short, why waste it on blame?  Life has so much more to offer once blame is laid to rest.

 

Equal Rights


Ponder equal rights as you have a little dance party courtesy Playing For Change. What exactly are equal rights? Are we all created equal or are we segregated by geography and religion? Are any of us less equal simply because we were born in the wrong place or time? Are women inferior in one place, and respected in another simply because of a lousy roll of the dice? Think about a world free from religious restraints; a place where we were all created equal – a place where squabbling over the after- life was considered a petty waste of time. Imagine what we might accomplish.

Why Do We Shoot Ourselves In The Foot?


Far from being an expert in any way other than my wits; my mind has been plagued recently by this ponder. I can’t stop wondering if mankind has reached the limit of evolution. The basis of my thesis is our seemingly endless capacity to shoot ourselves in the foot.

It is entirely possible that I mistake common sense for reality – I’ve given that point considerable thought – and every time I reach the same conclusion. Despite our technological advances, understanding of science and nature, or light speed communication; we’re taking one step forward two steps back.

Call me a crazy idealistic fool, but I don’t see us getting over this hump without a few things happening. First – religion has to be taken out of politics. I mean eradicated; delegated to the privacy of our homes. Abolished from political speeches, made accountable for their actions, and subjected to the same rule of law as everyone else. Religious leaders who speak out against homosexuality or abortion should be charged with hate crimes. As should any group such as the Boy Scouts who choose to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Until we move beyond religion, and biased thinking based on religion – we’re simply shooting ourselves in the foot.

Next we need to come to our senses in regard to organizations like the NRA. It boggles my mind to watch unelected spokespeople dictate policy from the comfort of their tax exempt, non profit towers. I find it beyond comprehension for this or any other lobby group to be given the time of day. Shooting ourselves in the foot is putting it mildly.

Third – lets get over rehashing done deals; women have the right to vote, blacks don’t sit at the back of the bus – and news flash religious fundamentalists – abortion is legal, gay people don’t burn in hell. Memo to the state of Arizona – life begins at the end of a woman’s last period? You geniuses made this law which makes you about as clever as the 63% of Canadians who responded in a recent poll to be in favour of bringing back the death penalty. Shooting ourselves in the foot.

I can’t help but think evolution has ground to a halt. Correct me if I’m wrong but I see no chance of moving forward while stalled on out dated concepts and perceptions. Worse still, we’re too busy shooting ourselves in the foot to even realize it.

Take “God” Out of Politics


I could care less for the religious views of people I meet. As long as they’re polite enough to keep it to themselves, I’ll take them at face value. Religion is a personal matter; it belongs at home, no one’s business but your own. Sorting out matters of faith is complicated; something as individual as each of us. In a perfect world it wouldn’t be an issue.

Our world is far from perfect. Religion fuels an ever widening gap that threatens to take us all down. It seems history has taught us nothing. For all our science and technology, mankind is no different than 1000 years ago. Scarier still – we seem to be walking backwards.

Fundamentalist Christian ideology creeping into the norm faster than Islamic Jihad. I can’t believe we’re debating abortion again, blaming Godless upbringings for pulling the trigger at mass shootings, or sentencing homosexuals to burn in hell.

I have a suggestion – a simple, logical place to stop this madness. At the very least – a baby step towards common sense. I’m going to single out America because like it or not America still packs some weight. America is fighting tooth and nail to preserve their second amendment “right to bear arms” . The founding fathers were adamant about the “separation of church and state” Lets fight just as hard for that principle.

I propose that any elected official be forbidden to use God or the Bible as a defence for their position. Further more – God would not be allowed mention in speeches under any circumstances. “God” has no business in politics.

Rather Blind than Fat


I’m no Kate Moss, nor am I over weight. By America’s Next Top Model standards my healthy size 8 would be considered “plus size”. North America has a massive problem with obesity. Statistics on childhood obesity are staggering, our “supersize” world is out of control. Just as remarkable are eating disorders, in no small part a result of impossible standards set by the fashion industry.

Arizona State University published the results of a recent study in the American Journal of Public Health. Based on a “blind study” of 100 women the results set me pondering. A shocking 1 in 6 said they would rather be blind than fat. It didn’t stop there; 1 in 4 would prefer herpes, severe depression, or alcoholism over a bulging waistline.

To be honest these results strike me as more disappointing than shocking. Women fought hard for the vote, equal rights ,abortion, and pay equity. Choosing a disability or social stigma in exchange for a size 2 not only defeats the battles, it proves women will never be equal.

Obesity is society’s problem, not limited to women; a concern to all. Until women are able to wrap their heads around the power of the mind, not the body – they will continue to be judged by their dress size.

Eating Disorders

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