When he began to talk about the evils of hate, Dick Gephardt LOST ME. MORE: BUGLIOSI, BEATTY, WATERS, JACKSON
(Because most people would never get past the first sentence of any such column, I have never written my "In Defense of Hate" treatise. Maybe now would be a good time.)
Gephardt began to tell stories about his travels in South Africa -- stories about wrongfully condemned and imprisoned dissidents like Mandela, who now live their lives in love and forgiveness... stories about the parents of a slain youth activist, who now live their lives in love and forgiveness -- stories clearly intended to advocate for the necessity of political love and forgiveness, and to advocate for beating our rhetorical swords into plowshares.
This made me intensely angry. I felt the blood rising to my face, the denunciations rising in my throat... To draw such a parallel felt like the worst kind of "apples and oranges" talk to me.
You see, I think Dick Gephardt knows that we are out here -- we who were victimized by this conservative coup -- and that we are nursing our wounds and our anger, and are not willing to move on. I think it was us that Dick was speaking to, though he was never specific about that.
I don't know if anyone else who was listening to his speech (other than Rose) had the same reaction I did. I was dying to shout out, across the crowded ballroom, "TRUTH BEFORE RECONCILIATION! TRUTH BEFORE RECONCILIATION!"
But I didn't. I don't know why I didn't. Now, I wish I had, with all my heart.
I, too, applaud the forgoing of revenge on the part of the oppressed peoples of South Africa, who now find themselves with the power to exact retribution. I am impressed by their willingness to give up "an eye for an eye," and to be better than those who did their worst.
But I KNOW that they did not make it to that point of reconciliation without first demanding that the truth be spoken -- that there be a record of the crimes committed by those who held power, and held it so ruthlessly. Black South Africans demanded and got THE TRUTH, first.
ON JUSTICE AND CLEAN SLATES
Here is my defense of hate: Hate is the only honest reaction to injustice when unacknowledged, unrepented, and uncorrected. I hate the person who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City. I hate the people who dragged James Byrd to his death. I hate the people who crucified Mathew Shepherd. I hate the Nazis who snuffed out entire families, and tried to snuff out an entire race of humanity.
I do. I hate them all.
There are some acts that do such violence to the concept of human decency, that hate is the only proper reaction for me. This, I believe, with all my heart.
If the monsters who committed these acts were ever to confess the dark impulses that drove them to act, if they were ever to take responsibility for their crimes and make an effort to atone, I could move past hate. I would move past hate. My heart is big enough... but...
FIRST TRUTH, THEN RECONCILIATION! I can no more reconcile without truth, than I can live without air. That is the way I am made. I cannot change. I love justice too much to stand silently by while she is raped, and her rapists are rewarded for their violence on her.
I hate every person who stole the 2000 election from The American People.
Must it always be this way? Could I ever STOP hating Scalia, Rehnquist, Thomas, O'Connor, Kennedy, Bush, Harris...? Yes, I certainly could, if...
If the monsters who committed these acts were ever to confess the dark impulses that drove them to act, if they were ever to take responsibility for their crimes and make an effort to atone, I could move past hate...
But unless and until that happens? No. Not a chance. My hate IS my love of justice, and that is not something I am willing to "let go" of, or "move on" from, or "get over."
Deal with it.
One big surprise about working the Conference was finding out that the internet resistance is largely unknown among the Democratic activists who attended the SCADA Conference. Most had never heard of fringefolk or VoterMarch, let alone the BBBR.
I was also surprised to hear many activists parroting the oft-debunked myths of election 2000:
Gore should have asked for statewide recounts. (HINT: He did.)
Gore's poor campaign was the reason for his loss. (HINT: He didn't lose.)
And on and on. I explained the truth to everyone who hadn't yet heard it, but I don't know whether or not they believed me...
WEEKEND: ACTION ALERTS: On R.Y.O.B. I and II