So this weekend on facebook I posted this:
It was, of course, in response to Melania Trump’s infamous jacket she wore as she left to visit the children being detained and separated from their parents down on the southern border.
I got hate mail. Fortunately, most of it was personal and not public, but it was still a surprise. Most of my readers are a civil lot, no matter what side of the political divide they live on.
Of all the takes on Melania’s jacket, I like this one the most. It wasn’t mean. It was positive and said something most of us raised in churches or synagogues have been taught since we were itty-bitties. I liked the subtle connection to the Statue of Liberty, which I have always loved.
But pretty much, if you write it. Someone will hate it.
I’ve gotten hate mail on this:
Most of it was from other Christians. Some of it was from people who have been hurt in the church (and heaven knows there are too many of those.)
I’ve gotten hate mail for mentioning that I like a shot of good bourbon now and then and posting the picture above. Some told me how unchristian I was. Others told me that that glass was a “sissy glass”.
I’ve gotten hate mail for commenting on my wife’s looks (I happen to like the way she looks but I guess I am not supposed to talk about it in public.) or skin (We all know skin is a code word for sex. Or at least I know it now thanks to my readers. And married man that I am, and a pastor to boot, sex is something I’m not supposed to like.).
This very morning I got a dose of hate for the picture of a crusty-eyed cat I took in Albany New York. Exploitative, I am (said in my best Yoda imitation.)
It’s all my fault, I know. Stand for anything, someone will hate you. Write or post anything, there’s someone glad to be offended. People are very quick to tell us, catcall us, and make sure we know what cretins we are.
It’s my fault, I know. I am easy to find. People can leave comments, send me e-mails. I’m a lousy hider.
I have to admit though. I don’t get it. I obviously have the wrong kinds of friends. (Sorry friends. You can send me hate mail too if you like.). My friends and family are all over the political map. They are all over the religions map too, from the most conservative of the conservative to wild-eyed liberals that make ME look conservative (a hard thing to do.). I have friends who are Buddhist. Jewish, and some who are just plain “out there” with their own designer religion. I have creative friends who are traditional and some like me who are as abstract as they come.
Somehow we all get along. We talk about issues. Discuss. Argue even sometimes. And yet nary a name-calling or denigration of the other person appears. In fact. we seem to value each other. We like to listen to the other viewpoint. It helps us understand each other. It’s kinda fun actually.
Yep, the wrong kind of people, my friends. You’d probably like them.
I don’t like the namecalling, ugly, demonizing nation we have become. I don’t like how that national trait has become normalized. But that’s where we live. And it we live in it, we have to choose to play along, or not.
Me? I’m boring. I don’t play.
I am boring, But I have thoughts. I have feelings. I do a lousy soapbox rant, but from time to time, I do a rant anyway. It just bubbles out. Does anything I say matter? Considering there are a zillion blogs, columns and such out there, I can’t imagine anything I write makes a profound difference to the world around me. It touches one or two here and there, stimulates some thought, lets a few people know they are not alone, and sends a few to the namecalling place.
That’s OK. It’s the price today for having and having the gall to express yourself. It’s actually a pretty small price. I’ve been reviled by a couple of masters or ugly in my life. I can deal with a name or browbeating now and then. I’m tougher than I act. And while I am not a political creature, I have things to say now and again. Even in politics.
The first picture is about as radical as I get politically. I prefer gentleness in everything I do. I think, long-term, it works. Rough and tumble gets things done in the short term, but it’s rarely a solution that is sustainable. Ugly cows people in the short term, but only breeds hate and resentment.
All the good I have ever seen, privately and publicly has come from caring and loving. I haven’t found any exception to that rule. So I will just stay in that place, even when I skirt on the edge of politics.
Hey, I had to give you one more thing to hate. Or laugh at, depending on where you are coming from.
Me, I’m a laugher. Life is too ridiculous, and laughing is healthier than crying. I know. I’ve done both in the name of politics, country, faith, art and a hundred other madnesses. Laughing is better.
Be well. Travel wisely,