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Justifying Hate

Apparently, today is 9/11.

Newspapers, talk shows, and blogs all devote lots of time to stories about that day and what life is now like 5 years after the fact.

I'm all for not forgetting and making sure we remember and all that. It is crucial that all of us pause and think about those who lost their lives because they went to work early or ran up stairs to rescue people. It is greatly needed for our collective humanity to think about the families who will mourn forever at the sight of an empty chair at the dinner table, or an unused pillow on the other side of the bed. But, we cannot allow our sadness to fuel our hatred.

For every poignant vignette written about where someone was that morning, there are just as many hateful cartoons and commentaries, pointing fingers and calling names. Should we bereave the lost lives? Daily. Should we hate? Never.

The grieving process is complicated and should not be judged. Anger is inevitable, but I firmly believe hatred is avoidable. And while some groups will try to sell you on the idea that there is an enemy out to get you and your American way of life, this does not give you free reign to label a religion as a terrorist organization.

While some will fly flags at half mast and some will watch documentaries, others will find any excuse to further their cause of hating other human beings. Some will even feel that the events five years ago allow them to be violent towards others based on their dress or skin color. Sadly, there is no shortage of racist bigots who feel that the numbers 9 and 11 justify their stereotypes and ultimately their hatred.

And this needs to be overcome. Just as we're all pulling for New York to rebuild tall buildings, I'm pulling for people to stop using this day as a trump card in their war on tolerance. I'm hoping that people will learn to trust and respect one another again. I'm not hoping anyone becomes naive, and I'm not trying to reinstate some hypothetical idea of the 'good ole days,' but I do think that the best of humanity will win out against the worst of humanity. Just as the best of the American spirit heaped the goodness of carrying on on top of the worst of terrorist attacks on American soil, I hope that we all can come to a place where we don't let the actions of a few determine the fate of the rest.

And, tomorrow, on September 12, people will keep hating and justifying it. Stereotyping will not end just because the clock strikes midnight and we wait another year to honor the dead. Stereotyping will only end when we cease to allow it -- when, like they do not tolerate others, we also do not tolerate their hatred.

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