Pretend you’re related

The world is full of enough of hate. I mean, the world probably has as much love as hate, but love is just so much more productive than hate. The world would be better off if we just got rid of hate. 

On Wednesday, some of my dear friends ate dinner with me for my birthday (which is tomorrow, BTW.) One of the conversations was about how you can’t love someone that you don’t like. And then someone was like, “But what about family.” And then we all agreed that family is different – You can love family and not really like them. 

So then this morning I was on Facebook on my iPhone 4 (not a 5, not even “s”), and I saw a post by the most delicious BBQ place in the whole world, Central, that Al Gore had visited and enjoyed Memphis’ finest BBQ. 

I was like, “So cool! Al Gore is in Memphis, and I’m pretty sure that we’re related,” (long story for another moment.) Because I was so excited, I immediately commented about how fun it was that Al Gore was in Memphis. I posted my comment, and then started reading the other comments. I guess I forgot that democrats were to blame for all the world’s problem, like polluted water, hunger and sex slavery. People were so mean – one comment was, “I’m never eating at Central BBQ again.” And someone had liked it (I didn’t check, but I think the commenter liked his own comment – narcissist.) 

Here’s the thing – I know I would have seen the same sort of thing if George W. Bush had visited. 

Back story – I think I’m related to Al Gore. My paternal great grandfather’s last name was actually Gore, but he changed it to Parkin because the Parkin family had taken him in when he was a young boy. Long story short, my last name is biologically Gore, which means that there is a chance that my family and I are related to Al Gore. 

Now, I don’t agree with a lot of Al Gore’s politics, and sometimes I think that he seems a little cocky. I don’t know if I met him if I’d like him very much. But I could never hate him because in my mind, he’s family. Because he is family, I tolerate all those annoying things that he does because, well, I didn’t pick him – I got stuck with him, and I might as well make the best of it. 

So, here’s my proposal: if you hate someone enough to make a comment about not eating at an establishment because that person visited it, pretend like you’re related. And then it’s not, “The devil has come to Memphis, and his name is Al Gore”; no, it’s, “Oh goodness, Uncle Al is in town; he’s crazy, but I love him. Where’s my wine?”

Okay, here’s where it gets a little serious/rantyish – if you’re already annoyed, do yourself a favor and just stop reading. 

What I’m really trying to say is that we have to stop defining people by their ideas; a person is a person regardless of what his or her beliefs. You hear all of these stories from the children and brothers of drug lords and fascist dictators, and I always hate it a little bit because it’s not the story of man who’s killed millions of people – it’s the story of a father or a brother. There’s tenderness and love, and it’s always impossible for the child or sibling to hate that person. Now, I’m not advocating, “Hug a Dictator” day or anything; I’m not trying to build sympathy for drug cartels, serial killers, rapist and other people who do evil thing. What I am trying to do is say hate the evil, love the person. And it’s hard. It’s hard to just hate the evil and not the person performing the evil. It would be so hard to look in the eyes of someone who just killed a loved one and say, “I hate what you did, but I love you.” It may be impossible. I’ve never had to do it. I hope and pray that I never have the reason to. But I also hope and pray that, if I have to, I will have the strength to choose love over hate. 

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