Since I consider it part of my job description to be honest with people – a vocational responsibility that seems to elude a few others - I like to start by telling hard truths to myself: I will never write the Great American Novel, as I have no talent for fiction, even though some of my nonfiction subjects would likely disagree. I will never again have six-pack abs, as I once did for about two weeks in 1991, during an intense Jazzercise phase. And despite trying to be a good lukewarm Christian, a man who takes semi-seriously Christ’s directive to love your enemies, I must admit that while I’m a friend to most of mankind and all of dog-kind, I sometimes enjoy hating people. The hot fires of my hatreds keep me warm in winter and cool in summer. (See evaporative cooling.) I fear I come by it genetically. As someone who is part Sicilian – my great-grandfather hailed from Corleone – seething resentment is my love language. “Blood Feud” is my middle name. (Though my parents just use “B.F.” for short.)
Don’t hate me for hating. Because you probably hate, too. I’ve seen how you conduct yourselves in your rage-a-thon octagons, also known as Twitter and Facebook. But rather than judge our little hate collective, I’ll instead cut us a break. It’s easy to be full of hatred these days. Anyone who has their head regularly submerged in the toxic soup that passes for current-events reading/viewing knows that harboring hatred is not only encouraged, but practically demanded of us: pick a morally-superior side, then hate the liars and chiselers who have chosen the opposite one.
While I consider myself above that fray (I no longer really pick sides – I try to hate all sides, being a hatred purist), I sense that I’ve succumbed to the impulse. I have lost friends from political “debates,” which usually start off as gentlemanly email tussles, then devolve into expletive-filled insult fests. I have yelled at my Trumpster parents over family dinners that they were kind enough to prepare for me. When leading-intellectual MAGA light, Marjorie Taylor Greene, suggested a national divorce, my first impulse was, “Sign me up.” Not that I think America should break up – a horrible, un-American idea, as foolish as it is impractical. It’s about as dumb an idea as you’d expect of a person who believes that Hebraic space lasers cause wildfires, and who warns that the jackbooted “gazpacho” is coming for us. I just want to be divorced from MTG. I’d even be willing to pay exorbitant alimony so long as she agreed to leave Washington, take full custody of the bratty kids (Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert), and relocate to some place that could better accommodate her special needs, like an inpatient psychiatric facility or Florida.
See what I mean about the hatred? Politics, which I barely used to care about, even though I long labored in its journalism vineyards, has turned me into an embittered bile-spewer. And yet, an epiphany about this impulse was visited upon me the other day during an unlikely event.