LOVE TRUMPS HATE

For the past few months I have been musing about the wholesale use of the word “hate” to describe everyone who voted for Trump. While the rise of hate speech and hate crimes continues to spread since the sleeping giant of xenophobia, bigotry and racism was reawakened during Mr. Trump’s campaign, I know the reasons for voting for him were complex. Casting a vote for a candidate is rarely based on one criteria or issue. One’s personal experiences and perspectives always influence that decision.

I was cautioned against using the word “hate” as a child. If, in anger, I told my little brother, “I hate you,” my family would counsel that the word “hate” is such a strong word that saying it to another person could cause irreparable damage to a relationship. Dislike or disagree, but don’t hate him for it. When one hates another person or group of people, there is nothing they can do or say that is acceptable. Those who are hated are always seen as “the other,” “not like us,” and “evil.” Hate justifies heinous acts against the hated.

Many of us who did not support Trump’s candidacy were and are appalled by his behavior and his words. It is difficult to understand how his behavior and his words came to be seen as legitimate. We are not naive or insensitive to the challenges that need to be met in our country. Simply put, it was impossible to envision him as the leader of the “free world.” So we did not vote for him; others did.

And so I say that love trumps hate. Both love and hate require the holder of these sentiments to act. Hate is not, as the Urban Dictionary says, “a special kind of love given to people who suck.” Hate leads to hateful actions. Loving acts of respect, generosity and kindness are foundational for building strong, diverse communities. Hate cannot coexist in this environment.

Many years ago I had a conversation with a rabbi about the word love. Her response to me was that she wasn’t as interested in my loving her, but in treating her with respect. She demanded right actions from me as a Christian toward her as a Jew. She believed the word love was a sentimental idea that can become a passive experience between people. I assured her that my belief in love required me to perform acts of compassion and mercy and to work for justice for all people. 

As the inauguration approaches, perhaps we can agree, beginning with the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and continuing throughout the week, to perform works of service in the many nonprofits that serve those who live in the margins. Work alongside one another to build a stronger, more tolerant county, and while we serve, listen to one another. We will discover new avenues to build bridges and tear down the walls of division built in 2016.

Happy New Year.

~ LUCY K. LYNCH, VIA INTERNET

TOTALLY FRACKED

Fracking under Trump’s plan will greatly expand and all our drinking waters will be polluted. The rich will be fine because they will have their own private water supply. Within four years America’s water will be poisoned and many will be made ill or die; that’s Trump’s master plan. Pollute the water and let fear of that pollution control the people. Trump’s actions will create more energy, more jobs, more money, more pollution, more climate damage AND will flush out all the protesting “terrorists” (Facial recognition, surveillance, militarized police; they don’t stand a chance; the internment camps are ready.)

Trump’s planned psychopathic killing action must never be allowed to start. America is politically out of control now. Academics, climate change experts, the independent press and the Internet are all under threat from Trump’s fascist nationalism. Our institutions are already infiltrated by right-wing conservative billionaire “terrorists” like the Koch brothers who support Trump and reinterpret our freedom to their sick advantage with money, lies, propaganda and mind control.

Our politicians and our president who are paid by us to represent us and defend the Constitution readily throw us all to the Trump wolves, saying “Give him a chance” and they do nothing to save us, no matter how illegitimate Trump’s tenure is. They know Trump will make them all richer so they don’t give a damn.

Trump’s master plan will imprison every anti-Trump protester on the pretext “they obviously don’t want to make America great again.” He knows he may be “forced” to initiate martial law to guarantee his promise to be “America’s Law and Order President.” His generals are “heroes” ready to ease into the Pentagon’s total militarization of America. 

We need action now from our politicians. We need them to act in solidarity with the rights and dignity of the American people. They won’t defend us. Trump will tell American democracy “You’re fired.” Protesters will be shot.

On Jan. 20, 2017, the second American Civil War begins.

~ CHRISTOPHER JUDGES, VENTURA

TYRUS WONG’S LEGACY

Generations of filmgoers learned about the evils of hunting and the terrible toll it takes on animal families thanks in part to the artistry of Tyrus Wong. The distinguished painter, who passed away recently, was the designer and lead artist for the Disney classic “Bambi.”

The unforgettable scene in which Bambi’s mother is gunned down as they are foraging in the meadow made an indelible impression on, among countless others, Sir Paul McCartney, who said the film inspired his commitment to animal rights. “I think that made me grow up thinking hunting isn’t cool,” he explained.

Wong, a Chinese émigré, spent two years on the paintings that would define every aspect of “Bambi.” Audiences saw that love isn’t solely the provenance of humans and how different species can live in harmony. Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk befriend Bambi, and he finds love, too. When the hunters return, he musters his courage and leads the other animals to safety.

To honor Wong’s legacy, we hope that others will be inspired to live harmoniously with animals. To learn about ways to help animals, visit PETA.org.

~ CRAIG SHAPIRO

PETA FOUNDATION

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA