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Let’s pitch in to help stamp out hate

November 9, 2018

The election is over. The results are well known. Let’s move on.

You may feel like you “won” or “lost,” depending on whether the people you voted for were elected. Try to get over that. Handling defeat has always been problematic. Probably more now than at any time in recent history.

We are bombarded every time we open a newspaper or turn on electronic media. Innocent parishioners slaughtered during worship in a synagogue. Bombs mailed to former high profile politicians. Random shootings and stabbings in schools and at concerts and elsewhere.

Social media has become unmanageable. Far too many disrespectful memes and jokes and rants have blown up Facebook. Politicians and Hollywood “celebrities” have made a disgrace out of Twitter. Those who use hate speech and exhibit hateful attitudes claim the First Amendment allows it.

I spotted a yard sign – among all the political signs and Halloween decorations – in a yard on a busy street the other day. I couldn’t study it carefully at 35 mph, but the part I caught said, “Let’s Get Hate Out of Nebraska.” I like what I read, even without knowing the rest of the story.

Hate is described as intense or passionate dislike for someone or something. I used to hate broccoli and sweet potatoes as a kid. I’ve grown to love both. I can’t say that I’ve ever truly hated someone, but I have had my share of disappointment in the way some people act. But I don’t want to be judgmental.

Blogger Jeremy Myers writes that you do not “have to agree with what they do, but instead, you simply view the things in their life that you don’t agree with the same way you view all the sinful habits and choices you make in your own life.” Yes, the onus is truly on us.

Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey laments, “We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views.”

Dogma. “A point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds.” There’s a lot of that going around these days. Fake news and the people who complain about fake news and those who defend it and the social media mess I mentioned before.

What if we put down our smart phones and stepped out from behind our keyboards and engaged one another in calm and rational, face-to-face discussion? I bet that would lead to less hate and more civility. Let’s give it a chance. Let’s work together to stamp out hate in Nebraska.

J.L. Schmidt has been covering Nebraska government and politics since 1979. He has been a registered Independent for 19 years.

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