“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
I actually got the inspiration for this blog post from an episode of GOOD TIMES, one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. It was an episode where the younger Evans’ son, Michael, was getting bullied at school. James, the best sitcom dad EVER, was telling Michael that he had to physically fight the bully whose name was Eddie. James’ wife, Florida (played by the always superb Esther Rolle) told her husband, “Don’t you know violence only begets violence,” to which James responded, “that’s alright, because Michael’s gonna be giving it and Eddie’s gonna ‘beget’ting” it.” Hilarious! But then again, violence is NEVER hilarious, is it?
The above quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of great love and peace for ALL mankind, inspired me to post this quote on FB, where I added, “‘white man’ or any colored man and, yes, of course, animals of any color, in order ‘to win their friendship and understanding.'” It is so sad that this timeless quote is not the time’s reality right now with the riots in association with the death of a black man, George Floyd. Now, bear in mind, I don’t know all the circumstances of this man’s death, and I probably should do some research before I post anything in relation to this story. I do, however, have to say that research is not particularly needed for this post, as I wish to comment on violence and hate and “toughness” in all its forms and how these acts do nothing but cause more hate and more violence and more “toughness.” This is what, I believe, MLK, Jr., was trying to get across with his quote. I also believe he was trying to get across the relevance of the Biblical verse, “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says God.” – Romans 12:19. Of course, all the verses of the Bible about God’s Love (and there are many) would apply here and might even be the only cure for what ails this world. LOVE in the face of hate!
Why is hate easy and love hard? We toss that word, “hate,” around like it’s no big deal. But it is a big deal. We even might take to not liking a celebrity or a personality and say, “I hate _______.” Pretty harmless, right? Of course we don’t mean we REALLY hate this person, right? Regardless, “hate” is a strong word, but so is “love,” and yet we struggle to get that one out. “Hate” rolls right off our tongue; “love” gets caught in the back of our throat. Why is that? Some would say that we are sinners and because we are naturally made to sin, of course “hate” would be easier than “love.” Some would say, “hey, if someone hates me, I’m gonna hate them back! What else can I do?” Well….okay. Some people, though, don’t mind going around telling everyone they love them, but are those some “noun” people or “verb” people? And the same can be said for “hate.” “Hate” is a powerful noun, but it’s even more powerful when it’s a “verb.” The “verb” of these current riots ongoing is a good example of this.
I want to say there’s really no one I can think of who I actually “hate.” But wait! What about those who abuse animals? Clearly, that makes me boil and rage like nothing else can. So, do I “hate” those who abuse animals? I don’t like them. I wish they wouldn’t do that. I wish they didn’t try to dominate the weaker species. I wish they didn’t think that being abusive to an animal somehow makes them “tougher” or “macho” or “in control.” I wish they could identify with the weaker species rather than dominate a weaker species to make themselves “stronger.” But do I hate those who abuse animals? Okay, so I’m sitting here at work. If someone came into this hotel right now and they had a dog with them and they were kicking the dog over and over, what exactly would I do? I swear to you, just the thought of that happening has my heart beating so fast and I can barely catch my breath. That says a lot. I would hope that I would get up from this chair, walk over to that person and politely tell them, “please do not kick this dog.” But if I know me and I know how I can get, I would probably leap out of this chair and run over to that person and scream my head off at them, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING. YOU BETTER STOP KICKING THAT DOG RIGHT NOW! I AM SOOOOOO SERIOUS!!!!” That’s not good. But would I want to kick that person like he or she is kicking that dog? I think it would be hard not to. “But, Timothy, violence only begets violence.” “That’s alright, because I’m going to be giving it and that person is going to ‘beget’ing it.” WRONG!
Hate, violence, and “toughness.” Don’t we already have enough of that in this world without making more of it? Seriously. What are we trying to do EXACTLY by being hateful, violent, and “tough?” Do these things make us feel better about ourselves? Do they have a payoff of some sort that is rewarding and appealing? Do they make us happier? Of course not! They do NONE of these things and, in fact, they do just the opposite. If I’m hateful, I bring more hate into my life. If I’m violent, I bring more violence into my life. If I’m “tough,” my life will get a whole lot “tougher.” It don’t take a rocket scientist to figure all that out. It’s common sense, is it not?
Make peace and love, not war. Make hope, not despair. Make kindness, not hate. C’mon, people. We can do WAY better than this. And because of the way I worded this, it brings to mind this prayer. I am sure you have heard it, and I swear I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have St. Francis of Assisi always on my mind, as he exemplifies the life of Jesus Christ, and Francis’ deep love and respect for animals is something that truly inspires me every day of my life. I will write out this prayer as my prayer for a hurting world, a hating world, a violent world, a “tough” world, and my prayer is simply this:
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Much love, much peace, and much and many God blessings always,
Timothy J. Verret
FOLLOWUP TO THIS POST: Something nagged at me about this post. It told me to research the death of George Floyd. I found a video at The Washington Post website detailing the events surrounding the death of George Floyd. After I watched the video, I was speechless. 8 minutes of an officer with his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. Mr. Floyd saying over and over, “I can’t breathe.” Bystanders asking the officer to please take his knee off of Mr. Floyd’s neck, that Mr. Floyd was clearly unconscious, that Mr. Floyd was dying. Another officer pushing bystanders away, telling them to mind their own business. Officers clearly in the throws of anger and, more than anything, “power trips.” I got angry. I got sad. I became fire. I became a looter. I became outrage.
It’s time for police officers and ALL THOSE WHO EXERCISE POWER OVER ANOTHER to STOP ABUSING YOUR POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP HURTING OTHERS SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!! STOP WEARING YOUR BADGES OF HATE AND POWER!!!!!!!!!!!