There is a way of making a family tree that includes tracking medical, relationship, and personal noticings. It is called a genogram. What I found really interesting when I did a relationship genogram for my family is that there are generational patterns of cutting-off. What this means is that rather than resolve conflict, people simply cut one another off and stop talking.
I find myself fighting that temptation every day. I am so angry and hurt that people that say they love me and my family, my beautiful LGBTQIA family, would vote for someone who actively articulated harm against us. I am saddened that someone would choose their personal pocket book over the safety of women and children. I am disgusted that personal values mean so little that the temptation of more personal profit over-rides the commitment to love and mercy.
I want to cut those people off. Just like my ancestors did. Just like we are so adept at doing today. After all, we simply have to "unfriend" or "block" and we're done.
But that doesn't fix the problem. The haters are still gonna hate unless they are shown another way.
The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) has described a pyramid of hate.
This pyramid actively helps us understand a few things. It helps understand the difference between bias, prejudice, discrimination, violence, and genocide. And it helps us understand that it is all one scale on a spectrum of hate. If you are willing to have employment or housing or medical discrimination because it favors your pocketbook, you are participating in hate. And when people participate in hate, I definitely want to cut them off. It is natural and perhaps, on one level, a healthy boundary to draw.
If we simply cut all the haters off, they will go form their hater groups and we will never be free of hate because it will rise up and claim political and social power, as it has in our current era. White supremacists are running for office in record number. Because they were cut-off and forced out of communities, they have banded together and are making political inroads. Richard Spencer, a known white supremacists, is now a lobbyist and leader of the National Policy Institute. Things they want to destroy: NATO, the G7.
Does that sound familiar? Extreme politics has gone mainstream and is centered in the white house.
Recently, I saw the play, God's Country. The play is constructed of court transcripts, records, and documents taken from the rise and fall of "The Order," a white supremacist movement based in Washington and Idaho. While listening to this play, they talked about some of the foundational documents: The Turner Diaries and Christian Identity theology. I'm sure there are a bunch more, perhaps Thomas Jefferson's writings, including his Notes on the State of Virginia.
At any rate, I believe I have wandered off-topic! Back to the point. These "haters" were once your neighbor, brother, uncle, auntie, etc. In many cases, they tried to rise up in a small locality before stepping onto the national stage. In most cases, the local situation shut them down and forced them out. They then become a closed system beyond influence. People cut them off. They are forced to go elsewhere.
This doesn't stop the cycle of hate, it just forces it onto other communities.
The question is, how do we continue to engage with haters? How do we call out acts of bias, prejudice, and discrimination without stigmatizing the person so much that they become beyond reach? How do we stay invitational while protecting ourselves and our loved ones?
Those are all hard questions. So for today, my prayer for you is that you can draw clear boundaries of what behaviors are acceptable while keeping a heart open enough to see the full humanity of the person who hates.