poem for a hate group leader

Fred, Fred.

One day it’ll happen.

I don’t know when or how, but then none of us ever do.

Perhaps you’ll be blessed enough to die of old age. Or maybe disease will consume you, or the poison you spew take an inward toll. Or maybe, tragically, a grief-stricken family member at a funeral-turned-protest will snap, will become, only for a moment, half the monster you are.

I don’t hope for it. I don’t pray for it. I have lost loved ones, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, even you and your family, even though none of us can escape it.

But it comes to us all.

And on that day, when sorrow grips the Phelps household, when those who love you– if there are people in your circle still capable of such an emotion– gather to remember your life, to lift up whatever it is that you have accomplished and given to the world between and despite the hatred that consumed you, I have a single hope.

I hope thousands come to the funeral, and stand at a distance of three hundred feet or more.

And I hope they bring candles.

And flowers.

I hope they carry signs with messages of forgiveness, and hope, and prayer for comfort and healing.

I hope they shower upon your family every human decency, every kindness, every ounce of compassion you have tried to deny so many grieving families.

And I hope you are able to see, from whatever place a twisted soul like yours might call repose, or might call torment. I hope their compassion touches you beyond the grave, and you see how unlike you we have all remained, that you may know how very much you failed, how very much

you will always fail.

I do not disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision that hate speech is still protected as free speech. I support, on a civic level, the right of all people to espouse and articulate their views.

I refuse to accept, however, that hate speech is morally acceptable, is merely speech, or is without poisonous and violent ramification both for the targets of the vitriol and for those who spew it. I refuse to combat it with my own hatred, although that is often the most difficult choice I make. I will not let hatred use me as a conduit, and I will not let it go silently unanswered and unchallenged.

And I will never allow it to win.

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2 Responses

  1. I refuse to accept, however, that hate speech is morally acceptable, is merely speech, or is without poisonous and violent ramification both for the targets of the vitriol and for those who spew it. I refuse to combat it with my own hatred, although that is often the most difficult choice I make. I will not let hatred use me as a conduit, and I will not let it go silently unanswered and unchallenged.

    Amen.

    Hatred does most certainly have bio-chemical consequences that affect our health. It is a great example of “you makes your choices and you pays your dues”. You don’t have believe in some pseudo-mystical version of Karma when God has put “actions have consequesens” into our DNA. And that’s not (only) Schadenfreude, it can also be a statement of truth that is a call to repent.

  2. thanks, Pam. I imagine the Phelps household must be well stocked in medications for ulcers and anxiety and all manner of high-stress-related illness. Indeed, while most who are ill are not filled with hatred, I believe nearly everyone who is filled with hatred is also physically ill in some way or other. What we put out to the world takes its toll on our bodies, for better or worse.

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