How hate manifests when we’re afraid

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

My niece witnessed an older woman in the supermarket checkout line deliberately turning a magazine to hide the cover photo of President-elect Obama. The woman who flipped the magazine around said nothing to explain her strange behavior. Was it a silent protest against a Democrat winning the election? An African-American?

I found this story very disturbing: there are undoubtedly many more people secretly harboring resentment over the results of our recent Presidential election. What happens when you can’t talk about feelings, when you are afraid your feelings are unpopular or put you in danger? Some of us have known that fear for the past eight years. Now we have the opportunity to once again speak freely, but how comfortable can we really feel expressing ourselves when there are plenty of people like the woman in the checkout line getting angrier in silence day by day?

The story of the lady in the checkout line was disturbing, yes. It reminded me that I, you, we — all of us need to examine our fears. Don’t silence them so they grow insidiously. Give them a voice and listen to how ridiculous our own fears sound. Then give them up, lest they destroy us all.