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I came up with the idea of the drawing at the top first. But then I thought more about it and realized that it needed a second illustration so I drew the two men on a separate napkin. Then I thought of another version and drew it. Then I thought of another one, and another one. Then I realized there are infinite versions of the coward hating someone who intimidates them. In America alone you can see a hatred of Muslims (or more accurately, pretty much everyone from the Middle East, Muslim or not), LGBTs, women, African-Americans, gun owners, gun regulators, Democrats, Republicans, Chinese, Mexicans (or anyone speaking Spanish), Jews. rich people, poor people, celebrities, disabled, Atheists, Christians, Goths, Pageant Queens, fat people, thin people and more. The list is indeed infinite.
The Box marked X
The simple truth is, the coward can’t handle figuring out a way to live with one or more of these groups. They don’t want to struggle with the difficult emotional and psychological work of opening their mind to try to understand these other people. That takes courage. It’s much easier to simply categorize whatever group is intimidating you into being unworthy of your attention and contemplation. Just put them in the box marked X and hate the box. It’s so much easier.
It’s also so much more dangerous. Of course the obvious danger is what happened in Orlando and South Carolina and on back at different locations for decades now, and that is violence that kills and maims. It is what we most want to avoid. But there is another danger, not as immediately disastrous, but perhaps equally terrible in the long view, and that is a life wasted by hate. Many hateful people aren’t going to go out in a blaze of shame by killing themselves and others. But they are going to live a life of hate and end up on their deathbed having only that hate to show. What a tragedy that is.
So, what do you do about it if this is you or someone you love? It’s to admit your intimidation. Admit your fear. Start with what is at the root of it all. That requires courage. But the benefit of summoning that courage instead of hiding in the cave of cowardice is that you get to be in the light. You get to escape the hate and move towards love. And once you escape it in one area of your life, it gets to be infectious. Loving becomes easier, it becomes something you want, something you look forward to, something you can give away with pride. And, it’s something that then starts to transform others around you.
That is worth any level of harsh self-evaluation.
Drawings and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, Irish Playwright