Be careful who you hate

Dear President Trump,

By now you should know that I’m someone who actually reads and is often affected by bumper stickers. Part of it is that they are usually short and pithy; easy to digest. More importantly, though, is that someone has chosen to adorn their car with one or more statements that will be seen and read by countless other people. The statement could be as benign as “I (heart) my dachshund” or it could be as loaded as an NRA sticker. Bumper stickers may be ubiquitous and I may be anomalous in the extent to which they affect me, but choosing to put them out there is very different than simply telling friends that one (hearts) their dachshund or their AR-15.

So in case you were wondering, there is a particular bumper sticker that prompted this reverie. I saw it the other morning on the back window of a van and it reads:

“Be Careful Who You Hate.
It Could Be Someone You Love.”

In between the two lines is a rainbow stripe.

I have no idea whether the person who chose this bumper sticker is LGBTQ and has been hated by people who once loved them or is someone who has struggled to love and not hate someone who is LGBTQ. Who this person is and what their motives were in choosing this particular public statement are mysteries.

Whoever she/he/they is and whatever their reason for choosing this bumper sticker, I hope random people see it and stop to consider that even when we talk in derogatory ways about “those people” it may be sending hate messages to loved ones. I’m probably being too abstruse here – what I am saying is that when a dad or a mom (or whoever) talks about those nasty queers going to hell in front of their sensitive eleven year old child who is wondering if she or he or they might be queer, they are sending the message that their child, who they presumably love, will risk being hated if they are themselves. Pretty messed up and messing up messages. Even in our new-found age of relative enlightenment, this is still happening all the time. Words are powerful, and cruel, hateful words are especially powerful. Do-overs on such words are often are too little, too late. So we have to be careful who we hate because chances are it will eventually hurt someone we love.

May we keep each other feeling safe, secure, and loved.
May we be happy to watch what we say lest we harm anyone.
May we get that hate is not healthy for the hated or the hater.
May we make push ourselves to make peace with differences that are hard to accept.

Tracy Simpson

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