The Hate Train

“People all over the world (Sisters and brothers)
Join hands (join, come on)
Start a love train (ride this train, y’all), love train (Come on)
People all over the world (Don’t need no tickets)
Join hands (come on, ride)
Start a love train, love train”

The O’Jays, “Love Train”

Where was that magnificent thought lost? When was it that we all, all around the world, became so self-obsessed that any thought of “love for one’s fellow man” is met with ridicule and derision?

When did the “Love Train” leave the station and the “Hate Train” pull in?

I am very frustrated by the level of discourse, not just in America, but seemingly all around the world. It is not enough to disagree these days, but we must also humiliate and degrade those that disagree with us, lest we, in turn, be humiliated and degraded.

At least that is the way it seems.

If you ask the Republicans, they’ll tell you that the liberals started it. If you ask the Democrats, they’ll tell you that the conservatives started it all.

And so it goes, Arabs and Jews, North and South Koreans, Pakistanis and Indians, on and on and on and on.

What will derail the “Hate Train” and allow us to address issues that divide us without the rancor and flying accusations that not only dominate our rhetoric, but indeed seem to be the entirety of our rhetoric?

I am not so naive as to believe that there have not been significant divides between us in the past, but lately I have been losing hope that there is another track on which we could travel.

We seem to be hurtling down the tracks, riding the “Hate Train” with no brakeman on board and no concern about his absence. Our destination is unknown and what lies on the tracks seems of little concern to most. It seems that the passengers on this train are more interested in fighting with each other than any thought of where the train is headed.

We have become so accustom to the direction that we are traveling that we just can’t see another way.

William Stephenson Clark


Filed under World Politics

25 responses to “The Hate Train

  1. “If you ask the Republicans, they’ll tell you that the liberals started it. If you ask the Democrats, they’ll tell you that the conservatives started it all.

    And so it goes, Arabs and Jews, North and South Koreans, Pakistanis and Indians, on and on and on and on.”

    I don’t think placing blame is a successful strategy. The only tactic I know that will be effective in derailing “The Hate Train,” is the one thought expressed by every religion and culture throughout history — treat others as you want to be treated, The Golden Rule. It’s an ethical and moral way to conduct human interaction.

  2. Remember too that if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly you must ask yourself if you gave permission to be treated that way. Often you’ll find you stayed for the fight and when you were unable to control your desire to respond you gave your opponent permission because you already violated the rule.

    The golden rule is best interpreted as saying: “Treat others only as you consent to being treated in the same situation.” To apply it, you’d imagine yourself on the receiving end of the action in the exact place of the other person (which includes having the other person’s likes and dislikes). If you act in a given way toward another, and yet are unwilling to be treated that way in the same circumstances, then you violate the rule.

  3. When you give someone power, they have it.

  4. The Universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions

    Christianity — All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
    Matthew 7:1

    Confucianism — Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
    Analects 12:2

    Buddhism — Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
    Udana-Varga 5,1

    Hinduism — This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
    Mahabharata 5,1517

    Islam — No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.

    Judaism — What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
    Talmud, Shabbat 3id

    Taoism — Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
    Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien

    Zoroastrianism — That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
    Dadisten-I-dinik, 94,5

    • wicked

      You missed Wiccan (Wiccanism?).

      Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.

      There’s also the Rule of Three. The Rule of Three (also Three-fold Law or Law of Return) is a religious tenet held by some Wiccans. It states that whatever energy a person puts out into the world, be it positive or negative, will be returned to that person three times. Some subscribe to a variant of this law in which return is not necessarily threefold.

      I believe prayer is a type of energy.

      • indypendent

        I believe true prayer is the way for a person to shed the selfishness of oneself and to focus on others and to bring peace, calm, goodness and love to the world.

        The Bible says that God is love. If this is true, then love cannot be a person or being. Love is an energy source.

        So if God is an energy source, how can God be the being that sends heathens to Hell?

        And to me, God can be called by many names. And in the end, does it really matter what name people use to refer to the energy source of love?

        If all people,of all different religions, are focused on sending out positive energy, then they will be too busy to start wars – wouldn’t they?

  5. indypendent

    First of all, Will – thanks for putting that song in my head this morning – wonder how long it will take before he stops looping?


  6. tosmarttobegop

    Even those I played my part during the Clinton administration I was totally shocked when I finally actually started paying attention. The Political discourse and the level it is!

    And how it is not limited by facts or reality, oddly I have heard similar comments about Republicans and Democratic as I heard made about the races. Disassociation between individuals and the larger group.
    Statements made about the group as a whole then stating they know individuals who they say are not like that yet still believing that the entire group is like the belittling and downgrading stereotype.

    And yes it is a common used excuse for going over the top that the other side started it or is doing it.

    • To me that excuse of who started it only says you’re willing to do what you complain about.

      • indypendent

        But there is a fine line between engaging in the mud slinging and defending yourself when the mud is thrown at your first.

        We saw what happened to John Kerry with those swift boat ads. Kerry did not respond until much later and then he was painted in an even worse light.

        I think we are living in a reality television mindset society. Everything has been turned into a competition and only the strong win.

        Being strong – and maybe even cheating, lying and stealing is the surest way to win.

        It used to be the good guys won. If you’re near my age (57), we all remember the television and movies we watched – the good guys always won out over the bad guys. And the bad guys were always taken off to prison to pay for their crimes.

        In sports, the moral lesson was always to show good sportsmanship – both in losing and winning. The winners were frowned upon if they gloated. And if losers threw hissy fits like we see today – they were immediately ejected from the sport – usually for the rest of the season.

        Compare those days to today’s climate. The good guys are seen as the ones that can be run over – pushed around. And the bad guys are glorified.

        Our society values the wrong things in many cases. I just wonder at what point in this downward spiral will we wake up and realize what is really important?

  7. To me, the “Hate Train” started forming and preparing for its journey in 1970 (or thereabouts). The divisions in society resulting from the failed policies that led to U.S. involvement in Viet Nam beginning in 1959-1960 with the first “advisors” being sent came to a head about then. The construction workers, e.g., with the “love it or leave it” sentiments expressed against opponents of the war who proclaimed peace and love but whose view of the situation was naive, at best, and exploitable by those with darker intentions.

    Kent State was a telling symptom of the trauma roiling beneath the surface, and polarization of thought on both sides of the political spectrum became the norm, along with intolerance towards the “other side”. All subsequently has flowed to a natural end, i.e., the extreme political partisanship which has been on display in the past two decades. While political partisanship in the extreme is certainly not new in this nation, it is my sense that the previous periods thereof were of relatively short duration; I cannot say the same about the current one.

    And no, I don’t have any easy solutions.

    • indypendent

      Have you any thoughts or comments as to how the women’s lib movement and even the birth control pill had an effect on our political system – since we are talking about the 60’s?

      Before the 60’s and women were more or less stay-at-home housewives/mothers, were the women more inclined to vote the way their husband voted? Or did they even vote in all that many numbers?

      When women became more sexually active and did not seem to face the same fears as their mothers and grandmothers did and that in itself made the women more free to express themselves without the stigma of being a single woman taking care of themselves. Many women were thinking about their own careers and how to get into the workforce and make their own lives.

      I remember all the ruckus John F Kennedy started with the women in my hometown. Most women I knew fell in love with JFK because he was seen as young, charismatic and downright handsome.

      And then that famous debate between JFK and Nixon – it was obvious that JFK was winning over the women because even the fact that Nixon’s forehead sweat was mentioned at the time as a turn-off.

      So, I was just wondering if any of these women’s issues had any bearing at all on how our politics has changed over the years?

  8. WSClark

    Your not so humble columnist is as guilty as anyone of bringing a gun to a gun fight. In my defense, I truly do try to fight with facts on my side and back my opinions with evidence.

    But when the mud starts flying, sometimes it is just more than I can resist. Unfortunately, I am well equipped to return fire and I do.

    A reasoned, open-minded debate is a good intellectual exercise if one is willing to “see the other side.”

  9. We hear everything today. We have so many ways of hearing — twitter, blogging, 24 hour news, etc. — gang mentality takes over from there and feeds the fenzy.

    • indypendent

      But with our 24 hour news and instant knowledge at our fingertips; that gang mentality you speak of can oftentimes create false facts and some how these false facts get picked up as actual ‘news’ and it gets spread very quickly.

      And you know it is never easy to correct a false story as to start that same false story.

      In today’s political climate – that salting the news cyle with false facts is done on purpose.

  10. Stephenie Roberts

    “The hate train” gains strength whenever we fail to speak up. When we decide that it is too risky or we avoid difficult conversations for fear of not fitting in, we allow the prevailing mentality to gain strength. Giving voice to your ideals is the most valuable tool in making sure others begin to hear other possibilities. You never know who may hear you and what changes you may be activating. Keep blogging! Life now is in a state of flux, and “the hate train” can easily lose steam as long as progressive minds keep offering up something better.

    • Hi Stephenie. Thanks for your comment. You are so right! We can’t let the lies slide. It just feeds the fires and adds to the brain rot of ignorance and denial of facts!

      Come back to visit or pull up a chair and stay a while. 😉

  11. wicked

    I have a feeling it will be another generation that moves back towards The Love Train. My grandkids, maybe. They don’t see color or the things we grownups do. For one thing, we’ve tried not to teach them bigotry and racism. If not them, maybe their children. But I know that it won’t be in my lifetime.

    Too bad all the flower power children grew up.

    • indypendent

      I think that all depends on how our economy changes and the politics that goes along with that.

      For example – look at today’s illegal immigration debate. If we truly want equality, then everyone should have the chance to get a good job.

      But if employers are allowed to hire illegal immigrants for cheaper labor and our politicians let this continue – then at some point the legal immigrants and American-born people are going to get mad and start blaming the illegals for all the problems in the country.

      And then the seeds of racism are planted. When people are full of fear and no opportunities, I think that is when racism rears its ugly head. Many times, this is done on purpose by the politics of the day and their agenda.

      I really think the problem of the hatred of Hispanics is worse than the hatred of blacks at the moment.

  12. Do you think once jobs are adequate in Mexico the Mexican workers may demand more? It seems to me — when the workers are few the employer gets more picky, so if the jobs are numerous do the workers get more picky?

    Maybe Mexico will be where all the union organizers should go?

    • wicked

      Maybe Mexico will be where all the union organizers should go?

      Good point! However, we may have to go there, too, since so many of our jobs are going there. We wouldn’t have to worry about snow plows…

  13. indypendent

    I was reading about the workers in China are committing suicide at an alarming rate and the government is considering raising their wages and improving working conditions in order to curtail this from happening.

    But, I thought the Chinese were cold-blooded, godless heathen Communists? If they show compassion to their workers, what does that make the employers in the US who treat their workers like dirt beneath their feet?