"I Will Not Hate"

I will not hate
because of how you look,
who you love,
where you were born,
who or how you worship
or whether or not you worship at all

I have no room for hate in my heart,
or in my life

Some who do not share my views
of how the world works
or theories about nature's mysteries
or how humans should treat each other
might insist
that I belong
in a vision of vitriol
faceless anonymous masses marching
under some banner of some other side
"those who are filled with hate"
I simply smile, and say "I'm sorry that you feel that way"
and "I'm sorry that you do not understand me"

It is easy to aim our outrage at "them"
those "others"
they who see things differently
I've always thought that we learn a lot
from that which is different
Culture, food, customs, spirituality
our landscapes, our families
our language, our music

We are not supposed to be the same
Our DNA proves it
I do not hate you
even if I do not understand you
even if your beliefs are the polar opposite
of mine
you are no less entitled to your beliefs than I am mine

It would sadden me to be hated
simply because you see me
as a bumper sticker
that simplifies my complicated life into
a label
that tells you everything
about me
and now it is easy
to know what I must be
that I am somehow "other"
less human

Even if you felt that about me,
with whatever anger and rage
brought to a boil,
I will not return it,
nor reflect it,
nor absorb it

I stand for love
and respect
and our innocent birth into this world, each of us
completely devoid of hate
needing the same things
but not all receiving them
if we learn hate
it is because we are taught
by those who have been hurt

Sorrow is overwhelming
The victims of those wounds that festered
those flames exploded
triggers pulled, fuses lit
so much pain, inflicted
by so much pain
when hate consumes
from within

I will not hate you
even if I vehemently disagree with you.
I work til my last breath to defend your right to do so
and to honor those words
"that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"
"and justice for all"
no exceptions
no matter the label they choose
or the epithets they hurl
I still believe in the dream

I cannot say it more plainly
I cannot make you believe it
But I can say it, because I live it


©2018 Andrew McKnight