Charlottesville reminds me of what a powerful word “hate” can be in our lives.

As a child, I hated beans. White beans, navy beans, any beans my mother would serve. And I would use the word to protest them on my plate.

But one day, my mother had a talk with me about hate. She was calm and quiet. Hate, she told me, was a word we should carefully reserve for only the most evil of things in life. She also told me, the emotion of hate was to give someone or something else power over me.

Considering I had not yet reached double-digit candles on my birthday cake, this might have been a bit difficult to comprehend. But somehow, her words stuck. To this day, I sparingly use the word.

Don’t take my mother as a Pollyanna or simpleton about the world around her. At the same kitchen table, she also shared her memories of the Nazis destroying her childhood in Europe and taking the lives of her neighbors by reducing their homes to rubble as bombs and rockets fell from the nighttime skies.

Her stories shook me to my moral compass — some I refuse to ever write or tell others.

But she never outwardly hated anyone. Sure, she would get upset or angry with others, but to put them in a bucket labeled hate, was something reserved for only the strongest of convictions and moral principles.

This week, I am hearing and seeing this word, hate, spewing across everything from apps on my cell phone to newspaper reports. And this is troubling.

The terrible events that unfolded in Charlottesville are horrific. People and lives are forever changed. But will hate go mainstream in America? I pray to God this does not happen.

Hate is a learned behavior. We see it in other nations where generations of people hate others without ever having looked them in the eyes. ISIS is building an entire generation of fighters against the West with this primitive formula: embed and incite hate against another.

Hate is evil. In the truest sense of the word, hate is a sledgehammer preventing two people from ever being able to trust or respect one another. And once that bridge is destroyed, rarely does one come back.

What I fear is that people will too easily surrender to hate, turning on one another, forever destroying a chance for us to be one people working toward one goal in this nation.

You are not born hating another. Rather, you either learn it through experiences or are taught to hate. But rational people don’t cross the line without first understanding what awaits them on the other side: anger, pain and a smaller world.

I hurt for Charlottesville. I also hurt for families explaining these tragic events to their children. This is one of the most important responsibilities of parenting. I pray — and trust — they will make the right decisions and not plant the seeds of hate. Our nation may depend on it.

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher of The Galveston County Daily News.

(39) comments

Carlos Ponce

I am reminded of the time the KKK had an exhibit at the Thelma Webber Community Center in Santa Fe. David Michael Smith led a peaceful protest of the event. But if David Michael Smith had not made such a big deal of the occasion no one would have known the KKK was in town. The Klan would have come and gone with only a few curious dropping by the center. David Michael Smith's protest gave the Klan undue credibility and publicity.
"Let the KKK do what they want," Santa Fe resident Bubba White said. "We shouldn't make a big deal out of it. Just let them go in there and do their thing. They aren't breaking any laws, they're just thinking the way they want to think."
The Texas City Sun pages 1A and 12A Sunday April 6, 2003
According to The Texas City Sun, 100 people protested the event. I was there just out of curiousity. The Klan may be a vile and despicable organization but their Freedom of Speech is protected by the Constitution.
"Emerson Wainwright, of Santa Fe, said one member was inside talking about the impor­tance of love for his own race, rather than crime against minori­ties."
"They had medals on display and pictures of former Klan people and the original members," Dickinson High School student Dustin North said. "It was set up like a museum and there were people lecturing."

Mark Aaron

So your solution to the promulgation of hate is to just ignore it, to pretend it doesn't exist? You have no problem speaking out against all manner of issues in this forum, but hate and bigotry gets a pass because it might bring attention to the issue? That doesn't make a lot of sense Carlos.

Carlos Ponce

Again, Mark, you miss the main idea of my post. Were you bad at reading comprehension in grade school? Or do you just post nonsense in these forums to get attention?

Paula Flinn

There you go again, Carlos, insulting the messenger, instead of the message. This is why I don't post here often.

Carlos Ponce

Paula, your posts are welcome. My posts are on target. Don't read them if they bother you. Some people can't handle the truth.

Mark Aaron

"Were you bad at reading comprehension in grade school? Or do you just post nonsense in these forums to get attention?"

Are those the only choices?

Carlos Ponce

Then give an another option to show why your analysis is off the mark. You have made unkind remarks about other longtime forum posters. You disagree with them. That is understandable. But your remarks are unwarranted. Seems like you can dish it out but not take it.

Mark Aaron

"You have made unkind remarks about other longtime forum posters."

You have made uncountable unkind remarks against both new and old posters here, Carlos. Maybe you should clean up your own house before you go throwing stones at others.

Carlos Ponce

Just returning what you dished out. Are you one who can dish it out but not take it?
As Barbara Bush said "He's being given as good as he gave." Do I need to explain that to you?

Mark Aaron

"Just returning what you dished out. Are you one who can dish it out but not take it? "

You should ask yourself that question, Carlos. You sure like to dish it out, by the bushel, but squeal and whine when you receive the same back.

Mark Aaron

"Unwarranted remark, Mark. You can disagree without being disagreeable - or can you?"

You sure do like to whine, Don't you Carlos? Some people would say you are a snowflake, but I would never go that far.

Paula Flinn

A belated thank you to David Michael Smith for leading the peaceful protest against the KKK. We must protest lest our grandchildren, or someone else we love, be lured into a hate group. Stand up for what you believe is the right thing.

George Croix

Gotta wonder at the nerve of an avowed Communist/Socialist leading a protest against any group espousing hate, being an advocate for hateful political phylosophies that have been behind the killing and/or subjugation of millions upon untold millions of people.


Mark Aaron

So you hate academic freedom too, George? You are quite the fan of authoritarianism, aren't you?

Carlos Ponce

Unwarranted remark, Mark. You can disagree without being disagreeable - or can you?

Carlos Ponce

You're right about David Michael keeping it peaceful. But I was there and the whole deal was blown out of proportion. Just a few nut cases renting the Center. Much ado about nothing.

Mark Aaron

"So why do you continue to hate?"

I don't see hating bigotry or cruelty as a vice.

"So sad when haters cannot see the hate in their hearts. Let it go."

You would do well to follow your own advice, Carlos. Why do you hate Obama and Progressives with such vitriol?

Carlos Ponce

Hate is hate. Give forgiveness a chance. That's what Jesus asks us to do.

Mike Meador

David Michael Smith last week in TV Houston with his rifle across his chest......I guess he decided not be peaceful.

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos. Why do you hate Obama and Progressives with such vitriol?"
If you kept up with these forums in the last few years you will find I often posted I did not hate Obama. I disagreed with his policies and posted that because they have ruined this country. Progressives are ruining this country and I still disagree with their policies. The country stagnated in economic growth.The military had their hands tied by micromanaged engagements in the Middle East. Same for the Border Patrol. American Immigration Laws were ignored. Jurists appointed to the Supreme Court and other courts ignored what is written in the Constitution, tossing it aside and legislating from the bench. Hate? No. Disagree? Yes. And I will vote to make America GREAT Again!

Mark Aaron

"We must protest lest our grandchildren, or someone else we love, be lured into a hate group. Stand up for what you believe is the right thing. "

Well said Paula. Thank you for posting that. This discussion group urgently needs more intelligent and considerate people like you.

Paula Flinn

Thank you, Mark. You and I are outnumbered here. I do not like name calling or insulting anyone for their beliefs. If I have done any of that in the past, I apologize. "Attack the message, not the messenger," is my motto. Because David Michael Smith is an admitted Marxist, he can do no good thing in any conservative's eyes. I did not necessarily subscribe to his beliefs, but enjoyed reading his columns in the newspaper. He no longer writes a column because conservatives complained mightily about him. Occasionally his wife writes in. Be strong!

Carlos Ponce

" I do not like name calling or insulting anyone for their beliefs. If I have done any of that in the past, I apologize." Apology accepted.[smile]

George Croix

The best thing would be to not give coverage or attention to hate groups.
Failing that, they should all be under scrutiny and suffer condemnation.
All.

Mark Aaron

"The best thing would be to not give coverage or attention to hate groups.
Failing that, they should all be under scrutiny and suffer condemnation.
All."

So your solution is not to confront bigotry and hate and hope it goes away? Either that, or use the government to take away their civil rights and persecute them?

Andy Brown

We should always confront bigots when their actions have a negative impact. When they are simply declaring to the world that they are bigots, which is completely in their rights, ignoring them may be more powerful than confrontation.

Mark Aaron

"We should always confront bigots when their actions have a negative impact."

Hate groups serve to normalize inhumane behavior and hate. That is clearly a negative result. That's why they should always be confronted. The government need not get involved, but caring citizens should be.

Carlos Ponce

"Hate groups serve to normalize inhumane behavior and hate. Agreed. So why do you continue to hate? So sad when haters cannot see the hate in their hearts. Let it go.

Andy Brown

"Hate groups serve to normalize inhumane behavior and hate."

They can intend to normalize hate all they want but that doesn't mean it's going to happen. I think you're giving them more credit than they deserve. And I don't have to go and counter protest to teach my son these hate groups are filled with idiots.

Jose' Boix

I just want to share this - to me thoughtful - op-ed segment by Elie Wiesel (1986 Nobel Peace Prize) calling the Jewish community to renounce the collective guilt of today’s Germans for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers:

“Am I wrong to believe that to humiliate a German today just for having been born German and to boycott an evening for him is not what Jewish ethos is all about? I would like to remind some of my fellow Jews that Hitler’s Germany condemned all of us not for what we did or did not do, but solely for having been born Jewish. We Jews do not believe in collective guilt... Relations between Jews and Germans will remain traumatized for a long time. That is to be expected. Auschwitz and Treblinka will never be eradicated from German history. And yet, hatred must never be an answer. It does not serve memory.”

Jarvis Buckley

George if no attention was given to hate groups the Democratic Party would not exist.

Andy Brown

What a terrible thing to say.

Mark Aaron

"What a terrible thing to say"

Agreed.

George Croix

Actually, I should have used the word publicity rather than attention in my initial post.
Paying attention is necessary for any person to know what's going on, but there's no need to give undue publicity or 'news' time to what are clearly hate groups or displays, of all...all...kinds.
Too often these days the media and/or agenda driven groups of all stripes display more hate than what they are jawboning about themselves.
Anyway, I personally think that while any political Party can exert it's phylosophical influence over it's members, it's stilll an individual decision for a person to participate in the kind of things we see all too often where.
Anybody who has to wear a mask to a 'peaceful demonstration' or 'peacefully' riot and destroy property. is PERSONALLY responsible, along with reprehensible...
imo....
To me, there's no longer a dimes worth of difference, clearer than ever post-last-election, between the established and entrenched Party members we've sent to 'lead' us on either side of the aisle...all are too busy being self-absorbed when they are not trying to figure out a way to avoid teamwork like it's a plague....
imo, again.....

Mark Aaron

"George if no attention was given to hate groups the Democratic Party would not exist."

That has to be the most ridiculous statement I have seen in this forum to date. Who taught you to hate like that and what was their motive? Rush Limbaugh maybe? Davis Duke?

Carlos Ponce

Again, unwarranted response from you. Mark Aaron is showing us his hate.
Blaming others when you disagree is very juvenile. You're the only one bringing up Rush Limbaugh and David Duke. They must live in your mind.

Mark Aaron

"Blaming others when you disagree is very juvenile."

Yet you continue to do it.

When people make hateful statements denigrating a group without justification that is defined as bigotry. Why do you continue to be an apologist for bigotry Carlos? Why are you so mad at people who don't agree with you. Do you spend a lot of time listening to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You often parrot their words and claims.

Carlos Ponce

If I did it it was give you what you are giving but even that concept went over your head.
I don't have time to listen to Rush Limbaugh but I do occasionally see what's on FOX News when its on restaurants and waiting rooms. I don't agree with all that comes on FOX.

Jarvis Buckley

Mark I remember Condi Rice , our former Secretary of State recalling
her grandfather being denied an opportunity to vote by a democrat
chairman at her grandaddys lawful
voting precinct. That was one of the reasons she joined the Republican
Party. She detested the bigotry shown her grandad. By a democrat.

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