“Hate is nothing new.” The recent words of a friend as we conversed about the latest hate crime in the nation – an Iraqi woman beaten to death with a tire iron – in her home – in California. A note near her body read “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” Hate? You bet! New? Shamefully, my friend was right. Hate. But not new.

Neither was the senseless shooting of teenager Treyvon Martin in Florida. Or three idiots in Tennessee who went looking for a black man – any black man. When they found an innocent one in a parking lot, they beat him, dragged him and crushed his skull. No, not new. Just more hate.

I agree with my friend about our long familiar history of hating one another. But I would offer three recent factors that I believe have increased the hate level and will continue to do so.

One is the ever-coarsening aspect of our society. Certain segments have always been more foul-mouthed than others. “Talks like a sailor.” “Swears like a longshoreman.” I got my doses early on the ranch from field hands. My Dad even fired a few for swearing in my tender hearing.

But now, foul words and actions are on the elementary play ground. Ask any 8-year-old. A new “family” movie in town recently featured a 15-year-old girl with hardly a sentence in which she didn’t use the “F” word. Movie was, of course, rated PG. Walk down most streets. Public transportation. Fast food joints. Been reading any teenage texts lately? Or listening to one end of a cell call? Hear what they call each other?

We accept it. Because – at best – we feel powerless to change it. At worst – we ignore it as best we can. “Just the way it is now,” we say.

So, hate speech just becomes another form of speech because it’s “just the way it is now.” It permeates what we’ll say and are willing to accept. We get used to it.

A second contributor to more hate around us is violent video games, movies and television. From about the time kids are learning to walk, they are learning to use a game controller. And the games – age-rated to keep the violent ones away, or course – are violent, brutal and deadly from the get-go. They kill over and over and over and over and over and over. Then the score is reset, everyone comes back to life and the murders begin again for any 8-year-old. Just like “real” life. Right?

So, from preteen up, kids are learning not the terrible realities of death, murder, senseless killing, mayhem and destruction heaped on someone else, but how to reset the scoreboard and watch death disappear. No remorse. No tears. Just push a button. You “hate” the enemy so you destroy it. At age 8.

And third, I blame more hate crimes on that old nemesis – the Internet. When I was a child in rural Washington State, I saw the body of a black man hanging from a tree. Lynched some hours before. Even the local newspaper wouldn’t print a picture. Now, it’s on the Internet thousands of times within minutes, on your cable news station and the local TV people are interviewing the family at 6 and 11. An isolated hate crime becomes just another set of electronic flashes on everyone’s living room wall. Or your “smart” phone.

The Net – in my opinion – has also served as a gathering place – a meeting room – for haters, bigots and wannabe-bigots. They used to be isolated from each other – and the rest of us – with no way to coalesce or communicate. Now, a few mouse clicks and you can find dozens and dozens of hate sites around the world or in some part of your town. They have new “party lines” to plug into and download a quart of hate. 24-7. What do you hate today? Black, Muslim, Mexican, Hispanic, handicapped, retarded, any other skin color, red hair, freckles? It’s all there on the huge web for the feasting.

What had been solitary hatred – confined by fear of being found out by the rest of us like so much hidden pornography – is now treated by haters as “just the way things are.” It’s “justified” because so many others feel just like your local neighborhood sicko. Must be O.K. ‘cause “everybody” feels the same way. Are there more of them? Well, statistically, there are more of all of us. So, yes, I think there are more of them, too. And now they’re connected in “community” as never before. They’ve “come out.”

As a nation, it wasn’t long ago we shipped thousands and thousands of Japanese-Americans to resettlement camps – read “concentration camps.” As a nation, we hated all of them. Never mind most didn’t know any more about Japanese politics and war plans than your average all-American teenager. We just universally hated. And we were wrong!

Yes, hate has always been with us. Cain and Abel saw to that. More of it now? I think so. We’ve mainstreamed it. We tolerate it. Sometimes, we even wallow in it. When I was 8-years-old, I cried every night for weeks after that lynching. Now, at the same age, a kid can kill thousands of black-skinned soldiers in a “game” and sleep like the baby he is.

Hate has permeated our politics. Listen to it. Read it. Watch it. Hateful speech, hateful wearing apparel, hateful television ads, racist tracts handed out at campaign gatherings, a woman at a shooting rage urging the candidate to make believe he’s shooting at the President, hateful and false accusations of race, religion and birthplace.

My friend Paul was right – hate is nothing new. But the seeming indifference to it – the acceptance of it – the universality of it – the accepted use of it – increased targets for it – the ease of spreading it – the exposure to it – all of that has increased many, many fold.

While I remember the sight and even the smell of that hanging, rotting body so many years ago, my grandkids can watch a picture of a re-enactment of that on television and it doesn’t even make them pause their ever-present cell phone conversation. Academically unacceptable. Maybe. But hate? Not to them.

It was hate to me. It still is. It will always be. Maybe that’s why I hate hate so much. It represents to me the ultimate destruction of whatever the target for it may be. And the hater, too. For reasons I’ve cited here, I believe we’re seeing more of it – tolerating more of it – accepting more of it.

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