“Never say that you hate anyone.”
“I know it’s true, but this really isn’t the time to bring that up.”
“You should never be excited that somebody died.”
All of the above expressions and the whole lot like them are productions of pathetic sentimentalists, often the sort of people who cannot be bothered to stand up to real oppression but who are the first in line to smack down or correct an individual who bucks some ridiculous societal convention, like removing one’s hat for the National Anthem.
My latest outrage simmering along these lines is clearly stemming from the nonsense storm of sweetheart rhetoric spit in support of Republican Congressman Steve Scalise, who was shot by an apparent deep-end extremist during a congressional baseball practice last week in Virginia. In the time since, we’ve heard the expected niceties out of liars and frauds like President Donald Trump, who claimed the Louisiana congressman is somehow now a hero since he took a bullet, but also from more liberal voices that, for a number of reasons, are simply better off remaining silent when such awful things happen to horrible people.
Before you fire up your hate mail machine, please allow me to explain. As you may be well aware, there are innumerable people who deserve and actually need your compassion—they range from down-and-out veterans to those who have been brutally screwed by corrupt lenders. In any case, Congressman Scalise is not one of them. This is a scumbag who is pro-life, supports mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gases, voted to make horrid tax cuts for the rich put forth by George W. Bush permanent, backed the Keystone XL pipeline—the list goes on. He’s a bull on immigration and, perhaps most significantly in these circumstances, has been a darling of the NRA.
I have no doubt that some dolts will accuse me of endorsing last week’s shooting. Hardly. Rather, I am simply drawing attention to how, in the time since those shots were fired, we have heard innumerable positive statements—including from alleged lefties—about what a decent person Scalise is. I’m just calling bullshit. And wondering out loud how anybody with a single progressive bone in their body could care about such a monster.
Instead of “never say that you hate anyone,” I recommend that everybody stop pretending. We all hate some people, and that’s perfectly okay.
And instead of not bringing things up when they are apparently sensitive to particular parties, if the revelations that you wish to expose are worthwhile, scream them from the roof and mountaintops.
Because if you don’t have anything negative or critical to say when an asshole who preys on the environment and oppressed people gets shot or dies, then you might as well say nothing at all.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.