I’ve seen a lot of hatred unleashed in the past few days, spewing forth from people across the political spectrum, including Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians. I, for one, refuse to rejoice over someone’s death, and I would urge you not to, as well, because love starts with you.
You can love the person while hating what the person does and has done.
In fact, you must love the person. No matter how great the injuries they’ve given others and no matter how much blood is on their hands, if you don’t love them then you’re hardly any better than they are. The libertarians and self-proclaimed anarchists celebrating Fidel’s death–the only difference between them and Fidel is that they waited for nature to take its toll, while Fidel, being part of nature as we all are, took matters into his own hands.
Fidel killed an estimated 7,000 Cubans, tried to get the USSR to nuke the United States, and tortured and imprisoned countless. This is why you hate him? Has it not occurred to you that, by this criteria, you must hate more than 90% of the world’s population? The United States, supported by a huge chunk of Americans, has killed way more people than that, just in the last fifteen years. We incarcerated far more people than Fidel ever did, and our reasons were every bit as empty and political as Castro’s–he might have incarcerated people for protesting, while we have police and quasi-military agencies lining up at Standing Rock to abuse American citizens. We have the highest percentage of prisoners in the world, and most of them have done nothing wrong by any rational standard. This is true in Europe, as well, and the Middle East, and Asia, and India, and Russia, and China. No matter where you go, these things are true.
And, let me just fill you in, if you are hating more than 90% of the world’s population, then you can’t possibly be any better than the people you hate.
Yes, condemn the murder of people, the incarceration of people, the robbery of people, the torture of people. Absolutely, but…
Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
1 John 3:15
It’s an irony that’s not lost on me, that despite being an ardent atheist I sound more like a follower of Christ than the overwhelming majority of Christians out there. I wouldn’t agree that you’re a murderer, but if you’re thinking in such literal terms then you’ve completely missed the point, and–
Holy hell, did I just say that?
Forgiveness isn’t easy. Forgiveness isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to require a lot of restraint, compassion, and focused, intentional reflection on your part in order to forgive someone, and, the more harm they have done, the harder it is to forgive them.
But when you’re looking at the legacy of a bloody tyrant, that is when it’s most important to cling to your humanity and consciously choose love over hate. That’s the moment that matters, the moment when it’s most difficult; that’s the moment when the infidels are separated out from the rest. This is when the rubber hits the road, when the going gets tough, and when the people who simply talk shit are separated from people who walk the walk.
Whatever else is true, this is a human being who did love people and who was loved, and this human being is now dead. His brief moment of existence in the cosmological clock of the universe is over, and he will never exist again; a piece of the universe, a piece of reality, has been irretrievably lost forever.
Meanwhile, the ideas that this man embraced live on. While you’re over there rejoicing in his death, to the observer you look no better than he. I hate everything Castro represents. You won’t find very many people in the public eye who represented the diametrical opposite of my beliefs, worldview, and ideology as much as Fidel Castro did. For fuck’s sake, I’m a transgender anarcho-capitalist. Castro would have hated me if he knew I existed, and he would surely have put me to death if I lived in his country.
But hate gets us nowhere.