Loving Those Enemies

Loving Those Enemies

The results of the November 3 presidential election are exactly what I’d hoped for. I hear complainers wishing for more of a landslide. Joe Biden won 52-48 percent. We used to call that a landslide. Perhaps ol’ Joe should have claimed it.

Modern mystic Dave Chapelle says we have to remember that half of the United States doesn’t agree with us. I say it lke this: 71 million people in the United States hate me. And 75 million people love me. Ok. Ok. Maybe not me, maybe it’s Joe Biden or Kamala Harris they love and hate. But if I allow those voters to love and to hate me, the reality is easier to swallow.

The bitter pill is, how do I not hate the 71 million in turn? How doI love them? I know the government to-be will keep more of them from dying of covid-19, fix their crumbling roads and bridges and secure their futures through Social Security and Medicare. I’m grateful for that. And equally grateful I’m removed from those decisions.

The truth is, anytime I’ve tried to stop hating someone who hasn’t been on my side, much less hated me, I’ve fallen short. Oh the people I’ve hated! All the ex’s—husbands, bosses, boyfriends, co-workers. And the parents.

My father gave me good reason to practice hate. I recently received a message from a friend I didn’t think knew my father:

Your book reminded me of an encounter with your dad. Your description of one of his 4-step cons made me think about his pitch to me. He came to my office with a guy I knew who was supposed to build his credibility. He then revealed he was a VERY SUCCESSFUL businessman / lawyer. He had an important venture that I would want to invest in. He first wanted me to invest $50,000 into a newspaper, aimed at the business I ran. No, not interested. Second, advertising at $25,000 for a two-year commitment would help my business. No, not interested. Third, can we put you on the masthead as an advisor? Your name would guarantee success. No, not interested. Fourth, can you recommend any high-net-worth people? No, can’t do that either. He was smooth, business-like. A real confidence man.

This is the latest addition to a long list of my father’s marks in his get-rich-quick schemes. It’s taken years of writing to shake off hate and slip into love. He’s been dead over twenty years but I only recently stopped fearing calls that might begin with the four frightening words, “Your father called me.”

Small love allows me to say, “he had a traumatic childhood”. Big love comes from grace. It disallows understanding or analyzation. I’ve just started to love my father, not because of those memories where he deserved love, but in spite of those memories where he didn’t deserve it.

It’s a beginning. 

And now, for the 71 million.