I hate oysters, I hate phonies, I hate the tele-marketers! How many times a day do we “hate” something. When I was little, Daddy wouldn’t allow us to say that we hated anything — we could say we disliked it, detested it intensely — but “hate” was verboten. I didn’t understand then, the words had the same meanings and it wasn’t like “hate” was one of the BAD words.

Later I discovered a epithet from an Indian guru, Shirdi Sai Baba, that runs, “Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence.” I’m still not fond of oysters — but I’ve tried them and I respect the efforts that go into harvesting and preparing them for consumers. What my father was trying to teach was the essence of grace.

Recently, another blogger I read ranted about Ann Coulter’s recent anti-Semitic performance on a radio talk show. While Coulter’s bile strains credulity, his response was appalling. He said she needed to be shot!? Shot, with a gun! Now I know that kind of hyperbole exists — I’ve died of embarrassment more times than my cat has lives — this kind of vitriol only serves to illustrate the hyprocrisy of left and right in modern American politics.

Coulter’s hyprocrisy is exposed as she uses the very medium she purports to despise to disseminate her message. And her dismissal of women’s equality as she reaps it’s rewards is comical. In a similar vein, my fellow blogger who hates her with such passion is not only arguing against the tolerance the left espouses, but ignoring the long history of anti-semitism from which her comments originate. She was just recycling a line that served to incite Inquisitions, Crusades and pogroms for centuries. Heck, she was even echoing some Islamic scholars who use the same linear progression to demonstrate the superiority of Mohammed’s message.

Our fascination and reactions to these hatemongers is a lot like picking at a scab — you know you shouldn’t, but it’s strangely satisfying. If we follow the dictates of Shirdi Sai Baba, the wells of interest in this kind of nonsense would run dry. In the meantime, while we search for grace — maybe we can experience gratitude. Ms. Coulter offers an opportunity for a re-examination of the sources of Judeo-Christian-Islamic similarities and differences.

Music to feel gratitude for: Handel, Harry Connick, Grateful Dead, George Harrison and Edvard Grieg

It takes a certain amount of courage to let the field lie fallow until you have something to say. –> Emmylou Harris

Take care,

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