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On loving angry, older white-guys. (Why and how love might help.)


Donald J. Love

A few points before the article:

• If you think you are better off hating your enemies than loving them, this article is not for you. If that’s the case, here are other articles (1, 2, 3,) I have written about love that might be easier for you to digest.

• I am aware that the world sees me as a white/cis/male and that my experience might not mirror yours. You might say I have the privilege to not be “in the streets” outraged. I have great love and compassion for those who are traumatized or who have been re-traumatized. What I write is my experience and perspective.

• What I am writing about is nothing short of nearly impossible to do. This is aspirational. This is a direction in which I have made progress, but I am not an expert; I do not do this either all the time or very well.

• Finally, to my resistance friends, I assure you that next week you will read an article about me at a protest; I don’t think sitting, thinking about being loving is going to fix the world. Love must be put into action.

Donald J. Love

Older white males, like the 45th president of the United States – whether you believe he was elected or installed – want to know that they are loved. Even the most heinous, unrepentant among them, believe they are deserving of love.

This is important to know – all people with whom you interact – or just because they exist on this planet – believe they are deserving of love. All of them want to be loved.

Love is made of recognition, acceptance, understanding, and action.
Recognition, understanding, and acceptance do not mean agreeing. They mean recognizing, understanding, and accepting.

I am willing to try to do all three with the current president.

And, I want you to join me on this – to recognize, understand, and accept him.

I didn’t say you had to like him. I’m not telling you that you should bring him bowling or rent him shoes or buy him a beer. I just said you should recognize him for who he is, understand him for who he is, and accept him for who he is.

Donald J. wants – even to the point of desperately – to be seen.
Who becomes president who doesn’t have the desire for the entire world to know them? (Being egocentric is a job requirement – the amount that is healthy or not is a matter of opinion.)

The Donald wants to be seen, acknowledged. And, if you are willing to make him the object of your scorn, he will take that – because at least you are engaging with him – making him feel that he exists.

I also know something else about older white males. Older white males – not all, of course, but many, and others as well – are scared of death. He knows that death is on the horizon and therefore does what others do – seek some immortality through “leaving a legacy.”

Older white guys want to know that they will be remembered. That is why they hold rallies and care so much about the flag and the monuments – these things are symbols that they hope, like them, will not be forgotten. They hope to live on.​​​​​​​

Why shouldn’t we go at them with hate? Because if we expose those with power for what we know them to be – capable of acts they do, then both justify and deny – then they will have no chance of grace.

And, everyone deserves grace.

They are not stupid. But, neither are they the type to be vulnerable first – apologizing for their errors. Their wiring is different; neither atonement nor signs of reparation come to them easily.

Yet, my brothers and sisters, in spite of that, and because of that, we can and we must forgive them. (You don’t have to like that, but I ask you to think about doing it.)

We know what they have done.
We can plainly see the heinous things that they do.

But they don’t. Or won’t. Or both.

Perhaps they know it.

Perhaps, perhaps, just perhaps, they are simply too ashamed to admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

If that is true, then the only way they will ever crack and be vulnerable, the only way they will come clean about their corruption and abuses of power, is if, despite it all, we make for them a safe space to be vulnerable. We must, in that case, cradle them with love.

We must love them even if it sickens us.

Because no one is beyond redemption.

Let us condemn them in our hearts and be loving in our words.
We need not agree with them, but we can certainly voice our displeasure with civility.

Let us be unified in non-violence.
Let us be bastions of love.
Let us assure them that we are thankful for what we have.
We can even thank them for their contributions that we enjoy – after all, we enjoy the roads we drive upon and the gas we put in our cars. Let us thank them for keeping the peace in our communities.

Let us be sincere in thanking the older white men for their service and let us tell them that we will keep their memories alive.

Let us not be heard shouting intentions of “smash the patriarchy.”

Instead, let us quietly replace it.

Let us replace hate with love.

We will win when we sow the seeds of love.

We will win when we have made this earth a place of love and kindness.

Let us remind our enemies of what true love feels like.
Let us love them so they can no longer resist.

Because love always wins.

Love always wins. Always. Always.

There is no force as powerful as love.

With love, ​​​​​​​

Rabbi Brian

Visit Rabbi Brian’s website Religion Outside the Box

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