Donald Trump left the office of President on January 20th, 2021. Rush Limbaugh died on February 17th, 2021. Both men garnered millions of followers. Some fans waited on every word either man said. Other people dreaded everything about them.
Detractors used similar terms for both men: homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, racist, and liar. Supporters also used like-minded terms: patriot, bold, passionate, and conservative.
Without question, both men were the epitome of success. They both amassed enormous wealth, fame, and popularity. And they also garnered massive dislike. Some people’s anger with these men has turned into hate.
When thinking about this article, I decided not to focus on Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh. Who they are and what they espouse everyone knows. In our society, every person is free to follow anyone they choose. What interests me is how people responded to Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh.
Feeling angry is a normal response to situations that offend us. For example, I didn’t like Mr. Trump’s incessant tweeting. I had trouble understanding why he bothered tweeting about minor issues. I understood his frustration, though. I cringed when Rush ran a satirical piece designed to tweak liberals. I knew it was part of his schtick, but sometimes I felt the point crossed a line I thought better uncrossed.
Whether it was a provocative tweet or a parody about “Barack the Magic Negro,” the result was the same. It offended people. It made them angry.
When I was a kid, my grandfather used to take me to the store with him. He almost always asked me if I wanted a soda pop. I remember the big red refrigerator with the word COKE in white letters on it. There was a narrow glass door, and behind it was a long row of soda bottles. He’d drop a few coins into the coin slot and then open a glass door so I could pull out whatever drink I wanted. They didn’t just slide out, and sometimes he’d have to help me pull one out. On the side of the refrigerator was a bottle opener, and I’d use it to remove the cap from my drink.
Anger is a lot like a soda pop machine. There’s always the possibility that we have an issue that angers us. All it needs is for someone to drop the right coins in the coin slot so we can get access to it. Some people have quick tempers and their anger comes out easy. Most of us have to struggle with it. If we pull hard enough, though, our anger will come out.
To this day, when I drink an ice-cold soda, it tastes good. It tickles my tongue and has a refreshing burn when it goes down my throat. When I was a kid, I used to smack my lips to show how good it tasted. Anger is a lot like drinking a soda. It tastes good. It burns a little going down, but it’s a good burn. For a second or two, it’s satisfying. But if I want the experience again, I have to take another sip.
While I love drinking a soda, there’s something I like even more. It’s ice cream. Growing up during the summers, I would go to my grandparent’s cabin and spend time with them. My cousins and I would play in the woods all day. While we played, my grandfather would make some homemade ice cream. He had a wooden ice cream maker he filled with ice and topped with salt. Then he’d crank the handle on the ice maker, making it churn. When he finished, my grandfather would pull out the ice cream covered paddles and let us lick them off. It was cold and delicious. In my mind, I can still taste it.
Hate is a lot like homemade ice cream. Unlike anger that takes very little effort, hate takes time to develop. You have to assemble the contents. You’ll need some ice and salt. And you need an ice cream maker. After getting everything together, the cream needs churning. Inside the ice cream maker, a set of paddles agitate the cream as it thickens. After a while, the cream is too thick to churn.
Soda pop has a fizzle that tickles our throats. But ice cream is smooth. If you have a sore throat, it will soothe it. It tastes good to let it melt in your mouth. And, unlike a soda, there is an aftertaste that lingers in your mouth. It tastes so good, you can’t stop until it’s all gone.
Hatred is like ice cream. While soda is drank and then it’s gone, ice cream takes time to make, and then its taste lingers when it’s eaten.
It’s ok to be angry with people who you feel have harmed you. It doesn’t even have to be true or rational. And as long as anger is like soda pop, it will taste good for a moment, then it will pass. But hate takes time to develop. It needs ingredients and churning. Unlike anger that comes fast and then fades away, hate builds one churn at a time.
Whether you like Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh isn’t important. Donald Trump may as well live on another planet from the rest of us. How you feel about him won’t affect his life. Rush has passed away. He’s beyond knowing how you feel about him.
The thing that is important is how you react to other people. If someone has harmed you, it’s natural to feel angry. But if you hate someone, you harm yourself.
When I was a teenager, I was angry at a person. I talked about him all the time. I felt justified to be angry because he had done wrong to me. And it felt good to talk about him. This went on for a few days, and then my dad sat down with me. He said what happened was wrong. But I’d taken it too far. My anger was becoming hatred. He told me to let it go or the other person would never get out of my head.
Instead of hurting me, he would become part of me.
Are you angry with Donald Trump or Rush Limbaugh? Do you hate either of them? Have you asked yourself why?