5 March, 2010

Haters

Haters – slang, defines those who have nothing positive to say about anything or anybody, and feel somebody else owes them everything and, if they don’t give them everything, they deserve to be hated. They are people mad at the world but probably simply mad at themselves, as pointed out here, or people who are envious of the work done by other people or their accomplishments as pointed out by others, or even people who “see your glory but don’t know your story.”

As some of you may know, I am involved in a community effort to support the Lower Merion School District (LMSD). Apart from the ipetition that I co-sponsored with two friends, I have also written about this issue both on commondreams.org and for the Main Line Times. What is strange, however, is how many of the aforementioned haters have come out of the woodwork to rant and rave and decry this very apolitical and simple effort whose goal, already met, is that of gathering a significant number of parents together (771 at last count), who support the idea that we are partners with the officials and teachers in our schools, in raising and educating our kids.

Which made me think about the assumptions people make about one another. I’ve been accosted by innumerable “haters” during these past two weeks, one of the most bizarre and misinformed groups being the one which labels our ipetition in support of the Lower Merion School District (LMSD), as being the brainchild of those who supported the Unified Slate which was a term used to define our previous school board which chose to vote as a bipartisan unified group in order to secure the best for our schools. It’s called consensus, but apparently consensus does not wash with the haters in our hood.

So here’s a little tidbit just for those people who apparently cannot see beyond their own little universe colored in hues which apparently block sunlight and/or any light that might illuminate life for them: The other two women who joined me in creating this petition are also people like me, with full lives, who played no part in the acrimony surrounding the process of redistricting or the issues brought up by any of the warring factions. We neither supported nor opposed the Unified Slate. If these wing nuts actually read the accompanying blog they might have found out how this petition got started. Sometimes, people just have a good thought and go ahead and do it. Sometimes, people just don’t have an agenda. Sometimes, it really is what it is. Then again, when a person is engaged in nefarious activities, they find it extremely difficult to imagine that other people aren’t also doing the same. Well, here’s a word from the horse’s mouth: we don’t have any secret agenda, plans for political gain, fame or anything else you can think of. We are just people who wanted to express our support for the LMSD and were willing to be just three people saying so publicly if that was how it was going to be. Mercifully, most other people in this district appear to be relatively sane.

It always amazes me how vitriolic and stupid people can get when the underlying basis for their very existence – as a group, as an organization, as individuals – is unadulterated malice. Perhaps it is crazy of me to expect otherwise, but I do. I simply cannot imagine that such ignorance and idiocy can take root and flourish inside the minds of human beings. And yet, the evidence is all around – it can and it does. What does not surprise me, however, is that such people never have the guts to come out in the open. They are like the KKK, hiding behind masks, in their case, pseudonyms, taking their pot shots at their neighbors. Here are a few gems I’ve come across: Politeia, teadrinker, Stepford Wives, tea-for-two, Give Me A Break, Wynnewoodie, Haverford, Keep The Change, Ever Heard of the Bill of Rights and, a personal favorite, Get A Clue Ru.

On the one hand I have been accused of being everything from an “affluent entitled” Main Line parent, and a “Main Line frau,” to being someone who shares her politics with Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Yes, it is laughable, but it is also sad. If this is the type of thinking that goes on in the heads of the so-called educated minority in America, is it any wonder we are where we find ourselves? If the raison d’être for a group is just to hate somebody else, spout negative hogwash and dismantle the reputations of educators who have given their lives to their careers, is it any wonder that American students lag behind nearly everybody else on the planet? If the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night is to spew your hatred as far as you can make it go, what, exactly, are you teaching your children?

And, by the way, I may not have any glory, but do, please, get my story before you decide to bust out your sabers. Otherwise, it just makes you look even worse than you are.

Addendum: Both “Politeia” and “Wynnewoodie” left comments on this post using their pseudonyms. I responded directly to both as follows:

“Are you willing to post this comment that you left on my blog under your own legal name? While I respect the opinion you have stated – and certainly feel it adds to a civilized conversation – I have no respect for people who don’t have the integrity to exhibit the sort of transparency they are demanding from their institutions. We may yet discover that our intentions are not that dissimilar, but we can’t get there from here when I am out in the open and you are in hiding.

Needless to say, I am still waiting. Funny thing, though. Apparently this whole initiative was a way for me to publicize my book. I’ll let the BBC know.

6 Responses to “Haters”

  1. Kishani says:

    A little more about Unified Slate, please. It’s not clear what the issues at stake are.

  2. Ru Freeman says:

    Kishani –

    Instead of fielding slates divided by party (Democrat v. Republican), the Unified Slate chose to run as a bi-partisan group. People could choose to vote for a particular “slate” or they could choose to vote by party or by individual. The objective was to reduce conflict and create an atmosphere of trust between a team of people working together rather than in opposition.

  3. Wynnewoodie says:

    There’s an awful lot of hypocrisy in this blog post. It seems to me that you’ve labeled others as “haters” and “wingnuts” just because they disagree with you without bothering to get their “story.”

    Perhaps some (like me) were put off by the tone of your petition — suggesting that the signers of the petition are “saner and more measured” than people who were at least as concerned about protecting our children from unknown eyes with undisclosed access as we are about protecting our school district from potentially undeserved international ridicule.

    Others are disturbed by the ongoing campaign by numerous petition signers waged on an affiliated Facebook group to destroy the reputation of the plaintiffs, which is irrelevant to the question of whether the actions of the school district were legal or appropriate.

    There is a difference between being a partner and being a follower. A partner is unafraid to voice their objection when the enterprise is off course; a follower will pledge their allegiance and obedience. Our schools are better served by partners than followers. It is possible to be both loyal and critical.

    PS – A petition is as much defined by its signers as its framers, and people who criticize your petition as being full of many of the same names who were behind efforts to preserve the status quo in Lower Merion (the Unified Slate and Citizens Advocating for Lower Merion (CALM)) are not incorrect. Perhaps you began your petition as a genuine grass-roots effort, but at this point, it looks, feels and smells more like astroturf.

  4. Politeia says:

    Well, here’s my one post on you, Ru.

    “It would seem Ru Freeman is jumping to conclusions and making accusations about Blake Robbins and the Robbins family in the exact same manner she (not that it matters, but is Ru a she?) is complaining that the media is jumping to conclusions about LMSD.

    This destroys any credibility the op-ed may well have in regards to some of its points.”

    So this makes me a hater? Sure.

    People have difference experiences with groups or individuals in their lives. Obviously you experience with LMSD has been positive. I have no problem with you keeping that experience positive.

    My experience with government in Lower Merion has not been so positive. I started out in a polite manner with concerns, but when I kept up my polite questioning, I was treated in a pretty ugly manner.

    This has caused me, like you, to become an activist. I also work on a state and national level. I am not associated with either political party or the Tea Parties as they are not the answer in my view.

    I seek government accountability to the People. In my view, government on all levels, and whether it be the school district or the township, has lost site of who they work for and have lost respect for the rule of law.

    This is not “hating”. This is seeking to hold government accountable – whether it be to African Americans in South Ardmore, to citizens who complain about police misconduct, or whomever.

    In my view, too many people are either too busy with their lives to get involved, or they just blindly follow what government dictates.

    My activism revolves around government following the rule of law and obeying the Constitution.

    I know that upsets some people, and I know some will say that makes me a “hater”, but to some people the Constitution and the rule of law do matter.

    I just happen to be one of those people.

  5. Ru says:

    The comment above, under the pseudonym “Politeia” is from Andy Meyers. Unrelated to his post, I am adding a link that a friend sent to me which discusses the business of cyber-bullying called, ‘Your First Amendment Right to be Mean’ written by Jen Kim. This particular post appeared on February 15th, 2010.

  6. Ru says:

    The comment by “Wynnewoodie” was submitted by Preston (no last name).

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The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.


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