I’m still digesting the news Antonin Scalia has died. I know in today’s environment of fast-moving news, this is old news for sure. That aside, my instinctual reaction was one of joy. I’ll be honest the realization I was joyful over someone’s death bothered me a bit. The initial idea was a man w/so much influence to harm me and mine was gone. This sort of visceral reaction reminded me of my step-mother’s death. Unlike my foster mom, I was ecstatic when my step-mom died. She was the only person on this planet I’v ever felt true malevolence toward and I threw a party when she died.
Why did I associate a man who has never personally done me any direct harm with a women who delighted in abusing me daily as a child? Yes, his influence did harm me in very indirect ways but it wasn’t a direct connection. Why would I associate him with my step-mother? I mean I didn’t care for Scalia but I never hated him.1 I don’t really have an answer yet but distinctions matter and I’m working my way thru the grey areas. (pun intended)
If you know me, you know I try not to see the world thru the lens of absolutes. It has become one of the defining characteristics of my id. It is easy to believe in simplistic right/wrong, good/bad actions. It requires no sense of self or morality to avoid delving beyond the idea of ‘you wronged me’ mentality. I am fond of saying the devil is in the details. While part of me is glad the man is no longer in a position to do me harm, I’m not celebrating his death. He had a right to life as much as I did. I can’t bring myself to celebrate his life but I’m working on disentangling my emotions over his death.
People like Scalia truly believe their ideologies. He wasn’t an ignorant follower. He was well-educated and even respected as judge for decades. While he deftly avoided any real-world interactions with the LGBT community, he believed what he was doing was right. Of course, it is much easier to marginalize people when you avoid getting to know them as human beings. History is littered with examples over and over. This by itself is often a marker for a failed ideology.
While I won’t mourn Scalia’s passing, I don’t hate him. I try not to take joy in his death. It should be beneath me to feel that way. I am grateful he will no longer be in a position to influence my very existence. I will remember the lesson he taught us. We cannot let our own ideological beliefs blind us to the suffering of others. We cannot become so rigid in our thinking we forget human beings do not require permission or conformity to exist.
- Contrary to what you read, the act of hating someone takes a lot of energy. It is a dedication of sorts. [↩]