There’s a difference between anger and hate. Hate is old, evil, filthy. A vortex into which a mere human can be drawn and in which she can be destroyed. Hatred fuels every atrocity of our species; hatred destroys.
Anger, though, is different. I’ve got to know my anger – as more of an academic concept than a reality with which I’m intimately familiar, but it’s a step in the right direction and a knowledge and wisdom I didn’t have until it was forced on me – and it’s different to hatred.
If hatred is filthy, anger is clean. There’s a purity to anger. It’s anger that says, This is wrong. This is not ok. I need to stand up against this. Either because it’s a transgression of my boundaries, or because it’s a transgression of humanity (asylum seekers, perhaps? What do you think, Mr Abbott?). It’s anger – the purity of anger, the righteousness of anger – which spurs us to call for change. To stand up for change, to make change. It is anger which provides light in darkness.
If hatred is evil and destructive, anger is neither. It is my anger, that capacity within me to say, No, this is wrong, that will keep me safe. Will keep me from being dehumanised once more. Will keep me from dehumanising others. Hatred is a whirlpool, a black hole, a portal into a hellish and destructive world. Hatred is bigger than I. It will consume me, destroy me, take my goodness and leave me broken and bitter. Anger, on the other hand, is smaller, containable – still big, and scary, and uncomfortable, and I don’t like it, but it won’t annihilate me and it won’t take control of who and what I am and it will help me to heal, if I let it.
I’m finding my anger – I know I should be angry, but it’s hard. It’s scary and I wish it wasn’t but I’m fearful of something natural, and pure, and healthy. All I know, though, is that anger isn’t hate. Isn’t filthy, isn’t evil, isn’t a force of destruction a thousand times bigger than I, like a rowboat against a tsunami.
I know that. All I have to do now is trust it.