A man complained about anti-hate lawn signs. This 13-year-old set him straight.
When seventh grader Luke Macannuco penned a letter to the editor of his local newspaper, he probably didn't expect to make national news.
Luke was responding to a letter to the editor in the Winchester Star written by a man named John Natale in which Natale critiqued the "Hate Has No Home Here" campaign after seeing signs with the slogan popping up on lawns in the neighborhood. Luke felt Natale's letter missed the point of the campaign and took it upon himself to set Natale straight with a letter of his own.
When ACLU Massachusetts legal director Matthew Segal shared a photo of Luke's letter on Twitter, it went absolutely viral.
This is what the sign in question looked like:
As Luke explained in his letter:
"I read, with great interest, Mr. John Natale’s colossal misunderstanding of the 'Hate Has No Home Here' signs. Natale’s first mistake was claiming the signs read, 'Hate has no place in this home.' Mr. Natale is incorrectly assuming that the owners of the sign are finding it necessary to state that there is no hate in their home. But, as the American flag depicted on the sign signifies, the posters are referencing the entire U.S.A., a country that does not tolerate hate in spite of its current leadership. Those people who have chosen to place a 'Hate Has No Home Here' sign on their lawn are standing behind their belief that the country should be free of hate."
Luke answered four of Natale's questions with pure 🔥.
"1. Question: 'Who are the haters that you, the sign owner, are referring to?' Answer: Bigots who are trying to take away protections for transgender students, deport refugees and build a very expensive wall to keep illegal immigrants out (which is completely pointless and not helping your cause, but I digress).
2. Question: 'What, or whom, do the haters hate?' Answer: Perfectly innocent human beings who happen to be different from the haters.
3. Question: 'What is the evidence that there is significant hate in our community?' Answer: Me getting called homosexual slurs by students and adults alike.
4. Question: 'Obviously, you are so morally superior that you may declare everyone who disagrees with you a hater (side note: this first part is a statement, not a question). Where, when, and how did you become the Lord High Decider of Morality?' Answer: Never. We just put a lawn sign down. Calm down, dude."
Opposing hate shouldn't be a partisan issue, and the world doesn't need to be divided into red teams and blue teams for us to understand that we are more than our politics.
Luke closes his letter slamming attacks of "snowflake sensitivity" (and gets a pretty sick burn in there, too).
"As I stated previously, the signs are not talking exclusively about Winchester. The signs are about the whole United States. They also aren’t implying you are a hater if you disagree; where did you get that idea? Also, Mr. Natale, if you’re going to ask us to do you a favor and take the signs down, do humanity a favor and take your Trump signs down. Finally, if you are going to say signs exhibit 'snowflake sensitivity,' take a moment to think about how you are writing an angry letter to a newspaper about a lawn sign."
Heartwarming signs lining Fenwick Rd in Winchester!Posted by Hate Has No Home Here - Winchester on Monday, April 24, 2017
You can read the full text of Luke's letter here, the message he was responding to here, and more about what HHNHH is and stands for here.
If you're looking for a reason to feel hopeful about the future, Luke's your guy.
While Luke's letter clearly doesn't cast Donald Trump's positions in a positive light, the rational and reasoned argument being made is worth hearing regardless of your own political views.
It's curious and a bit sad that there are people who would take offense to something as innocuous as a lawn sign discouraging hate. Maybe a seventh-grade boy can help us take a step back from viewing all things through a partisan lens and no longer seeing the values we almost surely — hopefully — share. For that, Luke deserves a well-earned round of applause.