Wednesday, August 25, 2004

stop the hate

i have trouble understanding why many of my politically passionate friends (regardless of party) have no hesitancy in describing their disagreement with particular politicians on policy as reasons to "hate" that person.

one institutionalized example of what I am talking about is

now, while the rhetoric of the "reasons why we hate bush" is pretty overblown, the "reasons" do make a relatively cogent case for disagreeing with bush and for voting against him or for kerry.

but are they reasons to "hate" bush? e.g. he's "inarticulate". similarly, if you google "hate kerry," you'll get stuff like i "hate" kerry because he "flip flops" ... he "only wants to get elected"

now what is "hate" ?... "obsessive dislike unaccompanied by restraint and character" "a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action"

to my mind "hate" is a term that should be reserved for persons whose actions are so antithetical to common decency and civility, such an affront to our common humanity, that they should provoke a visceral, almost unreasoned antipathy .. should we not "hate" our captors if we are Iraqi prisoners subjected to abuse and torture? should we not "hate" terrorists who purposely kill civilians to make a political point? should we not "hate" bigots who maim and kill solely because someone is of another race or religion?

can leaders teach tolerance or expect tolerance from our children when we are so ready to describe objects of mere political disagreements as people we "hate"?

perhaps before we continue to speak about our political opponents as people we "hate", we should think about the message we are sending to our children about when it is okay to "hate," consider the words of George Washington, and ask whether our words/feelings live up to his expectation of the "demeanor" of "good citizens"...

"Happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry nosanction and to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who liveunder its protection should demeanor themselves as good citizens." President George Washington

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