We are living in a time like I have never seen in all my 65 years here on this rock. There has and always will be conflict and disagreement. We humans don’t all think and feel alike. But in the past few years disagreement has turned into hatred. In this post I want to discuss why the hate is all around us.
There was a big dust up the other day when Ellen DeGeneres was seen at a Cowboys/Packers game not only sitting beside former President George W. Bush, but actually laughing with him. Oh the horror. This Washington Post article decries her for daring to explain her behavior. In that explanation, Ellen said “…just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them. When I say, ‘be kind to one another,’ I don’t only mean the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.” Here’s her tweet where she explains her despicable behavior.
People have always protested actions. Wars, laws, etc. The Vietnam war protests were a big part of my childhood and teenage years, as were the civil rights movement and protests against “Jim Crow” laws. And there has always been protests of people because of their actions, like both LBJ and Nixon because of the war, and George Wallace because of his staunch segregationist stance.
I just can’t recall there being this hatred of people in general. Yes the public figures cited above were hated by many, but I believe it was because of their actions, not because they simply existed.
A good example was George Wallace, who later moved away from segregation and made his administration more inclusive of blacks. In 1974, his last run for the office, he won a majority of the black vote.
Can you imagine anything President Trump or Hillary Clinton could do that would cause the people that now hate them to vote for them? That’s not going to happen in today’s climate.
People used to refer to the other side as “the opposition”. Now they call them “the enemy”.
Why the hate in entertainment
This nation was built on protest, but there is a difference between protesting a person and protesting their actions. Barbara Streisand is a great singer. I disagree with her politics, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate her musical talent. And I like Ted Nugent also, but like with Barbara I don’t agree with everything he believes in.
I’m not going to let a person’s politics keep me from enjoying their artistry. I almost feel like it’s getting to a point where people will start to vet artists and actors on what position they take on some issue before deciding whether to like their movies or music. Look at the flack Kanye West is taking because he supports President Trump.
How did this hatred start?
While I can’t pinpoint an exact time or event, I believe a turning moment was the 2000 presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore. I believe because of the closeness of that race, and the fact that that it had to go all the way to the Supreme Court, that started many on the left to hate the right.
Then later in 2008, when Barack Obama trounced John McCain (52.9% to 45.7%), the right started their hatred of the left.
On a side note: Before the 2000 election, the television networks would designate the different parties alternately as red and blue. One election the Republicans would be red, and the Democrats blue. The next election, they would swap. After 2000, because of the decisiveness in that election, the networks started referring to Republican states as “red states” and Democratic states as “blue states”, based on the colors they were at that time. That designation has stuck to this day.
Now, the other side (the “enemy”) is viewed with hatred simply because they’re on the other side.
This is not a war
In times of war, the people on the other side are mostly view as the enemy, whether it’s the Germans and Japanese during WWII , or the Iraqis (or anyone who looked like them) during the two gulf wars. This is not a war. We’re all on the same side. Just because you disagree with someone’s opinion on something is no reason to view them as the “enemy”.
Hatred: It’s not just for politics
Let’s look at race. I’m white, and my generation grew up being the majority race. You had to go to another area of town to have much contact with blacks or immigrants. Real estate companies actually “red lined” areas to keep them white. But even though we were raised to be separate from “those people”, I can’t recall being taught to hate anyone because of their race or color.
Now, we are in a mostly inclusive time, for the most part at least. Small towns and rural areas in parts of the country may still be somewhat segregated, and some sections within a metropolitan area like Atlanta may be mostly one race or nationality, but for the most part you can still find a somewhat diverse population. Yet there are people of all races who still have a hatred of the other. Some whites resent the fact that they’re not in charge anymore, then there are blacks who hate whites because of what happened between their ancestors. It’s getting better, but it’s still there.
People are hated because of their race, that’s it. Not because of what kind of person they are, but because of how they were born.
A person’s sexuality is another matter where hatred shows it’s ugly face. “Back in my day” everybody you knew was straight. If they weren’t, they acted like they were, and if they didn’t act like they were, you just didn’t associate with them anymore. That’s a broad way to put it, but “them funny boys” were very ostracized, along with the girls that didn’t like men (probably because they hadn’t had a “real” man).
Violence against gays
Today, we as a society mostly are more understanding. At least some of us. There are still those who hate people who ain’t like them, and that will never change. A recent example is the conservative group One Million Moms (bless their hearts) who pressured the Hallmark Channel to pull some ads for Zola because they depicted a same sex couple kissing. (update: Hallmark recanted and is working with Zola to put the ads back).
Tell me, what does it really matter if someone chooses to love someone of the same sex? How does it really affect you? It doesn’t, that’s how.
Why the hate in Sports
Sports, men and women playing games. Sometimes for money, sometimes for the pride of a school. What could be more pleasant than that?
Nooooo. Hate is all around us in sports, both pro and college. Especially football. I know people here in Atlanta that won’t wear any color shirt that reminds people of a rival school, particularly orange (both Florida and Clemson). How stupid is that? Also,some people go plumb crazy over a team from a school that they didn’t even go to. Even more nuts.
But this isn’t about the sports fan’s dedication to their team, but about the hatred that they have for the other teams. Georgia fans hate Florida. Alabama hates Auburn. The Falcons fans hate the Saints. The Red Sox fans hate the Yankees (hell, everybody hates the Yankees). Hate, hate, hate.
The funny thing is, they only hate the good teams, the ones that sometimes beats them. No one hates the sucky teams.
Will this hatred ever end?
I refuse to believe that it won’t. maybe not in my lifetime, but hopefully in my children’s or grandchildren’s. In the meantime, we just all need to do our best to look past the hate and accept that people are different.
I’ve threatened to write a post regarding politics and my life, and one day I’ll get around to it, but one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that what another person looks like, what political side they’re on, or what team they support doesn’t affect me in the least.
Maybe if more people felt like me, we could have a more civil society.
I’ll see you at the next Yankee’s game.