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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

H is for Hate

I started writing this before, but I think I have now found an angle; thanks to Anthony North's piece about greed and this response to it.

SamuraiFrog is a blogger I visit regularly. (For those of you who do not, he currently has a lovely young woman, nude, seen from the rear, prominently featured on his masthead, in case such things bother or entice you.) Anyway, he won some blogging award, and as part of the acceptance of same, he was supposed to tell something about himself.
I hate people who say things like "Well, I don't actually hate anything/anyone/whatever you just mentioned hating, because [pick one or more: a. it takes too much energy to hate something, b. hate is too strong an emotion, c. hate is a relationship that places too much importance on something I dislike, d. it takes up too much mental space to hate something, or e. I try not to give in to baser emotional states]." What I really hear is "I'm better than you" and what I really think is "Go f*** yourself."

Now, as it turns out, I don't feel that I HATE anyone, and I was just going to say that in his comments and let it go at that. But as I thought more on it, I realized that I needed to examine just WHY.

Life magazine, 1960

As I reach back, I recognize that I DID used to hate. And the primary focus was Richard Milhous Nixon. I hated him for the lies he spread in his very first house campaign, before I was born. I hated him for surviving staying on Eisenhower's ticket by the use of the 1952 Checkers speech, also before I was born; you should watch the speech, if you can, as it's brilliant political theater. But mostly, I hated him because he said, after he had lost the 1962 California gubernatorial race, "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore", but he lied. He ran for President in 1968 with a "secret" plan to end the Viet Nam war and won a close election over Hubert Humphrey.

Actually most of my bile towards Nixon was over Viet Nam. Though not his war - LBJ had expanded it and JFK (or arguably, Eisenhower) had started it, I wasn't seeing his positives, as I did with LBJ's civil rights legislation and Great Society programs. So, when Nixon left as a result of Watergate in August of 1974, my schadenfreude was exceedingly high.

At the same time I was able to hate him, I was able to be easily enraged by others. Think of those people showing up at those American town hall meetings shouting down those who disagree with them. On Election Night in 1972, when Nixon won re-election in a landslide, there was one Nixon supporter named George and I wanted to throttle him over his glee.

I didn't always DISPLAY the rage, and in fact seldom did; I was brought up too well. But the FEELING of the rage was there. And it was not working for me.

I was like Stanley, the black guy in the American version of the television show The Office. On the Super Bowl episode, he nearly had a heart attack, so deeply was his festering rage. He had to find another way to go.

So when another politician came along who I thought/think was even more contemptible than Nixon came along, while I found him politically anathema to me, it didn't eat at me the same way Nixon did.

Life magazine, 1990

And a funny thing happened: I stopped hating Nixon. I saw the movie Nixon, starring Anthony Hopkins, and found the guy more tragic than contemptible.

Moreover, I found that in retrospect, despite the war and the dirty tricks, there were some positives there. He formed the Environmental Protection Agency. He went to China; as a staunch anti-Communist, only he, not a liberal Democrat, could have pulled it off.

Moreover, and I did not remember this until after the death of Senator Edward Kennedy last month, one of Teddy's great regrets was not accepting Nixon's plan for HEALTH CARE, a fight that continues to this day in the United States.

I've deliberately have left out any discussion of how religion or spiritually has affected my feelings about hate, not because it's not a factor, but because it was something that was already in process when all the faith stuff got infused into it.

So, Mr. Frog, sir, I leave it to you to decide if my reasons for not hating fall into one or more of your "hated" categories.

Note: Nixon pictures © Time Inc. For personal non-commercial use only



anthonynorth said...

Thanks for the link - I like it when I give people an angle. The response caused quite a debate between us on his blog, covering about a dozen comments over two posts.
I like to think I don't hate anyone. There are plenty I could say I have comtempt for, but hopefully not hate. I find it does more damage to the hater than the hated.
An enjoyable and informative post as always.

Mara said...

I don't hate anybody, but there are a few people about I wouldn't mind never meeting again. And even those people have people loving them, so there must be good in them too.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

I wonder if "hate" means the same thing to all people. I'm willing to bet that one person calls 'hate' someone else might euphemistically call 'dislike intensely' or some such thing. I'd very much like to believe I don't hate...but for sure I do dislike intensely greed and people whose greed walks all over other people to get more, more, more.

Janie said...

I try not to hate anyone, but I must say, certain politicians and CEO's tempt me greatly...

Tumblewords: said...

There's a hatfull of hate going on in the political arena and I often find myself feeling despair which can quickly turn to the dreaded h word...mostly it's action which draws my ire but...

Married to Singaporean said...

I agree that "hate" means different things to different people. To those lovers who have broken relationship, "hate" sometime means "love". Basically, think back my 39 years time I have past in my life, I never ever hate anybody, for the people I really don't like, I will treat them as transparent. For the one in your deep love, you will prefer he(she) hate you, better than totally forget you. Am I right?

RuneE said...

Haying people you don't know is easy - hating people you get to know well is more difficult. That is why racism and all other kind of discrimination continues to exist.

Kate said...

You posted a very thoughtful argument against hate. It is indeed a destructive force, and there are plenty of examples to support that statement. In my lifetime, the prime examples focus on the subject and heinous activity of war. I need not expand because I think that's pretty obvious.

Thanks for visiting my blog so I can get to know yours!

Irene Toh said...

It's true that hating takes a lot of energy. How I hate the hating phase I went through with someone...

Anonymous said...

Well, i liked the thought that hate wastes a lot of mental space and energy on an entity one dislikes. Just realized how true it is!

Though i use the word hate.....i really believe its not worth to linger on.Thank You Roger for this moment of introspection.

Linda Jacobs said...

There is always the flip side of a coin, isn't there?

Thanks for visiting. Sorry it wasn't about the Beatles! LOL