Who should we hate?
A classic G. George Ostrom column from 2009.
There are many Letters to the Editor these days which seem to me unnecessarily malicious. Feel like mailing a note to such writers telling them, “Some nut is sending letters to the paper and signing your name.”
Don’t know for sure why the present wave of malice has increased within our society, but it is a polarizing force to be concerned about
Though only a strident minority, there are those who have somehow turned into “haters,” driven to spread exaggerated loathing through letters to the editors, talk shows, the Internet and conversation. Their words and actions indicate an unreasoning fear and anger. Everyone gets scared now and then, or mad … but what’s wrong with being civil?
Steadier persons believe the problem for these anger-driven people springs form frustration fueled by a lack of faith and actual facts.
We in the United States are blessed with the safest homes, the highest standard of living and the greatest freedom of any people on earth. The most serious threats to our way of life are not neighbors down the road, across the streets, or in the halls of government. Faith and support of our cumbersome but ultimately correct constitutional form of government will win the day. It has done that for well over 230 years; much longer than any other government in world history.
The enemies are not “big business,” “small business,” the school board, wealthy or poor folks. Society’s deadly foes are not loggers, environmentalists, bureaucrats or subdividers. Any citizen who spews hatred against fellow Americans becomes part of the problem, not part of the solution. The dispensers of unconstructive trash would be prosecuted for libel, slander or perjury should they have to produce verified evidence and speak under oath.
It is a vital privilege of political freedom to be critical of those who betray the public’s trust, and also of those with whom we disagree; but that right carries an obligation of constructive fairness. I did not often agree with Richard Nixon’s policies, didn’t vote for him, but he became the President of my country, and I did not write “hate letters” to the newspaper.
Strongly disapproved of Harry Truman’s conduct of the Korean War where my brother Alva died, but saw no value in preaching, “Hate the President.”
My brothers Alva and Ritchey and I served a combined eight years in the military under Truman. He was America’s President, OUR President…through hell and high water.
At the local level I once referred to County Commissioners as “Larry, Moe, and Curly”… but didn’t hate ‘em. On air I reported activities of “dingbats, wingnuts and looney tunes.” Sometimes felt sorry for them, never approved of what they were doing, but didn’t HATE them.
The word ‘hate’ has violent and destructive connotations, none productive. Over the years I’ve tried to hate a few times, but wasn’t successful.
We can criticize, disagree and debate, we can prosecute law breakers; but who in their heart believes anyone can contribute to the well being of society with sarcastic, untrue malevolence? This is another of those challenging times in history when we must work together against the real threats to our country. We should attempt to be civil, even when we don’t see eye to eye on a new shopping mall, a straighter highway, or war in the Middle East.
During uncertain times it is difficult to keep cool.
We’ve been there before and shall overcome. BUT if we just absolutely have to HATE somebody, why not start with those who espouse extreme violence to force their unacceptable views and lifestyles on others…like those who destroyed the World Trade Center and those who hold millions of defenseless innocents in fear, slavery and poverty.
End of sermon. Drive Carefully. Wear Your Seat Belts. Be Kind to One Another.