Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hate as a Campaign Strategy

Hate seems to be taking hold in this land of ours. Apparently, it is now insufficient to simply disagree politically. We must hate one another. We must describe our competitors in the political arena as enemies of the land.  How has this happened? Has it always been thus?

It may be that my memory has become dimmed over the past 80 years.  I can remember vividly my first election—Eisenhower vs. Adlai Stevenson—the General who brought us victory against the intellectual Stevenson. Eisenhower won of course. How could he not? He had brought the war to a close successfully. And did he decry his opposing forces as the enemy? And did he, having won the office, decide to close down government, or privatize Social Security, or give huge tax breaks to his wealthiest donors? Well, no, instead he took the nation on an investment campaign to build a system of national interstate highways. He ran a civilized government.

And Ike was followed by JFK. Remember him? “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country” And then we had the Peace Corps, that wonderful group of activist young people who went out to places around the globe to do good. And, they did good.

Zoom forward to 2015. The GOP candidates most closely resemble a train filled with clowns, but where the clowns are no longer funny, but instead folks who seem to hate everyone who is not inside their little train.
What do they hate?

Anyone who is less white and less radical than they are, which means especially, multiracial folks, Latino immigrants, LGBT folks, trade unionists, LibDems. Oddly, at least to me, they seem also to hate the middle class. They decry the public school system, which is heavily responsible for creating a middle class, and they appear not to understand that the middle class (the 47% who Mitt Romney despises) created the America we know and so love.

We are a nation of immigrants—my grandparents landed at Ellis island and petitioned for admission to this country. Yet, Donald Trump is applauded for saying that the Mexicans here are mostly rapists, murderers, and otherwise evil folks (he allowed as how at least some of them must be normal).  And The Donald was applauded by his minions.

The most amazing thing about all this is that real Americans listen to such hate talk and applaud. Now, The Donald may not get nominated, but he does represent a sizable number of core republicans—mostly white, older Americans who hate folks not like them. The recent "debate" over the confederate flag brought out perhaps the best and the worst of us, and the worst of us seem to represent the folks applauding The Donald.

So, instead of focusing on what we need to do to keep America the great nation it became way back when, the GOP has decided to focus on hating. Mainly, of course, they are focused on ramping up the hate-machine (see Fox News) so as to keep the body faithful in full hate mode. It isn't enough to disagree with Hillary, or Bernie, or Elizabeth. No, it is entirely necessary to hate them for what they represent—all those nasty little, hateful people who are ruining America (folks like you and me).

And it makes me think about republicans madly spinning in their graves for what their party has become.  Poor old Ike. He may never rest in peace again.
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