Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't You Need Somebody to Hate

Before they hated Sarah Palin they hated George Bush. Before the character assassins set their sights on Sarah Palin they had already honed their skills on George Bush.

Successfully, one must admit. They had covered the Bush presidency in ignominy and had spread the taint to the entire Republican party. The 2008 election was a victory of sorts for the Bush haters.

Is there a link here? Neo-neocon suggests that those who hated George Bush with a passion have now displaced that hatred onto Sarah Palin. With George Bush out of the picture, they transferred their emotion to Palin. Link here.

Her point is well taken. Bad habits are not that easy to break. If you live for hatred, your passion does not just disappear once its object has been removed from the scene. It travels around like an itinerant stranger, looking for a place to settle down.

If George Bush taught a certain segment of the population how to hate, you would hardly expect that it would discard that hard-won skill once Bush retired from office.

You do not just discard a skill like that. Especially when, as I said, it had worked effectively.

This means that some of our politically-correct neighbors are so filled with hatred that they would not recognize themselves if they did not have a right-winger to hate.

As an example, take blogger Andrew Sullivan. Way back when, in the good old days, Sullivan wrote insightful commentaries about the political scene. Then one day something happened-- I suspect that he overdosed on therapy-- and Sullivan became violently critical of the Bush administration. Apparently, the possibility that some terrorist might have been tortured caused Sullivan to become unhinged. He stopped supporting the war; he learned to hate George Bush; and he devoted his considerable intellectual and rhetorical skills to bringing down the Bush administration.

Once George Bush was no longer on the scene Sullivan transferred his hatred to Sarah Palin. Specifically, he became one of the major purveyors of the slanderous insinuation that Sarah Palin had not really given birth to her Down syndrome son. The real mother, according to character assassin Sullivan, was Palin's daughter, Bristol.

Of course, hatred of Sarah Palin has a slightly difference valence. It partakes of an especially virulent form of misogyny. And it is not directed against the commander-in-chief of an army that is fighting a war.

Palinhatred began as a way to convince people to vote for Barack Obama. More than a few people became so terrified at the prospect of an inexperienced governor being one heartbeat from the presidency that they were happy to make a less-experienced politician no heartbeats from the presidency. Go figure.

In the past hatred was an emotion we were told to avoid. It was bad to hate. It was bad to let hate fester in our souls. It was bad to allow ourselves to be consumed with a passion that was impervious to reason. We were supposed to overcome hatred; we were supposed to conquer our tendency toward hate speech.

Now, it's fine to let rip with the most violent thoughts and images that you can direct against another human being. As though expressing the hate would produce something like an emotional catharsis.

Considering that the hate has now been transferred from Bush to Palin, the pipe dream about emotional catharsis has now been revealed to be just that... an illusion.

I hope that everyone knows that there is something radically wrong with this picture.

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