The easiest way to hate another person, without experiencing a shred of guilt, is to first strip the humanity of that person. One needs to look no further than the anti-Semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany to understand how the hateful regime could kill millions with minimal resistance from the general population. After all, who gets upset over the death of an insect, rodent, or other unsavory creature? European Jews were dehumanized in the German psyche long before they were Holocaust victims. Contrary to the old proverb, names may hurt even more than sticks and stones!
A growing trend amongst Americans these days is for us to tribalize by political views. While political faction has seemingly always existed, this modern form of faction is closely interlocked with individuals’ personal identity. Political commentator David Brooks recently put the current phenomenon this way:
“Today, partisanship for many people is not about what party has the better policies … These days, partisanship is often totalistic. People often use partisan identity to fill the void left when their other attachments wither away – religious, ethnic, communal and familial.”
Our political identity should revolve around being an American, not hating our fellow Americans. Unfortunately, I’m sure you have people in your life who spend way too much of their time consuming and regurgitating hatred of fellow Americans manufactured by the growing industry of political punditry.
The vitriol spewing from the mouths of popular political commentators leaves its consumers devoid of critical thinking and filled with a hatred of others with whom they may disagree with. While some on the political left are guilty of this sin (i.e., Bill Maher), the political right is simply better and more prolific at it. From “pin-heads” to “liberals” – the name-calling is normative discourse in this dark alternative universe. In case you do not believe me, check out these book titles from acclaimed propagators from the right, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck:
Godless: The Church of Liberalism (2007)
Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America (2011)
How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter (2005)
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans (2007)
Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America (2009)
Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 – Especially a Republican (2013)
Liars: How Progressives Exploit Our Fears for Power and Control (2016)
Arguing with Idiots: How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government (2009)
Cowards: What Politicians, Radicals, and the Media Refuse to Say (2012)
Idiots Unplugged: Truth for Those Who Care to Listen (2010)
This name-calling is a multi-million dollar business for those who do it well like Coulter and Beck. Don’t buy the poison from such divisive pundits … for THEIR devils from afar are actually OUR fellow Americans up close.