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