Thursday, October 21, 2004

The power and powerlessness of hatred

Hooray! A new find on Karl's list of Ortho-blogs. And Radoje (awfully glad I get to type it and not pronounce it) on this post reminds me of a thought I've had on and off: If Bush is elected, will the intense hatred that a small but virulent percentage of Americans feel for Bush hinder his ability to lead effectively?

Radoje wonders --
What happens if Bush wins? It is no secret that I support Bush despite his imperfections. But living in the Seattle area one sees a level of hatred for Bush that borders on the irrational. I wonder how some of these people are going to take it if Kerry loses.
First of all, am I just TOO out of line if I say a little yay ("...yay...") that any Ortho-blogger other than my lowly self is willing to actually support Bush? I was beginning to think that if he wins, I'll be expected to join an online molieban service. But I digress ...

Out here in a rural area, I won't be exposed to the kind of constant barrage that Radoje and others I know will. But I remember it well from living in other areas. To hear someone discussed every day as if it's an insult to civilization that he draws breath, as if the person is less than human -- it's bad for the soul. If you think I'm exaggerating, consider the offhand remark of an LA Times reporter earlier this month
On a personal level, I despise [Bush] with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

And no, I haven't seen a similar tone from the right. Limbaugh and Hannity and Matt Drudge issue scathing commentary and their share of irreverent humor, but in years of listening, I've never heard any of them say they hated or despised any individual -- just the behaviors, the rhetoric and the ideas. And I think part of the reason that they couldn't get away with it is because the new media is essentially interactive -- they're not trying on the concept of call-ins over at the LA Times. Nope, they're just burning all by themselves with the intensity of a thousand suns. So what in the world happens if their guy tanks on November 2?

I have a feeling some of them are going to go right off the deep end the way some of the extreme right-wing folks did when Clinton got reelected. I think the difference is (speaking in broad generalizations) that when people on the Right get aggrieved, they usually buy 40 acres in rural Idaho and live off MREs in a bunker. When people on the left get aggrieved they start street riots to mobilize the proletariat (OK I'm exaggerating about the proletariat part...).

I'm with him. Given the demographics, a real revolution is out of the question. ("All right, who broke the Starbucks window??!! That's NOT cool!") What will probably happen is a lot of huffing and puffing ... who knows, Maybe Alec Baldwin really will move to France this time. (Don't let the screen door hit you, Alec. Loved you in "Glengarry Glen Ross," though.)

But I don't think it'll be the end of it. Things are changing. I think we're seeing a seismic shift not so much in political parties and election politics but in some social order. I really think all the ballyhoo over Bush is just today's focus. There are people who are losing their sense of identity and they're in real confusion. I could go into more detail, but it's late and I'm not even sure I know what I'm talking about ... probably a good time to let it go.


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