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Hatred Is NOT a Moderate Value

Big-Town Hatred

Last year’s mass shooting of Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue by an avowed anti-Semite was another egregious example of rampant hatred in America today. Before that, pipe bombs mailed by a right-wing extremist were intercepted before delivery to prominent Democrats.

In Senate hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court appointment, Kavanaugh could barely conceal his contempt for Democrats. Both Kavanaugh and his sexual-assault accuser reported death threats, further evidence of hatred.

Democrats justified efforts to block Kavanaugh, partly because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from a hearing, much less a vote – for a full year, until President Trump took office. McConnell and Trump were outraged that Democrats delayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation for a few days.

Small-Town Hatred

Meanwhile, in a small Colorado town before 2018’s midterm elections, a volunteer canvasser (and Moderate Democrat) was providing information about candidates and voting. He was confronted by an elderly man, sputtering “I hate f***ing Hillary, and I hate all you f***ing Democrats; she should be in jail, and you should, too.” The man then tried to spit on the canvasser.

Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis said on 9/11 that Americans should try to unite again: “We must hold close our shared goals and hopes, and acknowledge that despite our differences, we are all Americans”. Who could argue with that? A local conservative columnist did, bitterly denouncing Polis and his policies on abortion (“protecting the right of women to kill their unborn children”) and the environment (“in Polisworld, people might be impoverished, but they would breathe pristine air”).

Colorado voters elected Polis Governor, apparently choosing unity over hatred.

Common Thread

These stories demonstrate rampant political hatred in America. Some trace it back to the 2016 Presidential campaign, when candidate Trump threatened hecklers: “I’d like to punch him in the face”. He led cheers to “lock her up” (his opponent) – although she had never been prosecuted, much less convicted, for any crimes.

In a torchlight march in Charlottesville, VA, in 2017, neo-Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us”. Clashes between them and counter-protestors left many injured, including police officers. A white nationalist drove into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing one. President Trump’s reaction: “there were very good people on both sides”.

Many blame Trump’s heated rhetoric and refusal to unify ALL Americans (ratcheting up his supporters’ anger instead), with creating a climate where hatred and its progeny, violence, are tolerated or even encouraged.

Both sides blame the other for their hatred, but where does that lead? Endless retaliation, where neither side seeks respectful compromise with the other, so our challenges intensify and threaten to overwhelm us.

Hating others because they have different beliefs, or look different, is an EXTREME attitude, not a Moderate one – and decidedly un-American.

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