Monday, October 01, 2012

The Staying Power of Hate

It's amazing, really.

Every time I read a post on a site like Politico and venture down to the comments, I find the same thing. And I hear it and notice it every single day outside the domain of the internet as well.

The hatred of the right for Barack Obama is all but mind-numbing in its complexity and longevity. I have seen comments that defy description. The reach that some people are willing to make in their attempt to rationalize their own dislike is both confusing and, in a disturbing way, admirable.

I wonder if it was like this in 1962? Now, fifty years later, the common thread is that Kennedy was beloved. But I know from reading sources that were contemporary to him that this was not universally true. Comparisons between Obama and JFK were very popular four years ago, but I haven't seen any lately.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the kind of talk you find in the comment section of political websites today was very much in existence during Kennedy's time. However, it wasn't recorded for posterity the way almost everything is in the internet era.

We do know that JFK was a radically polarizing figure, and that those who disliked him often had deep-seated and all but unaddressable reasons for it. Reasons that had far more to do with the belief structures they were raised with than any sum of factual information.

This seems to be true for Obama as well. The Obama haters are devoid of any interest in providing the slightest edge for an alternate opinion. It is as though the core of their own self-image is reliant upon this need to see the President as evil and unamerican. They dismiss anything and everything remotely positive about him and emphasize and trumpet anything that feeds their delusions.

It is enough to make me actively wonder about our ability to provide enough medication to help these people through the next four years if Obama wins.

Judge it for yourself. Dismiss the most extreme comments from either side...because edges do exist for every point of opinion. Then look at the mass that remains.

From those fervently opposed to Mitt Romney, I find a lot of comments that sound something like, "Oh, I'm sure Mitt loves his family but I just don't want him running the country because I think he is wrong." At worst, the comments are "He is just like the rest of them." (Them meaning anything from Republicans to big business to political opportunists, depending on the speaker.)

From those opposed to Obama, it is more like, "Well, he might not ACTUALLY be the anti-christ, but I'm not so sure..."

And that is barely an exaggeration. Out of the 35-40% of America that forms the Republican base, I honestly believe that three fourths of them actively hate the President. Not dislike or disagree with...HATE.

That isn't rational.

On the positive side, if we could isolate the chemical behind it we could probably revolutionize medicine. Because something that able to kill rationality ought to be at least partially effective against cancer.