Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rage

Peter Berkowitz is correct that there is something strange about the extreme hatred many people feel for President Bush, which cannot be fully explained just by a politician's shortcomings. It probably points to a situation in which many people are not certain and confident about their own ideals and find strength, purpose and psycological reassurance in having some mithically bad person to hate and despise. This dynamics produces the most violent possible people, much more violent than those who are peaceful and secure in their cultural/religious identity.

12 comments:

kabloona said...
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kabloona said...

Politically, I consider myself a centrist. I have much more sympathy and understanding for people that hate Bush than for people who support him.

By and large, most of the people in America support the principles that the country stands for—values of the kind found in documents like the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, The Gettysburg Address, and the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, for example. People naturally want a president who models these values and who inspires and leads us. But in Bush we have a president who actively supports the death penalty, the torture of arrested people, illegal searches and seizures of citizens, and the invasion of a country that posed no threat to us. While I agree that some of the Bush hatred is irrational, I can’t blame people who hate a president who betrays what America stands for. And I don’t see where the hatred of Bush is any more irrational than the hatred of Bill or Hillary Clinton on the part of right-wingers.

Stephen M. Bauer

Carlo said...

What do you mean by "hatred," exactly? Berkowitz's point is that he observed a rage and a personal hatred against Bush that seem to transcend disapproval of his ideas and policies, no matter how strong.

kabloona said...

Hatred: an emotional reaction of general hostility towards the person, as opposed to his policies and actions as president. I think it is common that numerous people do not differentiate between a person and their policies and actions, especially when there are values at stake. Some of the Bush hatred is fueled by his perceived stupidity as well. I don’t justify the hate, and I do think the intensity is rather extreme. By the way, I am sure I’ve heard many more unsolicited hateful comments about either of the Clintons than I have about Bush (I’m around conservatives most of the time). I am waiting to see the magnitude of anti-Hillary hate once she get’s nominated, and then if elected. It may exceed anything like that which is directed at Bush. But I don’t think that conservatives express their anti-Clinton-ness quite as publicly as the anti-Bushies do. It’s always the lefties who take to the streets with their bullhorns and placards. The conservatives tend just simmer in their bitterness privately…

As for my future leanings, I think that Giuliani is the more rational choice but my heart leans towards Hillary. My vote for Hillary will be an expression of disgust and rejection of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism. But I am also aware of so many people who cannot tolerate a woman president. I think we need to get a woman president in order to break the ice and so people will get over this hurdle.

But…my frustration is that there are no strong presidential candidates of any political flavor who have taken a transformational stand against torture or unjust wars, or who will come out strongly for aid to pregnant women and babies in need, in order to reduce the number of abortions (the realistic assumption being that outlawing abortion is just not going to happen anytime soon).

Stephen M. Bauer

kabloona said...

A more succint response as to why the hatred seems to transcend policies: to many, Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the neocons appear to be downright evil. Now that sounds like childish hyperbole of course, but that seems to be the source of their reaction.

Dcn Scott Dodge said...
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Dcn Scott Dodge said...

Politically I consider myself a Catholic, that translates into something like being socially conservative and economically liberal, if I have to resort to secular categories to describe my position. I think the hatred of Pres. Bush is due not only to his non-existent leadership skills, but his dishonesty, his propensity to politicize everything (i.e., being a divider, not a uniter) and his overall moral smugness.

carlo said...

So, once again, the hatred Berkowitz describes is just a normal reaction to president's Bush limitations and does not reflect anything about the cultural/spiritual condition of the "haters?" I reached the opposite conclusion...

Dcn Scott Dodge said...
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Dcn Scott Dodge said...

I think we're off on the wrong track whenever an editorialist undertakes group psycho-analysis or spiritual direction.

kabloona said...

Pursuant to Carlo’s last comment, I see where he is coming from. In general, I would attribute personal hatred of George Bush to emotional immaturity on the part of the haters—a lack of mature emotional adjustment. While I can readily imagine a strong correlation between being emotionally well-adjusted, and spiritual and cultural development, I can also imagine people who are neither well educated nor spiritually mature but who are emotionally intelligent and well adjusted. However, I also think that another nuance in the picture. For many people, I think that Presidents, rightly or wrongly, are more of a symbol than a person. And as a symbol, what a lightning rod Bush has become!

Freder1ck said...

I remember this hatred from Reagan's presidency. It's driven by propaganda.