[I put this on Facebook first, reversing the usual procedure.]
Listening to the emotion behind people’s rhetoric, rather than the specific words, I have been trying to figure out why so many Facebook posts are so negative, so angry, so certain.
Sure, politics and ideology are often matters of strong opinion. But these days, they are reaching the point of hysteria. I have been wondering why.
Here’s a tentative conclusion: Everybody on the left and right (and even a few people at the center) shares one characteristic. They hate America.
Oh, they don’t think so. They love THEIR IDEA of the America that OUGHT TO exist. But the America that actually exists, which is shot through with flaws, they hate. And it’s a short step from hating imperfection to hating those you see as being responsible for that imperfection. Add fear of losing your imagined love permanently, and you have a recipe for just what we’re seeing.
I was going to list particulars, but perhaps it’s better for everybody to make their own lists.
An old saying has it that “the best is the enemy of the good,” DeMarco’s corollary (made up just this minute) states that an idealized image held too closely leads to hatred of reality, which is always imperfect.
And that, in turn, leads to an uncomfortable question for us all: How much am I letting my love for an idealized America turn into hatred of the America that actually exists? And what can come from hatred but more hatred?
Carl Jung said that condemnation always isolates, and only acceptance heals. Perhaps it is time we stop blaming each other for the fact that America isn’t what it should be, and start holding and spreading our vision of what it yet could be.
[I added a follow-up]
Do you hate America?
I know you don’t *think* you do, but —
Can you love America while hating its people?
Can you love its people if you only love *some* of its people?
Can you love America if you hate those Americans who hold ideas you hate?
So, do you love the *real* America — the one that exists, warts and all — or only the edited version you wish did exist?