After a glorious Easter we took a few days of vacation, turned off the television, unplugged (mostly) the Internet and cell phone and got away to more peaceful environs. It is amazing the perspective you get when you detach from current events and get quieter. One inescapable perspective is that we live in a world that loves to hate.
We’re told there are two primal emotions, hate and love. It is easier to hate than to deal with and seek solutions to our own shortcomings. Hate divides us, distracts us and weakens us. When we focus on our differences we cannot be seeking solutions to our problems. Loving takes a lot of work and requires much from us.
We hate people who are different from us, whether it is the color of their skin, their sex, age, sexual persuasion, political affiliation, nationality or religion, among other differences. Perhaps you think the word hate too strong a verb, but whatever word you substitute the conclusion is much the same.
At the heart of the issue is fear. We fear that those who differ from us will somehow prevail over our beliefs, usurp our power or advantage and infringe on our rights. We have come to believe that our understanding and acceptance of others equates to approval, but such is not the case. For example, I understand and accept that underage boys and girls drink alcohol. I don’t condone or approve of it. I just accept that it occurs.
Politicians often pander to our hatred and prejudice because it is easier to stir our emotions than it is to put forward real solutions, besides they get more media attention than those preaching unity. This isn’t a rant about the current presidential circus or the bathroom wars in which our state is engaged but a look at a bigger picture.
We hate big business and those who have more money and power than do we. We hate to admit we are getting old, losing the vitality and health we once enjoyed. If pollsters are correct we hate government, that amorphous institution that makes laws and sets policies we don’t agree with, yet every day we depend on government to provide roads, schools, public health, defense, clean water and any number of other services we use. We rail against politicians, yet consistently go to the voting booth and re-elect them.
Mind you, we aren’t advocating that we must all agree on issues or philosophies. It is actually healthy that we have honest differences of opinion. The history of our country is full of examples where those with differing opinions were able to join together to find solutions to our problems, solutions that more often than not were for the common good. It is hard, if not impossible, to find solutions with those you hate.
Just think about the precedence we are setting for future generations. Can we agree this culture of hate isn’t getting us to a better place, doesn’t help us feel better about ourselves, enjoy our freedoms and our lives? It is time to seek out and encourage those who unite us rather than divide us. Perhaps we should all call a timeout and think about what we really want.
Tom Campbell is the Executive Producer and Moderator of N.C. Spin.