Andy Schmookler: Signs of a Need for Hate | Nvdaily
There is a reason why Christianity presents the combination of “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill towards men” as a central message about Good in the human world:
• “Peace” indicates how people are supposed to engage with each other;
• “Goodwill” is the feeling that prompts people to engage with others in a harmonious and constructive way, rather than confrontational.
In America today, however, we see signs to the contrary: people looking for an excuse to feel hostility and express it through conflict.
Take for example the peak – since the start of the pandemic – of hate attacks against Asian Americans.
These attacks are presumably motivated by the belief – as yet unproven, but possibly valid – that China bears some responsibility for this destructive virus causing such global suffering and disruption.
But even if that turned out to be true, would it still be foolish to translate the guilt of the regime (or a laboratory) in China into a “reason” to attack innocent American citizens of Asian descent?
Launching such attacks on the thinnest of excuses indicates a need hate, a need to find someone on whom the attackers vent their rage.
That same dark spirit manifests itself – less blatantly, but ultimately more importantly – in the ease with which the Americans who make up the Republican base are supporting their party’s political warfare which will very clearly harm their own present well-being. and future.
This political war was declared by the Republican Senate leader when he said Republicans would be “100% focused” on blocking the “Biden agenda”. It is an infallible strategy for national rupture, which will hurt everyone, because:
• In times of crisis, the gap between the best and worst-case scenarios is exceptionally wide, depending on the actions taken;
• The course of paralysis and drift – what Republican success in obstruction would imply for America in this time of crisis – is surely leading to the worst outcomes for the nation;
• Much better results would come from the country following a well-planned path, and
• “the Biden agenda” clearly shows that it offers such a competent, responsible (widely supported) way of serving the common good; And so for any rational America, it should be obvious that the Republican path is indefensible.
The question therefore arises: “Why would the Republican base support its party adopting a path that will clearly harm the present and future well-being of all Americans?” “
And, conversely: “Why wouldn’t they insist that their party adopt what, just as clearly, is the appropriate policy, which is to act on the ‘Biden agenda’? in what way will the future of the nation best serve?“
The answer to this question seems to overlap with a question liberals – including me – have grappled with since the beginning of the Trump era: Still defended: the Constitution, Christian values, the virtues of good character?
After pondering this question throughout this time, I noticed recently that the Liberals seem to be converging on one particular answer: Trump supporters love him, this hypothesis declares, because he attacks and hurts the people they hate.
Trump’s approach to American divisions has always been to inflame them – by targeting blacks, by portraying immigrants as “rapists” sent by Mexico, and – notably, in this orgy of hostility “We against them ”- by demonizing the Liberals and Democrats.
The mystery the Liberals first saw as “How can they support someone so outrageous?” “Is resolved:” It is precisely because Trump so effectively scandalizes us liberals ”the idea is that“ owning the libraries ”is not a by-product, it is the point. This is how much they hate us. “
If this emerging liberal interpretation is correct, it dovetails with the support the Republican base gives to the disastrous obstructionist choice Republicans make in Congress: when motivated by hate, attacking the “enemy” can be rewarding enough to mask the costs.
This need to hate answers another conundrum the Liberals have pondered: “How can these Republicans believe the election was ‘stolen’ when this claim was so well exposed as a big lie?”
Reply: that big lie – “They stole us” – provides a justification for the hostility that seems to possess the Republican base. It is less that the belief that they have been stolen causes hatred than that hatred motivates people to believe a lie.
Just with the attacks on Asians: the need for hatred seems to come first, providing the motivation to find an excuse – even a bogus – to justify it.
The need for an excuse also sheds light on why Republicans so systematically demonize their fellow Liberals.
I feel well placed to testify to something that today’s “conservatives” seem unwilling to know: that members of a liberal group would on average be just as good, decent and moral as those of a group. Similar of preservatives.
While good people may come to different conclusions on difficult matters, none of these divisions should prevent Americans from coming together, in the spirit of goodwill, to work for the greater good as far as possible.
But the Republican base chooses the conflict (not the “Peace on Earth”) to express a deep hostility (not the “Goodwill towards the Men”). And just as the Christian message offers a path to a more whole world, its opposite will certainly make it more broken.