Love, Hate and Politics

I have tried to stay out of politics lately because I find myself more and more embittered by what I read. And this week, with “legitimate rape” and other such gaffes, has been no exception. But it’s impossible. I still click on every story and read through the comments. And I’m amazed, constantly, by what I see.

When George W. Bush was president, I was frequently disappointed. I truly feel that he was one of the worst, if not the worst president in history. His literacy seemed tenuous at best, his understanding of political affairs sketchy and his overall attentiveness was worrisome. But as much as he scared me and disappointed me, I never hated him. I mean, I probably at some point said I hated him, but I meant it in the same way I mean it when I say I hate fresh green beans. I would prefer canned, but if given no choice, I’ll eat them. I did not care for Bush’s politics, but as a person, I was indifferent.

Mitt Romney isn’t the guy I want as president. Paul Ryan is really not the guy I want as vice president. I struggle to think that either of them ever have the middle or lower classes, women or minorities in mind in any way, shape or form, but that is beside the point. They will never get my vote. But I do not hate them.

And this is one of the thing I find most curious about politics now. Barack Obama has not accomplished what he wanted and promised to in his first 3 year in office, thanks in large part to the Congress of No. He passed a healthcare bill that has the potential to help millions of children and adults in this country, one modeled after a very successful reform in Massachusetts created by Mitt Romney. He gave orders for the capture of Osama bin Ladin. He has tried to improve immigration reform for teenagers who want to go to college (you know, so they won’t become that horrific drain on society that I hear about endlessly).

He has been far from a perfect president, but I think he has tried incredibly hard to do what is right. And yet, there is a very significant part of this country who hates him. Not like, disagrees with his politics and thinks he’s wrong. Not like hating fresh green beans. They legitimately loathe him as a human being. They compare him to Hitler, they make vague threats on his life. They truly, genuinely hate him.

And I am kind of mystified by this. Bill Clinton was about as morally bankrupt as a guy can be. And yet, he’s still a beloved former president to so many. But Barack Obama, who has done little of offense except inherit an economic disaster that he did not make, is practically Satan in the eyes of conservatives. All you have to do is read the comment section of any news article. Or just read the news. Recently, a former member of Megadeath told an audience in Japan that Barack Obama staged the shooting in Aurora and in Wisconsin. How is that an acceptable accusation to make?

I have tried to find an understanding of this and I don’t want to fall into a trap, but honestly, the only thing I can understand to blame is his race. He’s a family man, he is Christian, he has tried to make social reforms that support families and yet, he is absolutely hated.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying that anyone who disagrees with Barack Obama is a racist, not by a long shot. People who disagree with his politics and legitimately feel that his policies are wrong but don’t make death threats, don’t use racial slurs or other such monikers, are a completely different class. I’m talking about the people who don’t even read through a whole story before commenting about how Obama is bringing about the end of the world, or who just make everything about how evil he is. These are not typical conservatives, but they are alarmingly numerous and loud.

If it is not his race, then what? What would make such a significant portion of this country have hatred for their president? What makes him this special kind of democrat that these republicans cannot even find respect for? What has he done, besides not be a WASP?

I want to be wrong about this and I hope that I am. But until the president does something worth hating, I’m not sure I can believe any other explanation. Because at this point, there is plenty to be frustrated with, things to disagree with, but nothing I have seen that is worth even a fraction of the hate.

12 Responses to “Love, Hate and Politics”

  • Ged:

    Wonderful post and pretty much sums up my thoughts too. The only thing I can think of besides race is that some people want to pin all their problems on him since they perceive their lives are worse now than when Bush was in office. This, even though it’s not his fault. Our country’s politics are in a sad state of affairs and I for one am at a total loss to know what to do or think about it. Thanks for adding your voice.

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  • Anne:

    Presidents are polarizing figures. You personally may not have expressed hatred for Bush, but SO MANY liberals did. They hated him, called him evil, thought he was the most stupid person in existence. Conservatives do not by any means have a monopoly on president hatred.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Anne, I have to ask, do you really believe that the hatred for Bush was as plentiful as the hatred for Obama? I don’t believe that conservatives have a monopoly on hatred, but I consider myself a pretty voracious reader of politics and I do not recall anything of this magnitude on any news sites 3 years ago.

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    Becca Reply:

    @Katie,

    Butting in to say that yes, I do remember it being this bad with Bush. People compared him to Hitler and said he should be assassinated. Even though he isn’t president anymore and isn’t even in the media anymore, people to this day, still say hateful things toward him.

    I am so tired of the hatred from both sides. My mother is a very vocal political voice on twitter and the things people say to her and call her make me sick. All she does is tweet what she believes in and she gets attacked from strangers. That said, I know many liberals receive the same awful treatment. I am just so over all this.

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    JoAnne Palmer Reply:

    @Becca, I have to agree with the comments saying that it was as bad, if not worse, with Bush. Also, I live in New Jersey and you can’t say a word around here if you don’t agree with people’s politics in every way, shape or form. Even my kid’s teachers are asking them “Who are your parents voting for?” like it’s any of their business. A friend of mine is a teacher in our school district and while Bush was President she hung a photo of him in the front of her classroom. Wow, was that a huge mistake. If you are teaching social studies to 4th graders, you should be able to hang a photo of the President of the United States, whether you personally like him or not. So there are definitely extremists on both sides of the political fence.

  • Zoe:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. I remember having a conversation with my hardcore conservative MIL (who weirdly produced a very liberal son, my husband) during the Bush presidency where she talked about how she felt sorry for the President because he had so many critcs and “he was doing the best he could” and that no-one should put presidents on a pedestal because they are only human, and don’t deserve to have nasty things said about them. “Show some respect for the office”, she said. Fast forward to Obama being elected, and I have had to block her feed on Facebook because I can not stand to read her vitriol and insults. While I have no doubt she would dislike any Democratic president, because “liberals are idiots”, I think he and her husband can not stand the fact that a black man is their president. They will deny it until they are blue in the face, but growing up in Alabama and Tennessee in the 1950s and 1960s has left its marks.

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  • I totally agree with you (even though I’m from a different country). And I’m completely embarrassed that I know this, but Dave Mustaine is from Megadeth, not Metallica.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Louise, Haaaa, thank you. My memory isn’t what it used to be.

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  • I know. It’s a sad day for me to look back and think of Ronald Regan (the man that stopped mental health for veterans and rolled back almost every environmental health and safety reg in his day) as a “good” republican.

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  • Bella:

    I am confused as to how no one seems to remember that President Obama is 1/2 white and was brought up by his white Grandparents in a truly middle class environment. He has done the best he possibly could with the mess he was handed as the republicans have done everything in their power to block his work. I pray every night that he is re-elected.

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  • Char:

    Omg….i found your website when looking for a low fat dessert recipe and found the one with angel food cake and pineapple..i think i loved you at that moment…but no it wasnt untill i read your blog on the election that i knew this girl has got it. lol. seriously..i wonder the same thing day in and day out..really people are actually comparing Pres Obama to Hitler and the devil..what has he done that is devil like so horrible is compared to Hilter?? I too believe that the ignorant people of the world who so desperately hate him is because he is black or because his name is George or Richard or Bob. God forbid he have an ethnic name. They hate him because of where his father is from. But what really has be just enraged is the attack that democrats are facing from republicans..just from what i have seen or experienced. I am not saying dems dont attack rep..but from my experience i wake up every day with a new if you vote for obama you are stupid facebook comments all over friends facebook walls.. What i really want to say is..have you ever looked at what changed from clinton to bush and from bush to obama? Do you actually read the facts? Do you listen to the speeches? Do you look past the fact that he is black (and half white but they always forget that) or that is name sounds like someone you dont like. sorry for the rant but i just need more smart people to talk to i guess haha…now just so i put this out there..if a person doesnt want to vote for obama bc they really dont want womens rights fulfilled or if they dont want stem cell research or if they dont believe gay people are humans who deserve happiness..im not judging them for that..but at least they have a reason..just hating someone because of nothing is stupid.

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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