Hate is like a virus. It spreads, is passed from one person to another, and can completely consume you. But, mislabeling other actions as hate only serves to cause a greater issue. I’m talking about the inflammatory act of tagging any opposition with a label that, in truth, does not apply.
I challenge you to try this. Turn on any TV show where there is certain to be a debate. It can be a political show on CNN or Fox News, or something like The View, or even Jerry Springer. Any show where there is an almost certainty there will be conflict between two or more people. Scripted shows don’t count, it has to be actual people.
Playing Dirty it’s not Hate
Pay close attention to the arguments made. Almost always, at some point, there is a diversion. Suddenly they are no longer talking about the subject, but about each other. Politics is the best example of this. The tactic is to attack the person and their opinion, rather than try and argue the point on its merits. Usually it’s because the person can’t win the argument based on fact, so they have to turn to more devious tactics.
The concept is simple. Attach the character of your opponent in an attempt to discredit them. If you can get the audience to focus on the person rather than the facts of the matter at hand, you have won.
Let me offer a few examples:
On abortion: One person states an opinion that abortion is wrong because it is wrong to take a life. The opponent will often make a counter argument that this person is a religious zealot with an antiquated view of society who is against a woman’s right to make her own decisions. Never mind the fact that the woman had a choice to keep her pants on.
On our 44th president: A disagreement with the policies of this president, or any criticism over the multiple scandals he has escaped is almost always met with the label of racist. News flash. It has nothing to do with race. The ones making it about race are the real racists.
On Health Care: Anyone who does not think that a government run health care system is a good idea is labeled heartless and uncaring. You don’t want people to have affordable medical care. Never mind the dangers of allowing an already bloated federal government dictate the terms of your medical coverage, and that costs will eventually go up, and that almost everybody that gets this “free health care” is getting it free or subsidized now. Nope, none of that matters as long as you can be painted as being “A big ol’ meanie pants”.
On Homosexuality: Expressing the belief that homosexuality is wrong is somehow twisted to mean you “hate” homosexuals. The “homophobic” label is often associated as well. I can tell you from experience, nobody I know hates, nor are they afraid of, homosexuals. Again, these are terms thrown out there in an attempt to discredit so that the merits of the issue do not have to be discussed.
On The Environment: This is one of the worst. expressing a belief that man made global warming is a hoax is all too often met with the label “Denyer”, elevating that person to the same level as those who would deny the holocaust. This gets them out of having to defend the junk science and fabricated data that are the basis of the movement or the scores of climate scientists that disagree. We can’t discuss the actual topic if we are too busy defending ourselves from personal attacks.
Need we continue?
Anger, or Something a Lot Like It
Yes, I know hate still exists in this world today. Certain parts of the world have a larger share than others too, but it’s still around everywhere to some degree. And yes, Hate is a bad thing. Can we ever get rid of it? Not as long as humans are around. But, that is all part of the free will thing. You are free to think and do as you like. So is the guy down the street. And anytime he wants to do something that infringes upon what you want to do, there is going to be conflict. It’s that simple.
We can’t get rid of conflict, hence we can’t get rid of hate. We can, however, stop calling it “hate” when it’s not. Phil Robinson, the patriarch of the Duck Commander brand featured on the A&E series Duck Dynasty, was not “hating” anyone when he expressed his belief that homosexuality goes against God. As a matter of fact, every Christian I know would welcome a gay person into their church tomorrow, so don’t give me that “hate” nonsense.
The fact that I vehemently oppose socialized medicine does not make me either someone who doesn’t want people to have insurance nor does it make me a racist. It’s sad that disagreeing with a person can be twisted like that if they happen to have more melanin than me. It’s NOT a racial issue.
Assertive or Aggressive? Yes, there is a difference.
Just because you disagree with someone does not mean you “hate” them. I have been listening to a podcast series from Brandon Vaughn, PhD on the topic of assertiveness that fits nicely with this topic. It’s a lengthy series in which the good doctor goes into great detail about what is assertiveness, how it differs from aggressiveness, and what causes us to be less assertive in our lives. You can find it at at the First Things Productivity page firstthingsproductivity.com/assertiveness.
To summarize this multi-part podcast in a single sentence, assertive is the ability to express your opinion while still respecting the opinion of the other party. There is obviously a lot more to it than that, but this is the key concept, and why I felt it needed to be mentioned here.
I feel more than qualified to speak on this topic as I am a highly opinionated person. You pretty much have to be to write an entire series of books that are all opinion based. The trick, for me and for most people, is to focus on that definition of assertiveness. It’s all too easy to let aggressions sneak in. Frankly, it’s easier to be aggressive, but that doesn’t help the situation. Respect for the opposition opinion, and backing yours up with fact, is by far a better option.
Now, if I could only apply this in my daily life more. If you’re like me, you find it all too easy to try and force your opinion to override that of those who disagree. In truth, Showing respect for the opinions of others, even when they are polar opposites of yours, will get you much further.
Demonizing your opponent, attacking their credibility, or resorting to name calling is really doing nothing but sidestepping the real issue. And, to anyone who is looking at this objectively, the person who resorts to such attacks is the one who loses credibility. Play fair. Stop the name calling. Don’t call it hate just because it doesn’t’ agree with your belief. It’s not racist to disagree with someone, on principal, that is of a different race. And it’s not abuse just because someone is angry, regardless of what some shrinks would have you believe regarding your childhood.