During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.
Anger is a universal feeling. We see it pass and fester in all kinds of organisms. I believe hate, however, is distinctively human. Darker and richer in its complexity, the feeling of hate almost seems like the boiling point for the masses. Hate is the whistling of the kettle and so we turn off our brains in an attempt to relieve the pressure on our bodies.
With blinding hate we lose the characteristics we use to define ourselves as evolved. Reason no longer becomes a reason to calmly sit and talk; to think rationally. And so it is ironic that in some universities across the nation—institutes of higher learning—you have people so froth with anger that they become mere shells of themselves and succumb to their hate.
It is no surprise that in this moment, in this era, many feel hate and disgust and disappointment. It should be no surprise that there is hate coming from both sides. Conservative and Liberal. Democratic and Republican. And in true form, this hate from both sides is thinly veiled by a sense of nationalism.
According to Benedict Anderson nationalism is an imagined political community, limited by defined geographical boundaries and imagined because citizens project their own arbitrarily chosen thoughts and feelings onto the rest of society, forgetting their differences to create what they believe is their nation. Unfortunately, or fortunately, with access to the internet people can see that their perceived ideal is not actually the entirety of the nation. And so, we get angry and afraid.
The United States of America, with its history of immigration and diversity, has so many different versions of nationalistic identity. This is wonderful because it can be used to find similarities in other groups of people to create a sense of belonging. It is also terrible because it allows some people to ostracize, condemn, and ascribe others as ‘un-American.’ And let me say this again, this occurs on both sides. Each group is the victim as well as the assailant. And although we may never completely learn to stop attacking and start discussing, it would do the world a lot more good and a lot less pain if we tried.