The Lens of American Hatred – Northern Iowan

Editor’s Note: This article is from the Iowa Capitol Dispatch, November 1, 2022.

The road to hell is no longer paved with good intentions. Asphalt is hate.

Chances are you’ve experienced it recently.

Someone may have confronted you because of their race or ethnicity. A study shows that 22% of Americans have encountered this or had their property damaged because of their skin color or culture.

You may hate someone you loved because of a divorce. About half of all marriages lead to dissolution. Between 40% and 80% of them will have suffered one or more episodes of violence or abuse.

Many couples struggle in love-hate relationships. Sabrina Romanoff, a clinical psychologist, says that people from roller coaster partnerships look for excitement. They endure aggression and frustration so they can experience passion, mistaking it for intimacy.

Hatred has stained journalism, causing many of us to react bitterly to the news. The United States ranks last out of 46 countries in media trust. Only 29% of us trust reports.

You may have experienced hate or expressed some of your own in a social media post. A recent study found that 41% of Americans have experienced online harassment, 27% of which was serious, “including sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats, swatting, doxing, and sustained harassment”.

Then there are secrets. The people who keep them may end up hating others or even themselves. American Scientist cite research linking the secret to “increased anxiety, depression, poor health symptoms and even faster disease progression”.

Hate afflicts politics. In the past, our motto was perhaps “E Pluribus Unum”, among many, one; but which metamorphosed into “E Pluribus Duo”, among several, two: the Republicans and the Democrats.

And not just any Republican. Many hate the RINOs (Republicans in name only). What exactly does this pejorative term mean? RINOs believe in less government, a strong military, and the US Constitution. Go figure.

And not just any Democrat. There are so many wings – progressives, old guard, new guard, moderates and conservatives. Few of them propose flies in Congress even though they hold a majority.

Politics is so toxic that many of us hate our opponent’s party more than we love our own, spouting partisan epithets in person or online.

Hate speech, however infuriating, is not a crime. The US Department of Justice cites first amendment protections, noting that people cannot be prosecuted for beliefs, even racist ones. Nevertheless, freedom of expression does not protect those whose criminal conduct is rooted in philosophical beliefs.

Hate crimes are on the rise. The DOJ reports that some 8,052 incidents occurred in 2020, resulting in 11,126 casualties.

Hate erupts in sectarian violence as evidenced by several mass shootings, including the Grocery store massacre tops in Buffalo, NY Or it may result political violence as during the uprising of January 6, 2021.

People collectively hate feeling a sense of belonging. Extremist groups pose a distinct threat. The Rand Corporation conducted a study on why people join these groups, noting factors such as financial instability, mental health, marginalization, recruitment, propaganda and, in particular, social connections.

Interviewees expressed a renewed sense of empowerment, viewing band members as family and friends.

Americans exist “in a perpetual state of love and hate”, according to The Guardiana British newspaper,

Isn’t love the opposite of hate? Not necessarily. Love and hate are two sides of the same emotional coin.

A psychological study titled “The deeper the love, the deeper the hate” focused on the relationship between these intense feelings. Love flourishes through shared values, but turns to hate after betrayal.

The late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, believed the opposite of hate is indifference:

“I have come to the conclusion that the danger that threatens humanity today is indifference, even more than hatred. There are more people who are indifferent than people who hate. Hate is an action. Hatred takes time. Hate takes energy. And even that requires sacrifice.

Indifference validates hate.

The Greater Good Science Center lists at UC Berkeley “Eight Ways to Resist Hate. Recommendations include educating yourself, understanding all points of view, speaking up when you encounter racism, resisting social pressure, and heeding your conscience. The Center also suggests finding a pattern, connecting with people different from yourself, and hitting the mental pause button so you don’t act on impulse.

If you do any of the above things, you will not be indifferent to the fate of others and you can boost your self-esteem, strengthen your values ​​and deepen your relationships.

Michael Bugeja, a distinguished liberal arts and science professor at Iowa State University, teaches media ethics and technology and social change. These views are his.

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