Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For the Love of Hate

When it comes to hate in this country, seems like things have gotten worse since I started blogging and following blogs. Or maybe I'm just getting a lot more information than before. Since stuff I read in blogs turns up in the national news several days after I see it on blogs, or not at all, I'm inclined to believe that I'm getting more information.

Prior to starting this blog, I watched NBC for national news and ABC for Atlanta news (which passes for local here in Athens) on television every day. I read the Athens Banner-Herald every day for real local news (well, for UGA sports and the blotter so I know who got busted). And I faithfully read my weekly US News and World Report (now a biweekly), just as I have for the last 25 years or so--even the articles about countries I've never heard of before.

One thing for sure, I get a LOT more news from gay sources now than before. That means I read all about the latest slights and perceived slights by mostly religious conservatives and the groups that use them to accomplish other objectives (i.e., to elect Republican politicians). Most of what I read appears to be fairly well documented, but I wouldn't call it balanced by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, reading some of these gay blogs is a lot like watching Fox News--you're going to get a particular point of view, period.

Anyway, looks to me like there is a tremendous amount of hate flowing around out there today. I think nearly all comes from the lunatic fringe. Whether we're talking about Nazi Baptists, radio pundits of both persuasions, the Gaystapo, PETA, skinheads, or Paul Broun, these folks really don't represent the views of most Americans. They get attention because their views are so extreme. After all, extreme sells--just ask the folks at Fox News.

Middle America (and I'm not talking geography) is boring. These folks go to work (or did, before they got laid off), do the best they can to raise their kids, and live paycheck to paycheck. If they hear about the drama around hate and haters, they shake their heads and go on their way. They are not terribly informed on issues that don't directly impact their day to day life. Mostly they don't care to be because they've got enough on their plates as it is.

All this to say that I believe much of the hate-filled rhetoric is way out of proportion. They aren't all out to get us, however you choose to define us. Yeah, hate crimes are up, and Barack Obama has received more death threats than any other president-elect in history. That's probably because 1) the lunatic fringe is larger because there are so many more people and 2) some people that lose their jobs through no fault of their own feel the need to blame someone. Would be interesting to examine whether there are any correlations between the increase in blogging and the increase in hate crimes.

I do what I can through my postings on this blog and the comments I post on other blogs to throw a little water on the flames. I see others that try to do the same. But mostly what I see are hotheads that fan the flames, or worse, fling gasoline on the flames. I don't think that's good for the cause--any cause, including those I'm for and against.

But what do I know? I'm just...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

rptrcub said...

I try my best not to read certain blogs -- or at least their commenters. JMG is one of my favorites but some of the commenters tend to raise my blood pressure.

Frankly, while I have a mistrust of organized religion, those who are painting with broad brushes (like a certain artist who comments there, who also insulted my generation as well with the "I've been marching for our rights for decades so shove it up your ass" or something like that) to describe all Christians -- even friendly ones -- really don't help and only serve to inflame.

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