Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why I reject hatred in political discussions and debates

A recent comment prompts me to address an important point -- I don't "hate" Gov. Walker

It’s not common for me to comment on something said to me on social media. Sure, I will quote political leaders and talking-heads when it’s appropriate; but as far as tweets from regular folk go, it’s not my place to put their opinions on this blog.

I do want to address one thought that was suggested of me recently, however. It’s not necessary that I mention the person by name, but what they said is enough for me to respond in full.

This person was trying to antagonize me, and could fit under the definition of an internet “troll.” By that, of course, I mean their purpose in engaging others “is to seek out people to argue on the internet over extremely trivial issues.” Nevertheless, I want to address their words, or rather what their sentiment was.

They believe I hate Republican Gov. Scott Walker simply because he’s a Republican.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, I get mad at the governor, as well as with others whom I vehemently disagree with, and often express that anger on this site. But hatred is far too strong of an emotion in politics, and blinds otherwise rational people from being able to make progress in government. I reject hatred in politics for that reason. Always have.

I have more reason than others to actually hate the governor -- his last name, Walker, is synonymous with corruption, and will be remembered for generations to come as the name responsible for destroying the traditional ideal of cooperation in Wisconsin governance.

And though we’re not related, we do share a last name. Which means my name, then, will be synonymous with everything that has gone wrong in the state since he assumed the governor’s office.

Yet I refuse to hate Gov. Walker. He’s been wrong on so many of the issues, and his actions have caused a tremendous burden on so many people in this state. But it’s a waste of my time to spend hating him. He does, after all, have the capacity to change his ways and do good for the state. As long as that possibility exists, no matter how remote it may be, hatred must be rejected.

As I said, hatred in politics blinds individuals. And if people embrace hatred of politicians, it obscures their ability to reach across the aisle when it is possible.

It must be pointed out that Walker hasn’t been 100 percent wrong all of the time -- he has, for instance, shown compassion to victims of sexual assault, evident when he signed a bill into law granting amnesty to victims of assaults who may have been drinking while underage at the time of the crime. Such victims may be hesitant to report sexual assaults when doing so results in their own arrest or citation. A broken clock can be right twice a day, and in this instance Walker was on the right side of an issue.

Recognizing that possibility is necessary in politics, and in life. Your “enemies” may be wrong (in your opinion) most of the time. But when they’re right, it needs to be acknowledged.

That acknowledgment cannot occur if hatred consumes you. And without that acknowledgment, there can be no room for compromise when it matters.

No, I do not hate Gov. Scott Walker, for any reason. I do not hate any Republican, conservative, or anyone political. I reject political hatred because it closes the door to opportunity.

I may get angry, and indeed my anger has shown itself on this very blog on many occasions. But anger shouldn’t be confused for hatred. And hatred should be removed from politics.

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