It’s a Love-Hate Thing

You may have noticed that a great many people seem to really, really hate George W. Bush. Here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one of the “bluest” neighborhoods in America, there’s a tacit assumption on the part of everyone you meet that you, too, really, really hate George W. Bush. And why do all the people here make that assumption? It’s because they themselves really, really hate George W. Bush, and because everyone else they know around here really, really hates George W. Bush too.

I also spend a lot of time up in Wellfleet, Massachussetts, home to a lot of artists and writers, and the first thing you see for sale when you walk into the village grocery store in Wellfleet is a bumper sticker emblazoned with “01.20.09” — the date of the last day of the presidential term of George W. Bush. And that’s because everyone up there really, really hates him, and they’re sure you do too — and they know it’s going to be important to you that the perfect stranger driving behind you on the highway knows just how you feel, because you sure wouldn’t want anyone to think that you might not really, really hate George W. Bush. I think the folks who run the store might have got the bumper stickers from, which is a handy website, because not only do they hate George W. Bush just as much as you do, and can sell you all sorts of I-hate-George-W-Bush-themed products, but they also have a little timer going that lets you know how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds are left in his term, in case you’re counting. (Right now it’s 432 days, 14 hours, 10 minutes, and 20 seconds.)

Well, readers will know from my own snarky little posts that I’m not a big fan of the guy either, and I’ll be glad when he’s gone. But I’ve often wondered why all these good-natured, tolerant, liberal-minded people don’t find it a little uncomfortable to do quite so much hating. I suspect if you asked them in the abstract whether being seriously preoccupied with really, really hating someone was generally a healthy state of mind, they’d say no, as long as they didn’t happen to be thinking about George W. Bush right when you asked them. But get them talking about politics, and bingo! it turns out right away that boy, do they they really, really hate George W. Bush.

Anyway, as it turns out, I’m not the only one who is a little put off by all of this. In an opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal, the Hoover Institute’s Peter Berkowitz explains why he thinks it’s a wee bit over the top as well. Read his article here.

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  1. Charles says

    Good article. Thanks for that.

    I probably don’t fall within the “fans of Bush” camp either, but I agree completely that Bush hatred does more harm than good.

    This may be going a bit off topic, but can I get something off my chest? I… hate… when… Americans… bash… America… overseas. Really. I want to punch them in the face. I’m no patriot, but I understand that, as an American abroad, my words and actions reflect on my country. I don’t share my political opinions with Koreans at all, unless they’re family, in which case I share limited versions of my opinions. But I would never openly hate on Bush or the U.S. government.

    Do you remember when they had those worldwide marches against the war in Iraq a few years ago? My wife asked me if I wanted to march in the one they were holding here. “You’re kidding me, right?” I said. “No,” she replied, “some of my students are going to be marching” (these students were American). My answer: “That’s because they’re acting on emotion without thinking things through.” Sure, the idea of the march is not so bad, but here in Korea, things like this don’t need much of a nudge to turn into an anti-America protest. There was no way I was going to put myself in that sort of position.

    So, I don’t know, maybe that makes me a tool. But hearing Americans here bash the U.S. in front of Koreans (doing it in front of an American audience is a different story) is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. I know that’s not really what this post or article was about, but that’s what came to mind.

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 3:01 am | Permalink
  2. What?! Defending Bushitler? Un-friggin’-believable! I defend my right to be righteously outraged by every outrageously outrageous Bushitler outrage!

    And I insist on my rational right to be emotional about it, too! Any further defense of Bushitler, and I’ll get angry! So there!

    Jeffery ‘PC’ Hodges

    * * *

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 4:03 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Hi Charles,

    I absolutely agree. It used to be said that “politics ends at the water’s edge”, but no more, apparently. Hollywood celebrities are particularly drawn to this sort of thing, from “Hanoi” Jane Fonda to Sean Penn to that mendacious tub Michael Moore.

    Jeffery, welcome to my little corner of Brooklyn. You’re going to love it here.

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  4. Berkowitz’s article in the Journal yesterday was one of the most whining, pusillanimous pieces I have read in a very long time. It is regrettable that his tender feelings were bruised when unnamed others expressed their dislike of George Bush. However, it is the height of hypocrisy for the Wall Street Journal — which printed the most vile accusations imaginable against Bill Clinton during his Presidency — to print this self-righteous pity party with a straight face.

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    But Pete! How do you feel about George W. Bush?

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  6. I don’t hate the guy personally. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he really thinks what he does is best for the country. (More precisely, I think he does what he does in the best interests of those who support the Republican Party.)

    It is true that whenever I see him on television, he makes me think of Alfred E. Newman. However, that’s not hatred. He really does look like Alfred E. Newman.

    Having said that, I think that he is without a doubt the Worst President Ever. He is cocky, lazy, easily misled, bullying, divisive, dishonest, self-righteous, feckless, inarticulate, and not very bright. There is absolutely nothing his administration has achieved which can be viewed with pride: after six years, there is not a single major achievement of the Bush administration. The copious disasters of his administration have desecrated the Constitution, emptied the treasury, made us much more vulnerable, exacerbated environmental problems, deceived and divided the country, decimated the military, staffed the government with politically connected nincompoops, and made a mockery of the most basic things which America has traditionally stood for. The rest of the world correctly perceives us as belligerent, hypocritical, and immoral. Worst of all — by a long shot — he has the blood of thousands (tens of thousands?) on his hands.

    But do I hate the guy? Nah. I don’t know what that achieves. History will deal harshly enough with George Bush, there’s no need for me to pile on.

    Posted November 15, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink
  7. Patrick says

    Thank you Peter for the well articulated observations misgivings and insights. I agree that this current pres has created-( without a doubt) the worst administration thus far…
    But hatred only hurts the hater not the object of hatred… so hang in there bro do not let yr anger-(rightious and well placed as it may be)- harm yourself

    Posted November 16, 2007 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
  8. Thanks for your kind post — my view is that there is no reason to harm yourself by hating politicians when you can do it instead with barbecued ribs and Jack Daniels — which has the further benefit of covering all of the major food groups —

    Posted November 16, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Permalink