OPINION | An era of hatred

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HAGÅTÑA — Long before I decided that voting for president was a huge waste of my time and hopes, I gave a lot of thought about our current president, Donald Trump.

Although I am a life-long Republican, I can’t really say anything about him that will do much, if any, good. Any comment anyone makes about President Trump will be vigorously countered somewhere.

I have few, if any praise, to raise about him. I liked the idea of a political outsider becoming the leader of our country more than the reality it became. If it wasn’t Donald Trump, it could have been anyone else, as far as I was concerned. Alas, it had to be President Trump. The incredible fact that he became president of the United States was the closest thing to real democracy any I’d seen from politics in a very long time. In fact, had Hillary Clinton cinched the electorate, the presidency today would have remained one long swampy streak of exclusivity.

But enough about the Donald. Assuming that he is not re-elected, what are we going to do with all this hatred we have been so easy about spewing? History will bear witness to all his foibles and misbehaviors, we can be certain; but will be as lucid and meticulous about how each of us managed to conduct ourselves during this term as the absolute worst versions of ourselves?

You see, the most obvious change of the Trump presidency didn’t happen in the White House, it happened across this country. We radicalized. Political disagreements became shouting matches, positions became movements, and protests became looting.

We can’t blame society’s misbehaviors on one man. So we must ask ourselves, what was it about Donald Trump that made us so angry? What is it about him that makes us lose all sense of ourselves that we have lowered our standards about how to conduct ourselves?

Here’s what I mean:

Since when is openly making fun of someone’s skin color okay? Black, white, or in Trump’s case — periodically orange — we just don’t do that! But I see good people’s posts about the Cheeto-colored commander in chief; from people who in their right minds wouldn’t ever make a comment on anyone’s physical appearance. But they have, and they continue to do so.

Let Trump be Trump. But do we have to become those people?

When did it become OK to mock an individual’s mental capacity? Well, NEVER, but in the era of Trump, normally sane people have openly posted on their social media memes and jokes about Trump’s “dumb” son.

C’mon, let Eric Trump be Eric Trump. But do we have to be a nation that calls the boy stupid?

As I was driving by a corner of presidential campaigners near my house recently, I watched as non-supporters screamed at them. I mean, how mature — we’ve become these people.

At this moment, the popular reason to elect a different president is that America needs a leader who can unite the country. It has taken so much more than Donald Trump to tear people apart in America. It has taken many years of racial and economic inequality, forced politicized moralities, and a misguided media to turn the 2020 American into someone that thinks nothing of mocking skin color and cognitive ability.

Therefore, it will take a whole lot more than Joe Biden or anyone else to make this ugly side of us go away. People have been misled and mistreated for too long to let go of the sheer delight of being mean-spirited. Brutal mockery feels good when nothing makes sense.

American voters are here to hate.

Hatred has become a measure of the individual. How much one hates Democrats or Republicans is how the media calibrates the person. If your posts aren’t as snarky and belittling of Melania Trump, Kamala Harris or the police as your friends’ are, then an unseen algorithm pushes you from a pride of place. Similarly, if you have something actually good to comment, that same unseen mechanism sees to it that you are given many cold shoulders.

A difference of opinion has become weaponized in the presidency of Donald Trump. Compromise and tolerance have crumbled in its wake. But let’s just be honest, these have nothing to do with him. He’ll lose the presidency one day, but when will we be right again?

Dan Ho, a native of Agat, is a writer and teacher and holds a Ph.D. in indigenous studies. Follow his garden adventures on Instagram @HoandGarden.




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