Friday, December 05, 2014

Hate the War Crimes, Not the War Criminal

While searching for a very different kind of photo (Don't ask.), I found this picture of former president George W. Bush holding his grandson. I have to say, it melted my heart. All the rage toward him I accumulated since my political awakening of 2004 just disappeared. I was reminded that he's still a human being, endowed with all the foibles, passions and graces endemic to our species.

That isn't to say he isn't a war criminal, because, technically, he is. But it's worth remembering that war criminals are people too. Hating someone, no matter how heinous we find their deeds, is a destructive activity that dehumanizes us as well as the object of our hatred. As the saying goes, "Don't hate the player; hate the game."

In the spirit of that wise, old axiom, I will continue to hate the machinations of the Military-Industrial Complex while trying not to hate the people who carry them out. Besides, what did all our hatred of Dubya get us? A Democratic president whose foreign (and domestic) policies are virtually indistinguishable from his predecessor's and a bunch of Democratic members of Congress who continue to fall in lockstep behind the Power Elite.

Yet we on the Left don't hate Obama or any Democrats with anything like the passion we directed at Dubya. So what does that say about our hate? That it has little to do with reality or effecting beneficial change in the world. Anger can be harnessed to achieve worthwhile goals, but when it turns into Hate, we are the ones who have been harnessed. At that point, Hate is holding the reins, and it has no interest in doing good.


latheChuck said...


I've been browsing back through your postings since you put the link on ADR, and this is in my opinion the best of them. It has a unifying theme which is humane yet still critical of individual attitudes and social structures, and presents a way forward to a better state.

Much of the rest, sad to say, is too confessional for my taste. But it does provide insight into the experience of your generation (I'm 55), which may be useful for my own community-building efforts.

Wishing you clarity of vision for the new year.

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Mickey Foley said...

Thank you, Chuck, and Happy New Year! I could use some more clarity of vision. My mind has often felt muddled while working on these essays in the past few months. It was years since I'd finished an essay. I think I've been biting off more than I can chew. I need to narrow the focus of each essay.

I vacillate between social commentary and confessions. I should probably set up a separate blog for the more personal material. Or just keep it to myself, my family or friends.

latheChuck said...

Mickey - I guess the most generic advice I can give you on your essays is to decide what effect you want to have on the reader. Do you want them to know YOU? Then you should give them a reason to want to do so. On the other hand, maybe you want them to understand their world better, by considering your point of view. In that case, your writing could be considered a gift to them, whether they learn about you or not.
I gather that you've had some frustration with women. That's to be expected. The paradox of popular culture is that any man who has experienced a statistically significant number of relationships has also proven an inability to form ANY long-term, exclusive relationship, so none of us can know anything in general on the topic. Personally, I married my college girlfriend for honorable but not wise reasons. We divorced about 10 turbulent years later. Then I married another, and we've been best friends though good times and bad, for over 20 years. Maybe that's the best kind of experience, but there's no going back in time to make use of it, and younger men know that every time is different.
Loving those around you as you love yourself may not be sufficient, but it's a good start.

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