LAUGHNER, PALIN AND HATE

A demented young man, whose most prized books are the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Hitler’s Mein Kampf, becomes obsessed with rage when he gets no answer from a politician to an unintelligible question he has posed about the meaning of words. The man takes a gun, shoots the Democratic politician, and kills a Republican judge, a nine year old child and a few other people. And then, some people blame Sarah Palin. It makes no more sense than when President Bush was blamed for a tsunami that hit Hawaii and an earthquake in Haiti. But this time a significant number of people hold to the absurdity.

When Sarah Palin first burst onto the national scene less than three years ago, my instant impression was – what a breath of fresh air! She is cheerful and articulate, a sprightly woman of good spirits with commendable family values. How did she come to be the focus of so much hatred? It is not an easy question to answer.

Hatred, like love, is an emotion; it does not need a reason. It comes from the heart not from the mind. To search for a reason for hatred of Palin is to search in vain. We must search instead for a cause.

Sarah Palin holds no office, passed no laws, committed no frauds and speaks no evil of anyone. She has said nothing more outrageous than “You can see Russia from Alaska.” As a possible presidential candidate for office, Palin may be a political threat to the left, but no more than any other presidential contender. Some would say less, because they think she is un-electable.

Rush Limbaugh is irreverent, bombastic and arrogant. Palin is none of these, yet much greater and deeper hatred befalls her. The left understands Limbaugh; his style is not unlike many of their own. He is the enemy they know. But a person like Sarah Palin is alien to today’s progressives on the left. It is in the nature of man to harbor great fear of the unknown, a fear that at times extends beyond all rationality. Imaginations are left to run wild. Such seems to be the case with the Tea Party and Palin.

Hatred is an emotion that trickles from the right and flows like a great river from the left. Perhaps in that, there lies a clue. The right is more religious than the left. Their religion teaches tolerance and love. Not all believers follow the teachings of course, but there is no equivalent central force denouncing hate in the agnostic, atheist or existential world.

There is an old Cherokee fable known as the Parable of Two Wolves that sheds some light on the question. You can read it here.

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