NO! I do not hate Barack Obama!
I’m responding to a comment from my previous essay Left To Tell: A Book in which the comment begins with “From Rwanda to Obama… Your level of hatred for Obama is truly astounding and every occasion is an excuse to espouse it. “
First of all, thanks ‘Lighten Up’ for your response to my essay. And I really do mean that because it affords a necessary checkpoint on my attitude and emotional state of mind. I strive to avoid hatred as part of my makeup, and it is necessary to periodically take stock in what I am writing and have written, and a response such as yours hopefully leads me to a point of personal reflection. This is such a time, and I am not being facetious.
First of all I reviewed Why I Write which is where I lay out a narrative detailing the motivations of why I write what I do. I reviewed this (I do this periodically) as a reminder to be true to my own values and not drift off into positions that run counter to those values and motives. I realize that those values and motivations are mine, and others may not agree; and that is fine and is what the idea of free expression is all about.
So I asked myself the question ‘Lighten Up’ asked (no … it was stated); do I hate Barack Obama, and does my writing show a pattern of hatred?
To help me answer the question I reviewed all of my essays with that question in mind. There is a danger in such an endeavor; the danger of drinking my own bath water, and I don’t know of a foolproof way of avoiding its drinking and I realize others may come to their own conclusions.
I’ve made no secret that I do not like Barack Obama and what he represents; his ideology and legislation, his leadership, his governance by continual crisis and demonization, and especially his vision of “fundamentally changing the United States of America.”
I’ve been blunt in my criticism, no doubt, and will not rehash what I’ve already written in the past four plus years. I’ve been careful in my attempts to justify and backup this criticism based on my world view and what I perceive to be his, as well as his actions, often going back to the first principles of the founding of this nation.
I’ve been harsh in my criticism and readily admit I don’t like him, and I neither apologize nor retreat from my public condemnation of him and of his policies.
As to the criticism that “…every occasion is an excuse to espouse it.” All I can say is that all of us should strive to pay careful attention to what is going on around us and to learn the lessons of history as best we can, and apply those lessons as best we can to our own circumstances and the circumstances of our nation at any given time. As Benjamin Franklin said: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” And that is what I believe I have been doing.
Finally, the dictionary definition of the word hate:
verb (used with object)
1. to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.
2. to be unwilling; dislike: I hate to do it.
verb (used without object)
3. to feel intense dislike, or extreme aversion or hostility.
4. intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility.
5. the object of extreme aversion or hostility.
It would appear that this definition has a fair amount of ambiguity, and in the context of political discussions such as this, the definition often tilts towards the hostility end. On this end of the hate spectrum I plead “Not Guilty.” I wish the president no physical harm, and harbor no hostile and violent attitudes towards him. On the other end of the hate spectrum I do plead “Guilty;” guilty of intense dislike towards what he has done and is doing to this nation and to future generations.
But wait: Often when accusing someone of expressing hatred, what is really meant is that they are engaging in “Hate Speech.”
hate speech legal definition
Speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.
First of all, if this is truly the “Legal Definition” (I got this from an internet search), then it is truly a warped “politically correct” definition and hard for me to accept as being consistent with the first amendment … that may be the subject of another essay. But if this is the commenter’s intended definition, then again I must say emphatically:
So no … I do not hate Barack Obama in the politically correct sense, but sure do have a strong dislike for the man. And I hope this disclaimer gets me off the hook from those that would hoist me on the “other improper classification”petard on the front steps of the New York Times or MSNBC headquarters.
Perhaps those of you who have been accused, rightly or wrongly, of “Bush Hatred Derangement Syndrome” can relate to what I am trying to convey here.
As an end note I include some Biblical teaching on hatred that we all might do well to consider … myself especially since I do write publically:
From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hat, ha’-tred (verb, sane’, “oftenest,” saTam, Gen 27:41, etc.; noun, sin’ah; miseo): A feeling of strong antagonism and dislike, generally malevolent and prompting to injury (the opposite of love); sometimes born of moral resentment. Alike in the Old Testament and New Testament, hate of the malevolent sort is unsparingly condemned (Nu 35:20; Ps 109:5; Prov 10:12; Tit 3:3; 1 Jn 3:15), but in the Old Testament hatred of evil and evil-doers, purged of personal malice, is commended (Ps 97:10; 101:3; 139:21,22, etc.). The New Testament law softens this feeling as regards persons, bringing it under the higher law of love (Mt 5:43,14; compare Rom 12:17-21), while intensifying the hatred of evil (Jude 1:23; Rev 2:6). God himself is hated by the wicked (Ex 20:5; Ps 139:21; compare Rom 8:7). Sometimes, however, the word “hate” is used hyperbolically in a relative sense to express only the strong preference of one to another. God loved Jacob, but hated Esau (Mal 1:3; Rom 9:13); father and mother are to be hated in comparison with Christ (Lk 14:26; compare Mt 10:37).
… And from Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
Hate derives from a strong dislike or ill will toward persons or things. As an emotional attitude, a person may oppose, detest, or despise contact with a thing or a person. Love and hatred often stand opposed. Wisdom says, there is “a time to love and a time to hate” ( Eccl 3:8 ). In the biblical record, every being may express or experience hate.
The Bible says that God hates religiosity ( Isa 1:14 ; Amos 5:21 ), hypocrisy and lies ( Zec 8:17 ), wrongdoing ( Isa 61:8 ); divorce ( Mal 2:16 ), violence ( Mal 2:16 ), idolatrous practices ( Hosea 9:15 ), and the way the prophets are treated ( Jer 44:4 ). The theology underlying God’s hatred rests upon two essential qualities of God: holiness and justice. As a divine being with standards, God hates anything that despises, detests, or disregards those standards. In return, people hate God ( Psalm 139:21-22 ). Humanity may choose to follow in God’s path in hating anything that hates the Lord or his standards ( Psalm 139:22 ).
The Bible notes that people can hate discipline ( Psalm 50:17 ), peace ( Psalm 120:6 ), and knowledge ( Prov 1:22 ). This sense of “hatred” carries the meaning of “loathing.” A person so characterized is viewed in a negative sense, often labeled as a “fool.” Some people hate anything that is good ( Mic 3:2 ). They are viewed as “evil.” They may hate God’s people as well. The psalmist tells us, “I suffer from those who hate me” ( 9:13 ). A strong dislike surfaces for a variety of reasons, all encompassed by the term “hatred.” Jesus accepted that believers would be hated, pronouncing a blessing on those so hated ( Luke 6:22 ). In fact, one mark of a disciple derives from being hated ( Luke 14:26 ). Of course, the world hated Jesus first ( John 7:7 ). True disciples hold an attitude of love toward those who hate them ( Luke 6:27 ). This hatred of God’s people appears to be an inevitable fact of life ( Psalm 25:19 ; 35:19 ; 41:7 ; 83:2 ; Prov 9:8 ). God may be involved on occasion in turning people to hate his people ( Psalm 105:25 ). This idea attests how everything fits into God’s plan in some way.
The response by God’s people needs to mirror God’s attitude toward evil. We are to hate evildoers ( Psalm 26:5 ), idolaters ( Psalm 31:6 ), the false way ( Psalm 119:104 ), falsehood ( Psalm 119:163 ), and anything that is evil ( Psalm 97:10 ; Prov 8:13 ; Amos 5:15 ).
Normal relationships may produce hatred between people. A husband may hate his wife ( Genesis 29:31Genesis 29:33 ). Joseph’s brothers hated him ( Gen 37:4 ). Amnon’s lust turned to hate after he raped his sister, Tamar ( 2 Sam 13:15 ). A parent may hate a son ( Prov 13:24 ). Neighbors, nations, and classes of people, such as the poor may be hated ( Deut 19:11 ; Prov 19:7 ; Isa 66:5 ). Hatred proves to be a tangible measurement of evil in the world. Its ugliness may extend in any direction. Any aversion of humans to others expresses hatred.
G. Michael Hagan
Don Johnson – March 2013