(Host) Recently commentator Bill Seamans has been reminded that choosing your words carefully is important, especially in political debate.
(Seamans) One of the most destructive words in the political dialogue is the word HATE. To hate an adversary is to loathe and despise him – look down on him with malice, disgust and contempt. While President Bush has appealed in major speeches for civility in public discourse it’s obvious that many in the political arena have not been listening.
Unfortunately, the word HATE is being used more and more and with unqualified vehemence. The mongers are spreading hate throughout the political spectrum. I’ve often heard the celebrity acclaimed as the nation’s most listened-to talk show host charge that liberals HATE conservatives personally, not just their policies.
Then on the flip side we hear that some liberals in Los Angeles are holding so-called “Hate Bush” parties to plan election campaign strategy to oust their new governator and eject Bush from the White House.
Hate also oozes from recent books that have reached the acclaim of the New York Times best-seller list. The writers commit multiple computercide – one endorses virtual death warrants for liberal politicians and regrets that Timothy McVeigh did not blow up the New York Times. Another calls Bush and his supporters liars who hate anything but their version of the truth – and regard those who oppose Bush’s war as unpatriotic.
At a time when our nation is in so much trouble we cannot allow the vicious use of the word hate to erode the unity we need to solve our problems. What would happen if we were hit by a terrorist weapon of mass destruction that caused horrendous casualties. How could the people cope after being repeatedly told by the nation’s most popular opinionators to hate their political adversaries?
Hate leads to fear which leads to intimidation which leads to the rejection of new ideas and criticism which leads to censorship which leadsd to the erosion of free speech and ultimately democracy as we know it.
The politics of hatred lie at the core of terrorism which is the deliberate exaltation of violence over other forms of public activity. In the terrorist mentality the hatred-bred horrifying acts of violence are positive and creative -they echo Hitler, who said “Virtue lies in Blood.”
I recall an exhibition at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington called “Fighting the Fires of Hate.” It commemorated the burning of books written by those the Nazis considered enemies. Those who use the word Hate so freely should visit the Holocaust Museum.
I wonder whether the political hate-mongers among us are truly the patriots they claim to be?
This is Bill Seamans.
Award-winning journalist Bill Seamans is a former correspondent and bureau chief for ABC News in the Middle East. He spoke to us from our studio in Norwich.