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B. Jeffrey Madoff Headshot

How Can I Be Loved for Hating Everybody?

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The world is changing way too fast. A year ago we thought Hillary Clinton might get elected. Television pundits repeatedly asked us if we were ready to have a female president. When Obama upset Clinton, for many, it got even worse. Pundits then asked, "Are we ready for a black president?" Ready or not, we all know what happened next; Obama got elected and the economy collapsed.

Alright, it collapsed during the last administration, but it seemed like both administrations thought that something had to be done to stem the hemorrhaging of jobs and thaw the credit freeze. It wasn't fixed before Obama took office, so now it's his problem, which means it's still our problem. I was relieved that television let us know who we should hate -- all those Wall Streeters with their big bonuses -- and AIG, they were the worst. Thanks to television, we knew where to put our anger.

We hate that General Motors and Chrysler went bankrupt. What is more American than owning a car? We were the world leaders until the countries we beat in World War II, Germany and Japan, made better and less expensive cars. So what if the writing was on the wall in the early 70s during the first Mideast crisis when gas prices went way up. Time passed and we forgot to do anything about "being held hostage by Mideast oil." We got reminded again last year when gasoline hit an all time high.

Maybe the government could impose greater fuel efficiency standards, but this is America and nobody is going to tell us what to do. Remember when "Made in Japan" meant you were buying crap -- until we started buying their cars, televisions and video players. We hated the Japanese. Remember when they tried to buy up America until their economy tanked in the late 80s? Their financial system was severely over extended as the result of making bad loans. We're not too crazy about the Chinese either, buying up our debt then getting worried about being paid back.

A lot of us hate the idea of same sex marriage. A family is created so a man and woman can reproduce. A gay couple is incapable of reproducing, which in and of itself is outside the natural order of things. The sanctity of life is an integral part of the family, indeed of humankind. What can gay couples do if they want children? Adopt? Give homes to unwanted babies who might otherwise be aborted? Who would want to be raised by same sex parents? Wouldn't those babies be better off dead?

Hatred has pushed some people right over the edge. James Von Brunn hated Jews and Blacks. He took a rifle into the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and shot a black security guard before being shot himself by two other guards. He was 88 years old. Although it's a good thing to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it's bad when your reason is to go kill people. He has been a time bomb of hatred for years.

Scott Roeder was another time bomb. Roeder allegedly shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed legal late term abortions. Roeder has a history of militant anti-government activity and being associated with hate groups. According to his brother David, "he has suffered from bouts of mental illness". Roeder and Von Brunn share a common bond, hatred for all people who believe differently than they do.

We hate people who blame everybody they hate for the hateful things they do. Racism and the groups that foster it allow people like Von Brunn to feel supported. He didn't get that anyplace else. Hate groups are magnets for alienated, disenfranchised, unstable people like him. It's not some radical, thought out, intellectual position that empowers him to be a warrior for the cause he so strongly believes in, it's that he's a damaged person with serious mental problems. Roeder is the same. I'm sure Roeder feels justified and empowered by his acts -- depending on who he watches on television. He has never gotten so much attention.

Fanning the flames of hatred has become routine for television pundits who are trying to boost their ratings and advance their careers. Television has become a very crowded place. It takes a big noise to get heard above the din of clattering voices vying for our attention. In TV land, controversy is good, feuds and fighting is better, self righteous moralizing is best. Facts don't matter. Volume and repetition have replaced truth. Hate is a uniter, not a divider. Hatred has become a fuel that drives ratings -- and ratings are all that matter. Don't you hate that?