HOW CAN I HATE SOMEONE I HAVE NEVER MET?
Does hate need a target? Or is it a loaded gun waiting to be aimed?
I have taken some stick for my comments on the likes of Trump and Johnson and some others, whom I professed to loathe to the point where they make me feel sick. I have never met either of the above, and for all I know, it has been suggested to me, a few hours in their company might cause me to see them as pleasant, even delightful fellows with whom I would happily share a beer.
This will seem ridiculous and really rather stupid, but I kind of hope not. I might want to spend that time with them out of curiosity as a journo but I would still want to come away feeling no less nauseated. Does this mean that on some level I am actually enjoying the nausea they are responsible for? This is all entirely irrational, and the fact that I am questioning my reactions highlights that conflict between conscious and subconscious. I want to hate Trump. I want to hate Johnson. I don’t think I would ever get to the polar opposite emotion — actually loving them, or any similarly positive emotion — but I think it would be better for my health and well-being if I were, at least, just consign them to being ignored. It isn’t that anything much they do has any direct effect upon me and my chosen lifestyle.
But I would have to go and live on a desert island or somewhere equally remote and media-free in order to achieve that possibly blissful ignorance. They are everywhere. Their unpleasant faces and voices populate every medium every day, because like it or not, they are much of the raw material of news, and most of us who like to know what is going on in the world, watch/read the news every day.
Go to the pub, or to a restaurant with friends, or a dinner party, and someone (probably more than one someone) will ask, “Well, what do you think of the latest thing that Trump has been up to?” (or Johnson, or Erdogan, or Putin, or Sanders or Macron). One can hardly respond with, “Huh?” or “No idea.” Even though that (perhaps expressed more conversationally) might sometimes be the best way to go. I tread on eggshells these days when it comes to anything to do with politics unless I am 1,000 percent certain that I am in the company of people who think, give or take, somewhat like me. I do not go about actively looking for confrontation or opportunities to ruin dinner parties.
That’s the stuff of echo-chamber cop-out, I know, but one of the reasons I so hate the Trumps of this world is that they and their politics/personalities have either actually lost me friends, or have so astonished me with their liking of these monsters that we have declared no-go zones in social interaction. One couple in particular — highly educated, well-travelled, frighteningly well-read and totally world-aware — are quite fervent supporters of Brexit and Johnson. They are not open to argument let lone persuasion and this tells me that Trump Johnson have some sort of purely emotional hold on such people. It simply cannot be that they have rationally or intellectually assessed the pronouncements of these modern-day jesters.
So, can I hate them when others, whom I would ordinarily respect, don’t? Yes, I’m afraid so. And my hatred is no more nor less emotional, I think, than those who love.