“I don’t hate politicians. I save strong emotions like that for my ex-boyfriends,” says New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.
I had to stop and think about how many of my ex-girlfriends might hate me. Probably, a few. I’m pretty sure my ex-wife still hates me and we’ve been divorced for 45 years. For the record, I don’t hate her.
Newspaper columnists find themselves branded as “haters” of those targeted in critical writings.
When I wrote about Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, readers of The Telegraph, my newspaper employer at the time, claimed I must hate the president or, perhaps, just Republicans in general.
Yet when I criticized Jimmy Carter, the accusations claimed I must hate Democrats and, therefore, hate Democrats.
When Reagan came under fire in my writings, the criticism claimed I must hate Republicans (again) and/or Ronnie.
Hate is not a word I use. I don’t hate people. I do dislike some of their actions or ideas.
The great Chicago newsman, Finley Peter Dunne, once wrote that it “the role of a newspaperman to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
So I afflict. I don’t hate. I often do so with strong words.
When Richard Nixon resigned, I wrote that we, as a nation, “must stomp the mad dog into the ground,” which was my subtle way of saying he should be tried for his crimes and imprisoned.
That brought an angry response from a reader who didn’t like me comparing the president with a dog.
“I can only hope we can find a way to bring this great man back as our leader,” she wrote.
I wrote a follow-up column based on her complaint and suggested she might find a way to bring Nixon back if she “leaves his bowl on the porch.”
During Barack Obama’s presidency, I wrote many columns critical of what I felt was his timid lack of leadership. That the usual question: “Why do you hate Obama?” I didn’t.
Nowadays, the critics line up to claim I “hate Trump.”
I agree that it is difficult to not hate Trump. He invites hatred and disdain but what I dislike stems from his lack of morality, disdain of value and blatant dishonesty. I dislike what I feel he is doing to our nation. He, however, is a hater. We see it in his racism, his bigotry, his language and his utter lack of compassion.
Dowd writes that those who claim she hates “undercut legitimate concerns I had about the behavior of a president or would-be president by suggesting that strong emotions were clouding my judgment.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi responds stronger when she is accused of hating anyone, even Trump:
As a Catholic, I resent your using the word “hate” in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president.
She also admits she prays for Trump at night in her apartment in Washington and in church on Sunday.
The prayer is that God will open his heart to meet the needs of the American people.
She told Dowd, however, that she complained to her priest that her prayers aren’t working on Trump.
“Maybe you’re not praying hard enough,” he replied.
Not even prayer can penetrate the toxic cloud of hate that envelops Donald Trump.
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