There was a show I recorded about a year ago on ESPN called Haters: The Anatomy of a Rivalry. The show focused on baseball rivalries and was very well produced.
In it, Dodger fans insulted the appearance of Giants fans and Red Sox fans questioned the intelligence of Yankees fans and on and on. I saw it as much more than that though.
I viewed this as a decent look into the mentality of human beings.
We need a villain. Always. You want to activate people, get them to hate something or somebody or an idea or something so abstract as a baseball team.
Over 140 years of Major League Baseball and we are focused on a team of somebody else’s choosing. We are focused on so much hate. The Dodgers and Giants were once in other cities. They once played when only white people could play. Most of the players are not even representatives of the cities in which they play. Today especially. The teams moved and ensured the other would move as well in order to keep up the rivalry which got fans to engage with the game.
All sports try extremely hard to create a rivalry which will stimulate their fans and create excitement.
The local NFL team’s fans are more interested in railing on their rival and their rival’s fans instead of showing genuine support.
So here we are. Moving on from sports, which serves as a fine distraction which I welcome. Life is too hard to live without distraction. Tell me I’m wrong. It’s all about balance.
This post, however, is about villains. It’s about hating. It’s about having an enemy.
I see it more and more and it needs to be discussed.
People tend to vote against something instead of for. People tend to argue against. People tend to seek validation in rallying against.
This has been shown repeatedly over the years as we split off into rival groups and exasperated with social media. See the term “libtard” and tell me what that was supposed to mean and if it’s a valuable argument ever.
Hillary Clinton lost because she ran a campaign which failed to show any clear vision. Instead she ran against her opponent by dismissing them. Sanders had “pie in the sky” ideas. Later, she argued that a vote for her was a vote against Trump. She never truly laid a clear foundation of ideas.
Remember those Deplorables and Basement Dwellers?
Meanwhile, Trump chose to run a campaign which at least had vision, but was still a campaign against. Make America Great Again is a complete attack on those who were or had been in charge. It was villainizing (I have a red line under that word, but I’m leaving it) the current system. Completely running against Obama by declaring he made America anything but great, it was a campaign driven on fears and hatred.
Today they argued the travel ban. Trump repeated his disdain for Muslims during the campaign trail. He has made them the enemy and people eat it up.
I don’t care for the religion myself. I don’t care for Christianity either. I don’t hate the people. I hate the actions. Religion can be seen as a problem, but the solution is not intolerance.
We love to compartmentalize. We love to create enemies out of people who are really seeking the same freedom of life as any of us. We love to hate.
Trump wears the idea he has “haters” as a badge of honor.
Watch the discourse from slightly left of center. There is a battle to demonize both the extreme left and the right. This isn’t healthy. But they are creating rivalries on two fronts. They are creating an entire universe in which their philosophy is being attacked from every angle.
As if they are Batman, Trump is The Joker, and progressives are The Riddler.
I believe that people want a superhero, but their heroes cannot be “super” without making somebody else out as a super villain.
The more super the enemy, the more super the hero
In reality, the world is full of mediocre bad guys and the discourse is run by those people almost entirely.
Here’s what needs to happen.
People need to start determining where their needs overlap. Tolerance needs to be exercised.
We have decided that politics is similar to sports. We have taken the bait and determined that regular everyday humans are the enemy. We have decided to fight this battle on a weird level and nobody is fighting for the needs of the common everyday human being who is struggling to live and pay bills and take a vacation and hold a job. Good luck retiring.
Our enemy should be common. Our enemy should be that which keeps us from a humane quality of life.
We need to take an honest look at ourselves.
The Hatfields and the McCoys never learned their lesson.
If I go back to the show I lead this post with, it ended with a Red Sox fan watching a game in person with a Yankees fan. A very humanizing thing to do.
We are likely to never completely agree on much, but we need to at least start focusing our intent better.
We’ve created villains and haters where they don’t really exist and that’s just simply bad energy for everything.