Politics: the organization of hatreds
by Matt “Naj” Najmowicz
“Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” Henry B Adams – The Education of Henry Adams
I awoke from my sleep about two hours ago; I had a pretty long night despite having the company of two awesome ladies with me the majority of the time.
As I made myself a grilled cheese, I was standing over the frying pan wondering what my personal observations about last night’s election were. As my golden and gooey grilled cheese was frying to perfection, I wondered what I saw last night when I was hanging out at Rhode Island College, and what I saw from a television news media standpoint when I finally was dropped off home. It was a lot to digest, but I think I can crystalize my thoughts.
I found that I do in fact know what my working definition of modern day politics is. Politics is the system in which an individual accrues power. The practice of politics is the organization of hatreds. Politics is now and perhaps always was religion, warfare, fear, strategy, cold calculation, and also the best drama anyone could experience. Politics is so many things that the American lexicon doesn’t have enough words to express it fully.
As I sat around the media center at Rhode Island College (RIC), I saw around 20 or so students pontificate about the election, trying to make bold predictions.
Then, I hear this utterance repeatedly: “I hate him… fuck him/her… I hope he doesn’t get reelected.”
Hate. I hate him. I hate her. I hate politics. I hate this election. Someone was always being hated.
Ok, maybe it was just the demographic present in the room, maybe it’s just the youth and the usual hostility to society they always exhibit, as I so often have.
Then I made the mistake of going onto Facebook later on in the night. Again I bore witness to people of different ages, ethnicities, religions, sexes, sexualities and income brackets using that word in their posts: hate.
Why do we hate people that we don’t even know? Have our politics been reduced to a point where I now, in effect, join a gang? Must I be either a Blood or Crip? Must I be either a Democrat or a Republican?
What leads us to drink this piss and vinegar of hostility and hate — the media?
With the outward and unabashed audacity of the media being given divine province by The Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United, manufacturing consent was never made easier through the advent of the Super PAC. In every battleground state, people were bombarded by TV ads by both opponents to persuade them either to swallow a Blue pill or a Red pill. How did they make them swallow a pill that only looked different by color; to hate the other pill?
It was not the case that anyone could simply make an argument in favor of or displeasure of the candidates for president — we had to hate either man. We were all turned into piranhas overnight, seeking bloody chunks to give us sustenance for our easily manipulated emotions. The electorate was escalated into a frenetic mass; we all went to the polls like a mob with our matching pitchforks given to us by MSNBC, FOX News, Drudge Report, or Mother Jones.
Our media said, “Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war,” and we really let them loose.
People at RIC were nipping at each other’s heels. You could see the anxiety and mere frustration on their faces and in their voices when they talked. I felt sadness as I watched this. Deep down inside, everyone was on a team and friendships were condemned to antagonistic confrontations: they simply wanted to win and be right.
How in the hell did we let this happen to ourselves? I’m not trying to say I am above this — hell, I’m a willing participant in the election madness and I also give my opinions to my friends about what goes on politically. I try to be above it, but I know I fall into the trap again and again.
I want to make a pledge right now to everyone; I would like to try to find a new way in my lifetime to be involved with politics without devolving into some sort of simian beast. I’m already tired of our politics looking like something out of a nature show where a tiger is eating a gazelle. I am tired of the “kill or be killed” way we discuss politics; there must be a better way.
We can be better than our base and instinctive needs, right?