M. Douglas Wray

The Hate Machine

by Mary Pitt

Somewhere in the bowels of the White House,

there must be a machine that monitors everything that is said and done in the nation that expresses dissatisfaction with any policy or practice of President Bush or the Republican Party. Once the slightest thing is sensed, the word goes out across the country, “Hate that!” The hate switch goes on and immediately the media is flooded with articles, the calls are made to the right-wing talk shows, and soon the slime of another hatred is oozing all over the place.

Recently the hate machine was triggered by Michael J. Fox. Now, Mr. Fox is a talented young man whom we all watched as he grew up on our television sets and went on to movie stardom. He was one of “our children” and we were stricken with sadness when we learned of his illness. It was not a political thing and he felt nothing but waves of compassion from the American public.

Then the silly season started. Mr, Fox decided, as did Steve Reeves before him, that he would campaign for any candidate who favored embryonic stem cell research, Democratic or Republican. As his video was shown in Missouri, it tripped the hate machine and the word went out, “Hate Michael J. Fox!” Rush Limbaugh, ever the eager lead sled dog of the Republican Party, leapt into the harness, accusing Fox of being “off his meds” and “acting”, jerking and twitching in parody as he did so.

Now, it has always been painfully easy to ridicule any person with an obvious disability and it has long been a practice of ignorant and uncaring people. The Republicans have not been averse to using these unfortunate human beings as tokens when it suited their purpose. I recall Jim Brady being wheeled out for official Republican occasions as was Steve Reeves, despite the campaign of Sara Brady for gun control and Mr. Reeves for stem cell research. But Mr. Fox made the unforgiveable error of making a campaign spot for a Democrat and the call went out for the hate to turn on.

Fortunately, that spigot was turned off so it could turn back on in the direction of Senator John Kerry. That poor man, who had dared to run for the presidency in opposition to the fair-haired George W. Bush, triggered the hate machine because he flubbed the delivery of a joke about the president as he addressed a college audience. That doesn’t sound like a treasonous act but it suddenly appeared to be a gross insult to every soldier who is serving in Mr. Bush’s War and Senator Kerry is finding it impossible to apologize enough or otherwise explain away his error and the hate machine will turn off from his direction only when somebody else says or does something that offends the Republican sensibilities.

It may be someone from Hollywood. Republicans hate Hollywood stars who express political opinions, that is, if those opinions favor the Democrats. They loved Ronald Reagan, Sonny Bono and his wife, Mary, and they still adore Fred L Thompson, Clint Eastwood and, most of all, Charlton Heston, the hero of the gun rights lobby. However, all Hollywood Democrats are stark, staring mad and have no right to any political opinions. The hate machine says that any opinion that is expressed by a “California Liberal” will immediately be sprayed by hate from all directions.

Methinks the first chore of the new Democratic Congress should be to find this infernal machine and destroy it. Then, perhaps, this nation can return to the unity it once knew, when people were allowed to hold differing opinions and still be treated with respect, when both parties, (or three or four), were given credit for wanting nothing but to improve the lot of all Americans and to share their ideas openly in order to achieve that goal. Rather than exposing the handicapped, the ill, the elderly, and the poor to ridicule, they should be cherished and helped to live as normally as possible and every effort made to assist in finding cures for their afflictions. That, not hatred, is the American way!

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