Why do you hate America?

We need debate, and it can be passionate. What we need less of is malice.

John I. Carney
2 min readMay 31, 2024

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A pen and ink drawing by the author. An angry-looking man is holding a sign reading “DOWN WITH” while a number of “UP WITH” signs are in and scattered around a garbage can in the background.

One of the most awful things about our current political situation is that people accuse anyone they disagree with of “hating” America. You don’t like my chosen candidate or party, ergo you must hate America. What a horrible thing to say! There are good and bad people on either end of the political spectrum, but I’ll say that most people involved in politics in one form or fashion do it because they *love* America and want to make it better (or keep it from getting worse).

Those people may disagree with each other about
* What the most urgent problems are
* Who is to blame for them
* How to solve them
* Whether such-and-such a political figure is the right person to lead

Those disagreements are a normal, natural part of life in a democratic society. They can be (and often should be) deep and passionate. But don’t think that just because someone disagrees with you they hate America, or they don’t care about America. This country needs the push and pull between right and left. This country needs more dialogue and fewer diatribes. Don’t be so arrogant as to think you are always right and the other side is always wrong. Don’t only seek out information favorable to your side, and be careful in your consumption — you may think you’re being informed when you’re actually being pandered to.

And please be careful about clicking the “share” button on on social media. I’ve seen people who I think of as reasonable and tolerant, and who would never in a million years call you names to your face, reshare really hurtful and needlessly-personal attacks on the other end of the political spectrum (and I’ve seen this happen from both ends of the spectrum). If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t share it on social media. And if you don’t know it’s good information from a reliable source, think twice about passing it along, even though it seems like it *ought* to be true or it supports your own argument about something.

It is not compromise to treat the other side with respect. It is not compromise to listen. It is not compromise to realize that there are good and reasonable human beings in both parties, and that those people all love their country.

You can passionately debate the issues without questioning the other side’s motives or patriotism.

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John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at http://www.lakeneuron.com/dislike