Op-Ed: Why Do You Think Criticism Is Hate?

HATE:VERB hates (third person present) · hated (past tense) · hated (past participle) · hating (present participle) feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).

Before you read this, let me make this perfectly clear: I don’t hate you.

Really. I don’t.

I have found something interesting in my social media engagements with a certain group of people that lean a bit father to the right of the political spectrum than I do: When I engage them in any kind of a critical thinking way, they immediately respond with some kind of message that I am “filled with hate.”

They don’t answer with logic or a decent counter argument, they answer with an attack. I guess saying I am filled with hate is their way of saying I am filled with BS.

I first noticed this when one of my relatives told me that I was filled with hate towards Republicans, the military, all religions…actually the list went on and on. So much hate.

“I feel sorry for you, you are so filled with hate.” She said to me. That was in response to the questions on why so many white nationalists are Republican, why does the military waste so much money on weapons systems like the F-35 fighter plane, and shouldn’t Catholics stand up against the church to defend the children accosted by pedophilloic priests?

Hate. Hate. Hate. (Hey, I make no secret about my liberal politics, my disdain for wasteful military spending, and how religion is used as a hypocritical crutch by many politicians and voters in the US.)

When I asked my relatives to explain exactly where they saw this hate, to point out a specific message that shows my hate towards all of these things and people, they couldn’t point out a specific example, only that they knew I was “hate filled.” All of my posts on Facebook “proved it.” “Just go back and read your posts,“ they said. “You will find your hate.”

I did. I didn’t find any hate. I found criticism. I found push back on positions. I found myself pointing out when people were obviously misinterpreting data, or misunderstanding a topic, but there was no hate. I pointed out obvious hypocrisies.

To me, hate is wanting to go shoot up a Synagogue, or a black Baptist church, or an abortion clinic doctor. Hate is burning a cross on the front lawn of a black politician, or claiming a certain president was not born in this country, despite all evidence to the contrary.

No, no hate with me. Sorry.

Most recently, someone on Facebook put up a commonly posted meme about how the person posting loves everyone no matter their political point of view, and that we all need to get along. Pretty standard stuff. It looked something like this, only with pastels:

Can’t we all just get along? So I asked this single question in the message thread under his picture: “Since you knew of Donald Trump’s sexism, racism, misogyny, shady business dealings, adultery, serial lying, and contempt for the press prior to the election, when you voted for him, didn’t your vote send a message that you supported those types of behaviors?

Weren’t you saying “I am willing to overlook this behavior and say that it is okay with me and that GOP policies of making the wealthy wealthier are more important to me than my set of morals and values?”

Why do you hate Republicans so much? Why Tim, are you so filled with hate?

When someone posted a pro-military meme, as in the military does no wrong, I asked them: “The 2019 budget for the US military is $719 billion dollars, or close to ¾ of a trillion dollars. If we moved just 10% of that budget, about $72 billion dollars to pay for one year of college (average $5000 per year) we could afford to send over 14 MILLION Americans to college or trade school for a year. Don’t you think that is a better way to spend our tax dollars?”

Tim, why do you hate the military so much?

I got the same response when I asked why we shouldn’t thank teachers, police, firefighters, hell, even sanitation workers for the service to their country like we do the military? Don’t they serve their country just as much as some General in the Army? Most all of us work to help the country in one form or another.

I once stated that one’s religion is more based on the luck of where you were born, rather than any kind of revelation you might have received, I again was met with the hate meme.

Why do you hate the baby Jesus? You are going to Hell. Why must you hate so much? And I wont even tell you what I experience when I point out a verse from the Bible that contradicts something that someone is posting about.

Let’s just say the responses are not too Christian-like.

I was trained to be a teacher. It courses through my veins even after years of being away from the classroom. Part of that training (and something I think is probably the most important part of teaching), was to get students to explain why they came up with the answers they came up with. 2+2 = 4.

Yes, we all know that. But WHY does 2+2=4? Prove it to me. Explain to me why you think like you think. Yes, the water cycle is important. But WHY is it important?

That is part of the way we get students to think about their learning. Asking the “why” question. A good teacher pushes back on students to explain themselves. It is called “metacognition” and it means to think about thinking.

Even on the comment section to my columns, I am often accused of spouting “typical liberal talking points.” But when I push back and ask the commenters WHY they say that, I am met usually with silence.

In my experience at least lately, not many adults have been thinking about their thinking or at least have difficulty explain their thinking. WHY do you think voting for an admitted serial adulterer doesn’t go against your strongly held religious beliefs? WHY do you think adding more and bigger guns in the army is more important that sending people to college? WHY don’t you think that the head of the Government attacking the free press isn’t a violation of the First Amendment?

Why do you think separating refugee children from their parents is acceptable? Why can you say you are pro life while at the same time you have an NRA bumper sticker on your pickup truck? Where do you think Jesus would be: in the caravan coming to America, or in a tent in the desert, waiting to repel the refugees with guns, Humvees, and barbed wire fences?

Criticism is not hate.

Asking you to explain yourself is not hate.

Getting you to try to unwind your mental Gordian knots that you use to justify things that go against your morals and values is not hate.

Pointing out a contradiction is not hate.

Trying to make you think and not just repeat or repost something you saw on the internet is not hate.

If you think it is, maybe the hate is not coming from me, maybe it’s coming from you.

Is that hate?

Do you hate me for saying that?


Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.

Feel free to leave a comment.  Read his previous columns here.