I avoid naming names for the most part. That would be a way to wrap a useful insight in a package that would become dated and could be dismissed as personal. But for some readers, abstractions do not have the sharpened edge required to take the head off of a widespread folly whose time seems to have come. Hate mongering plagues every age but it takes a new name in each age. In any era, hate mongering is such a cheap accomplishment...
It is even easier to give candy to a baby than to take candy from a baby and just as harmful to the baby.
It was once unfashionable and low class to peddle hatreds. Hatred and action based on hatred got sort of a bad name from mr. hitler and mr. mccarthy to name just two of a crowded genre. For a long time after the programs of these two enterprising politicians were repudiated, it was noted that they were able to put over some very harmful lies on an uncritical population and leverage fear as a way to prompt the actions that those populations later saw as shameful and unwarranted harm. Why then has the disgrace of David Duke given way to the embrace of Michael Savage, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? Every time I read something these people say, the crude and undisguised hatred sears me. Every time I try to consider what their message and appeal might be, I conclude a bit more firmly that speaker and audience alike are tiny-hearted folk in great unspoken dread of losing something. What have they got to lose? They had freedoms but they are positively throwing those overboard in panic. What else have they got to lose? Belonging? To what group could you belong such that exclusion and persecution of or preemptive attack upon other groups would actually make the world a safer place or even improve your own well being in the long run? A bad conscience? Ah ha! who doesn't want to be told that his or her selfishness is natural and called for? That candy is poisoned.
The only real exit from a feeling of powerlessness is to look straight at the fear of which it is made.
Hatred and retaliation may look like exits since they face away from fear but you cannot move beyond them no matter how fast you run toward them. This is not leaving the fear but just turning your back on it so you can lose the awareness of it. "Here, drink the Koolade. Its sweet."
Note: the connections implied here would strike some as far fetched. Where after all, is the smoking gun that links the self congratulatory bashing of "liberals" and foreigners by the named cheerleaders to the excesses of the KKK or blood spilled by the "coalition" forces or the push to define freedom of speech as freedom to read the Bible? There never is a smoking gun because that would wake people up, the way the National Guard woke us up at Kent State. The process of turning a sickened zeitgeist into a groundswell of anger and hatred involves NOT shaking people up while assuaging any unease that might arise over little changes of policies and officials that ratchet towards the elimination or marginalization of the parties targeted by the escalating drumbeat of hatred. If reading books or blogs doesn't do it for you, spend a day at the Holocaust Museum in Washington and see how gradual the process is. Considering how often history has featured a little hatred parlayed into an orgy of horror , one does not need a conspiracy theory to sense that "here we go again": simple weaknesses of the human animal suffice to account for "strong trends and weak orchestration" leading eventually to "weak resistance to entrenched control".
Note: yes, I suspect that to some degree, I can't write this and be free of fear and hatred myself. This kind of self awareness requires constant effort. I don't think we need to get rid of anybody or even throw them in jail, just wake them up, remind them of their own humanity. I am trying to look at what I fear.