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Hate Prevents Society From Moving Forward

November 17, 2003

Re "Hate Is Everywhere and Gets Us Nowhere," Commentary, Nov. 14: Douglas McKinnon has certainly captured one of the aspects of late 20th and early 21st century America when he speaks of our inability to simply be able to disagree without "hating" one another. The vitriol of talk radio and political factionalization have continued to divide and conquer us in ways that weaken our personal rights as well as our social responsibility to each other. In part, it has traditionally been our joint efforts that have built the nation.

Now it is our polarized ideologies that have destroyed our ability to mediate and compromise. It is not who wins, but how well we survive together. How can we survive together when there is no place for dissent and discussion, respect and compromise? We've needlessly created an atmosphere of antagonism to support extreme ideologies that can only internally corrode the structure of democracy from the inside out.

Betty L. Seidmon

Los Angeles

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So glad to see conservatives in this country have finally seen the light about hate. This is a refrain I've heard increasingly in recent months from commentators on the right.

It's funny how hate never seemed to bother them when it was coming from their own side. Whether it was Lee Atwater's infamous Willie Horton ads or Rush Limbaugh's decade-long campaign of ridicule and character assassination against the Clintons, why use logic and reason when scare-mongering and name-calling are so much more effective?

From my perspective, the left in this country has finally gotten tired of being kicked around and has taken a page from the Republican playbook -- and it's getting them some traction, which is perhaps why McKinnon and his ilk have cried foul. But the right need not worry, their side still has all the best pit bulls. Just compare Al Franken's book to Ann Coulter's. He may call you a liar, but she'll call you a traitor. I know which accusation I prefer.

Neil Fletcher

Santa Monica

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