I’ll never forget a conference I went to about 15 years ago. It was about how to make money on the internet. Lots of good, ethical people shared their strategies.
But…to me, the one guy who really stood out focused his entire 1-hour presentation on creating “haters.” Essentially, he said,
“You gotta have haters. Get ‘em all riled up about some issue. Make ‘em mad. Really mad.
Then they’ll buy all sorts of products from you, join your membership site and spread the word to all their buddies.”
I was appalled. This kind of thinking goes against everything I value. Profit was all that mattered—with no thought to the consequences of one’s actions.
News channels do this too. They play to their demographic. Rile ‘em up. Get ‘em to
listen/watch. It drives advertising revenue.
Politicians play the same game—to stay in power, to vilify the “others,” to create an enemy they’re valiantly doing battle with.
Amazingly, most of us still agree on issues such as:
- The rich should be paying more in taxes.
- Improving the nation’s infrastructure (roads, bridges).
- Regulating campaign financing (especially Citizens United).
- Gun control measures.
- Addressing the climate crises.
- Eliminating gerrymandering.
- Ensuring the long-term viability of Social Security.
There’s a whole lot more we agree on too. But you’d never know it because we’re in opposing tribes—just like our politicians.
We find out someone is from a Blue State (or Red State) and can barely talk to these aliens. We discover who a person voted for in the past election and want nothing more to do with them.
We avoid family gatherings or getting together with old friends because these occasions have flared up in the past.
So, in a sense, we’ve become “haters” too. Things can’t get better until we can connect again… till we can work together.
Our ideas on how to address various issues may vary, but I’m convinced that well-intentioned people who truly care about an issue can find common ground.