Which party do you associate with? Democrats, Republicans or Haters? Apparently Wanting something beyond the platforms presented by America’s two traditional parties brands citizens as ‘Haters’. Is this a reasonable point of view for a major news organization to take?
Journalist Michael Kinsley once defined a political gaffe as when someone “accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head.” In other words, a gaffe is when a political player accidentally tells the truth. This appears to be what happened in a recent Washington Post story.
Tens of millions of Americans disapprove of the way both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are doing their jobs. According to the hometown paper for America’s political class, this makes them “Haters.”
You read that right.
According to the Post‘s view of the world, there are now three teams in American politics: those who approve of Democrats, those who approve of Republicans and the Haters. This is how the paper officially labeled people like me, even as it notes that we’re a “significant and growing share of the electorate.”
This wasn’t just a casual reference by a lazy journalist. Not only did the paper of the political elite produce tables and graphics with the “Haters” label; they wrote an entire article about how “Haters Gonna Hate.”
It truly boggles my mind to think that this is the label it intentionally and thoughtfully chose.
From my perspective, I can think of many more appropriate terms to describe those who disapprove of the way both parties in Congress are behaving. If I were going for complete descriptive neutrality, I might define the three groups as Democrat supporters, Republican supporters and other (or perhaps neither). A more colorful approach would be to describe the third group as the adults needed to supervise the behavior of Congress.
Given those realities, people who disapprove of both parties in Congress might best be described as realistic or pragmatic.
A pragmatist can readily concede that the overwhelming majority of those in Congress were good people who went to Washington with a true desire to serve their country. At the same time, we can plainly see that those elected politicians entered a corrupt and dysfunctional institution, which makes it hard for even the good guys to do good things. We don’t need to hate anybody to recognize that Congress is doing a lousy job.
Branding those with a third, more rational viewpoint as ‘haters’ is an attempt to marginalize those who are most likely to offer solutions.