I Don’t Feel Hatred For Trump: Being Suspicious Of Political Emotions

I don’t feel hatred for Donald Trump. I really don’t. There’s not this feeling that is something like hatred that I feel for him. Do I think he is a virtuous person? Nope. Do I think he’s a good president? Hardly. But there’s not a thing I feel toward him that resembles hatred.

Official portrait of Donald J. Trump. I chose this picture to try to be charitable toward him.

 

I mentioned this to someone and they said, “You don’t hate Trump? Really? I do.”

And perhaps that’s fine. As long as it’s a reflective and reasoned hatred, I suppose.

I’ve become a little distrustful of political emotions, not only owing to the fact that I was trained in philosophy and philosophers, in general, have tended to distrust emotions.

I don’t completely deny political emotions, as I helped organize a rally that was based on my love for someone and caring for their situation. That was, I believe, a positive move directed by a positive emotion. But in this day and age, I’ve become concerned about biases and strengthened biases, possibly exacerbated by social media and 24/7 news. I’ve become worried that people’s emotions are getting the best of them—often, I’m afraid, moving them in the wrong direction.

Appeal to emotion, of course, is an informal fallacy. But in everyday life, our emotions pull us in all kinds of directions. I don’t say I’m immune to this.  And philosophers have different view on the role emotions can and should play in forming beliefs and initiating action. Some welcome emotions with open arms. I suppose I’m a bit more suspicious. I think emotions can be developed and cultivated and I believe in being reflective in about emotions, even while being in touch with them. Perhaps being in touch with one’s emotions maturely requires that we are reflective about our emotions, can name them, can explain what justifies them and where they come from. But not everyone has time in their day to even do these things.

We live in a fast-paced world, where social media and the news blare at us, solidifying our biases and generating all kinds of emotions.

Unfortunately, if one knows the biases of one’s audience, one can exploit those biases and lead people down a path of solidified bias plus flaming emotions. And that, I’m afraid, is what I worry about. Until most people know about the psychology behind manipulation and how it’s often used in the media, I remain suspicious of political emotions.

 

 

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