During the term of George W. Bush, the wildly popular country band The Dixie Chicks made disparaging remarks about the president’s involvement in the war in Iraq. Unwilling to apologize, the reaction from the country music industry (and a large country music fan base) was harsh: Suddenly, their music was no longer played on country stations, and they were shut out of the country music awards.
This went on for an unbelievably long time (and for the most part still continues through inertia), until today many young country music fans have never even heard of the Dixie Chicks. Recently we read about the CEO of Mozilla who, because he made a small donation to support traditional marriage in California, was the target of a petition signed by tens of thousands to remove him from his job, and he finally resigned.
Ellen DeGeneres uses the line, “My haters are my motivators.” The fallacy in this perspective is the assumption that if we disagree with people, we must hate them. If my child chose to use drugs and told everyone how wonderful that was, and I disagreed with that opinion and lifestyle, does that necessarily mean I hate my child? It’s a silly premise. Whether we agree or disagree with the Dixie Chicks, the Mozilla CEO or Ellen is not the point.
Have we really descended so far that if we disagree with someone, we feel entitled to label them a hater and set out to destroy their careers?