I don’t hate Stephen Harper. (Don’t really hate anyone, in fact: when I hate someone, I’m not content to simply stew about it. I go out and do something about it.)
I was thinking about this yesterday, as I laboured to build a floating dock. (It’ll be fine as long as none of you step on it, BTW.) Harper had been very kind to my family when my Dad died, and we will never forget that.
That doesn’t mean we agree with many of his policies – we of course don’t – but we don’t see the man as evil incarnate, either.
Dan Gardner this morn on the Harper Haters:
“This [Calgary-is-best remark] reveals the prime minister’s divisiveness, people said. His arrogance. His insensitivity. Why, it’s yet more evidence that Stephen Harper is the worst prime minister. Ever. The word “fascist” may even have slipped in there somewhere. It usually does.”
Gardner goes on to say that social media is to blame for a lot of this. Unless I’m reading him wrong, he’s saying social media largely created Harper hate.
If so, he’s wrong on three counts.
One, social media doesn’t actually create anything. It’s a noisy, chaotic mirror. It simply reflects what is already there.
Two, “hate” is too strong a word. Writing for the Sun, or being a liberal on the conservative-dominated blogosweird, I get called more nasty names in a day than you will in a lifetime. But I know most of what I get isn’t hate – it’s just bad tempter, or undiagnosed mental illness. Almost always, the critics calm down; sometimes, we even end up being pen pals.
Three, Harper is a unique case. He’s not ever the norm in any baseline social media analysis. With the recent exception of Angry Tom Mulcair, Harper has practiced the politics of division more than any politician in living memory. You reap what you sow, etc.
Anyway, read Gardner. You won’t hate him for it.