I received some angry rebukes from Harper supporters in response to the item I posted, "What I can't stand about Stephen Harper." I was accused to hating Harper. Coming from that part of the political spectrum that embraces hatred, along with fear and suspicion, as philosophical staples, my critics probably just can't help themselves.
For the record, I don't hate Stephen Harper. I don't hate people as a rule, it takes far too much effort and tends to cloud the mind. I'll save my hatred for someone of much greater consequence than this fellow.
I can't stand some of Mr. Harper's policies and I can't stand some of his actions and skullduggery. I routinely comment on his hypocrisy and duplicity and yet I don't hate him. To me, at least, hatred is the most extreme variety of disapproval or dislike, an irrational emotion that carries a desire to see the person harmed or destroyed. I'd be enormously pleased to see Harper and his policies powerfully rejected by the electorate but that's about it.
Another point that my rightwing scolds bring up is the notion that Harper deserves our respect. I see nothing at all in him warranting my respect. Withholding my respect, however, is based on his actions and ideas and is not tantamount to hatred.
Harper loves America and he loves the American way although he's clever enough to know not to make that too obvious while he still heads a minority government. The irony is, if he was an American his political career would be dead. Look at the demeaning remarks he made about Canada and the Canadian people, how he mocked us to an audience of influential Americans in Montreal a decade ago. Any American leader who had shown such disrespect to his nation and people would be shown the door and handed a sandwich wrapped in a road map. He wouldn't be able to stand for dog catcher much less president. For Canadian conservatives, however, that same behaviour in their leader is just fine. Not only fine, they can't wait to proclaim their respect for the man who so plainly doesn't respect our country or our people.
I don't respect Stephen Harper but that's because I am proud of my country and my people. I don't respect Stephen Harper's policies or his chicanery or his hypocrisy or his duplicity. There are many things about Stephen Harper I can't stand. But I don't hate Stephen Harper. He's not worth that.