“Now hatred is by far the Longest pleasure;
“Men love in haste, but they detest at leisure.”
— George Gordon, Lord Byron
When I was an undergraduate at Princeton University during the height of the Vietnam War, surrounded by fellow students who condemned it and even some who left the country to avoid fighting in it, the mantra used by its supporters was, “America, love it or leave it.” In my misguided “Bomb Hanoi” youth, I uttered this phrase, which I now detest.
The phrase itself — with its command of the government’s way or the highway — admits of no dissenting opinions, suggests that all is well and proper here and insinuates that moral norms and cultural values cannot be improved. The phrase itself is un-American.
That era also produced such hate-filled catchphrases as: “Hey, hey, LBJ; how many kids did you kill today?” Those post-JFK and pre-Watergate times were harsh and bitter as the nation was deeply divided over
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