Big Dislike in America

“Everything done will be counted later
And everyone gets whatever they’re gauged –
All average people and their legislators
Who happen to live in the Big Dislike Age.”
A. Makarevich, Russian poet and composer (1999)

Image by MsSaraKelly, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I see that I was wrong to call my penultimate article “The union is rather weak than strong” . Now I think the article should have been called "There is no union in the United States”.
Once again the country was heavily divided in its attitude toward President Biden's trip to Ukraine and began to quarrel.

On February 20, 2023, President Biden visited Kyiv with an unannounced visit. It was President's Day in the US, a federal holiday. Mr. Biden met with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and walked through the city center while air-raid siren sounded, held a joint press conference with Mr. Zelenskiy at Mariinskyi Palace, promised another $500 million aid package, new set of sanctions before the end of the week and left the same day. This unexpected and secret visit has made a big splash in the world media.

Ukrainians were very happy to see the US president because the visit showed the determination of the West to support Ukraine in the war against Russians.

Putin and the rest of Russians had to swallow a bitter pill. The official Kremlin met the news with silence. Prominent pro-Kremlin journalist Sergei Mardan called Biden’s visit a “demonstrable humiliation of Russia.” Then Russians came to their senses and as always offered their own original view of the event, downplaying the significance of Mr. Biden’s trip to Ukraine.

Many US Republicans have condemned Biden's trip for putting Ukraine's interests ahead of America's ones, and yet having done that on the Presidents Day, and yet after an environmental disaster in Ohio. Some Republicans have gone even further in their stupidity and noticed that Mr. Zelenskiy was (as usual) without a tie at the meeting with the US president.

Democrats supported the visit, admired their president's courage (Kiev was within the range of Russian missiles) and explained to Republicans that if they oppose Mr. Biden’s trip, they are in favor of Mr. Putin.

Republicans are not afraid to let the genie of hatred out of the bottle.

Biden's trip caused a storm of emotions in the online space of the US. The country got clearly divided into two camps along party lines. The opinions on Twitter were polarized and, unfortunately, the hatred towards the president and the opponents could be heard.

Scandalous "star" of the Republican Party, Rep. Greene, was the first to use the word "hate”. She is the one who recently shouted “liar” during Mr. Biden's speech “State of the Union”. Now she has stooped to the following statement: “I cannot express how much Americans hate Joe Biden.” Well, this is an obvious lie simply because otherwise Mr. Biden would not have been elected president of America, but Mrs. Greene was not embarrassed by this fact and boldly passed off her opinion as the opinion of all Americans.

Why is she doing this? Apparently, she wants to draw attention to herself in order to make her way up the political ladder. It is possible to draw attention with something good, but it is hard and long process. Mrs. Greene does the opposite - lies, boors, and succeeds. She is a good student of Mr. Trump that is why she calls him «my president».

Several people replied to Mrs. Greene in the same way: “Pretty hard to express how much a lot of Americans hate you”, and I immediately remembered similar online quarrels in Ukraine and what they led to. They ignited a great hatred of Ukrainians to each other, and it all started the same way - with lies, hatred and boorishness of politicians.

Nevertheless, many of the replies to Mrs. Greene's hateful tweets were quite tolerable. The majority of Americans still differ much in manners from Mrs. Greene and her teacher Mr. Trump.

Yes, Rep. Greene is a boor. So the people who elected her maybe are the boors, too. Are the people who replied to her in the same way boors also? I don't think so. They're just really outraged by her boorish attacks. And that's where we fall into the trap that Ukrainians have lived in for years. After all, somebody can say that Rep. Greene is probably also very outraged by some of the president's actions, and that the people who responded to her in the same way are boors, too. Yes, that's exactly how it looks like. The trap for the decent people is that in democracy everyone can say anything with no need to prove their words.

Decent people don't want to boor back in discussions, but then they seem they're losing. To win decent person needs to be rude also, but then they become the boors, too. Over time, everyone gets used to boor each other, and there are no more arguments, but just scandals, and it's not the truth that can be born here, but hatred.

Hatred is very bad for a country. It exists in the US for some time between politicians, and there is already hatred between citizens: the percentage of Americans who strongly dislike the opposition party has gone up by about 400% in just the last two decades.
I have a very good sense of the emotional atmosphere in any society and watched the development of hatred in Ukraine for a long time.

A little bit of theory about the hatred.

Any society of people (family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, co-citizens) actually is a set of relationships which are always emotional. Nature of liking/dislike (love/hatred) is emotional, too. The graph is a damped sinusoid.

Big Dislike in America
Image by author

Liking (love) grows in a wave-like motion over time from emotional zero to the top point (maximal love) and drops back to zero as annoyance with the spouse/friend/boss/president accumulates, then it crosses the time axis, becomes dislike (hatred) and continues down to the bottom point (the active anger phase, ready to move into action). Then dislike/hatred decreases back to emotional zero because time has passed and the irritant, which created the emotional wave left the field of vision. Remember “out of sight, out of mind”?

If the irritant keeps being in the field of vision, the entire sinusoid goes into negative emotion (hatred) soon, the amplitude of the wave increases and its length decreases which compresses the wave in time. Thus, the process goes faster and the time to the peak of manifestation of hatred outward (the phase of active anger) decreases, too. If you manage to release the hatred into words or actions (e.g., telling your opponent everything you wanted or starting a fight), you get a sharp reset of emotions to zero (an unemotional state). If you win an argument or a fight, the sinusoid goes back to positive emotions and so on all the time.

We are in a society (family is also a society) most of the time, so we are constantly riding emotional waves.

The annoyance that turns liking into dislike usually arises as a reaction to some limitations in time or space. For example, if a child emerges into a family, the parents have almost no time for themselves. If one of the parents is not prepared for this, the annoyance with the child or the spouse comes, and the matter often ends with divorce. Imagine you are placed in the room with several other people. There will be scandals and quarrels after a while because everyone needs a sufficient personal space (and personal time).

In addition, the essence of any relationship is the exchange of energy, so annoyance also occurs in the case of an unequal exchange of energy. For example, annoyance with a neighbor who did not invite you to a birthday party while you invited him to yours before. The annoyance with the government occurs, in particular, when the citizens feel that they work more, but can afford less.

Big Dislike is growing in America.

Any US government tells to Americans the story about Republican/Democrat intrigues, corruption, inflation, now about the coronavirus, that disrupted the supply chains all over the world … However, time goes on, the country's economic problems worsen, Americans become poorer while the elite grow richer and pretend that everything is going to be all right soon. By the way, President Biden said that the impoverishment of America's middle class has continued “for decades, the middle class has been hollowed out, and more than — and no one administration, but for a long time”. Thus, it started long before the pandemic, so the inflation because of the shortages of goods has nothing to do with it.

Hidden inflation devalues money, so the Americans need to work harder to maintain the same standard of living. However, many people's wages have not kept up with rising prices, and they have to limit themselves in food, travel, vacations, housing... The government has one recipe here – we need to work more and better. The government itself, strictly speaking, does not work in the sense of creating the material goods. It just distributes what is created by the people, and does that obviously poorly. This is an unequal exchange of energy. It accumulates the annoyance in people, which eventually turns into hatred and anger.

Think about the analogy: two brothers - the owners of a company - spend more than they earn, constantly quarrel, give contradictory instructions to employees which obviously are confused and also begin to argue, the business gives less income, customers leave, costs increase, the owners take loans, pay lower wages and explain everything by machinations of competitors, bad market conditions, pandemic, inflation, high taxes, etc. It’s better to leave such a business because it will not live long.

Any energy can create and destroy. For example, the energy of hatred of Mr. Putin, in particular, keeps the high morale of Ukrainians in their war with Russia, but Ukrainians at least are clear about who the enemy is and what to do about it. But how can Americans deal with the elusive corruption or the coronavirus? And the energy of hatred grows, spills out on fellow citizens and thus destroys the unity of the American nation. The two major parties regularly blame everything on the opponent and the country is already divided into "blue" and "red" states.

It must be said that former President Trump helped much the energy of hatred to develop and take root in hearts and minds of the Americans. He sowed the seeds of lies about the "stolen election," which manifested itself by the attempted coup d'état on January 6, 2020. It's been over 2 years since then, but Mr. Trump still hasn't been convicted and probably won't be.

The absence of big financial problems and basic civility of Americans (including members of the elite) are still a barrier to the development of Big Dislike in the United States, but financial problems are increasing, and civility is a thin coat of the last hundred years on many thousand years layer of wars and violence in the history of our civilization.

Tolerance as an element and sign of civility - to other races, nations, religions, customs, opinions, sexual orientations, tastes - has finally entered into life and legislation in so called “developed countries” during approximately last 100 years while nothing of the kind exists in the most of the world. The level of intolerance in the US is increasing throughout the territory - cases of active confrontation between the people and the authorities (police) due to the misconduct of both police officers and (less frequently) citizens are becoming more frequent. But there are also purely mundane examples of longstanding annoyance. For example, when Spirit Airlines cancelled 9 flights in Fort Lauderdale in May 2017 and gathered about 500 people in a small terminal, a wave of intolerance instantly rose and spilled over into a fight of the passengers with airline employees and even women fought with the arrived police.

How Big Dislike blossomed in Ukraine.

In independent Ukraine, people supported different political forces (the main ones were 3-4) which over time began to hate each other and constantly quarrel. People also began to hate each other and quarrel. Any political dispute aimed not to search for a truth, but was based on emotions. There were constant fights at the rallies, many of them were specially organized by political opponents. The police received contradictory instructions from various political forces and tried not to intervene. Close friends stopped communicating, there were scandals in families (even divorces!), hatred was simply felt in the streets and transportation, and many people stopped discussing political topics at all. Various insulting nicknames became commonplace, the media spread them (and often invented them) across the country, and Ukraine was heavily divided, I think, by 2006 into several camps that hated each other. The political opponents began to call each other "vatnik" (it is a thick, short worker's jacket, usually worn by villagers), and then simply "vata" (wadding in English), meaning stupid, opinionated, and guided person. In the end, almost the whole country became a collection of different kinds of "wadding”. When I pointed out this fact to the Ukrainians in my few comments, they called me "wadding" too, without even considering what I was saying. This is what Mr. Trump encourages in his followers.

Therefore, the Ukrainian state was later split into several political camps, greatly weakened, and became an easy prey for the Russians in 2014, having lost a part of its territory. And the same weakness, I'm sure, is what prompted Mr. Putin to start a full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. However, he was unlucky. All the accumulated hatred of Ukrainians against each other over the years has now spilled out onto him and everything Russian.

What to do with Big Dislike in the US?

How do we deal with liars and boors who sow hatred among the Americans? There are several options.

1. Sue them for lying and defamation. It will work if democracy and justice really exist in the US.

2. If that does not work, then the country is not democratic and fair. Justice and democracy can be restored by other, authoritarian methods which can solve many problems and, in particular, remove the hatred in society, but I think that America is not ready for this yet. Both the people of the US and politicians perceive authoritarianism as something "bad," even though it is just another way of organizing life in a country that humanity has lived with for thousands of years. In addition, changing the Constitution would require consensus of both major parties, which is lacking on less important issues.

3. If nothing works at all and everything is unclear – it is possible to educate Americans and show them where the problems of the US come from, but to do this you must 1) understand everything correctly yourself and 2) make your way to minds of the Americans with your vision among probably millions of alike “experts". This is what I am trying to do in my articles with no success so far. My wife thinks this is my fixed idea, but still feeds me.

4. So the simplest outcome is the most probable one: nobody is able to change something in the country, so we shall keep living in the disUnited States of America without seeing the roots of basic problems until the country divides into separate states which is not a disaster since all the infrastructure of each state is ready and working.
That's why I keep writing about the inevitable collapse. I just don't see any other way out for the country.

Everything done (and undone) will be counted later
And everyone gets whatever they’re gauged –
All average people and their legislators
Who happen to live in the Big Dislike Age.


P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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