Not long ago, I admitted to being a (gasp!) Republican on Facebook. I may have lost a few Facebook friends as a result. So be it.
For one former Facebook friend, though, the magnitude of my moral depravity was too much to bare. Unfollow and block for bigotry, misogyny, and all sorts of other assorted hate. In response, I did what anyone else might do–I told him he needed to work on reading comprehension when interpreting my post.
My response was the wrong thing to post.
We live in a political world teeming with Uncle Robs (if you don’t understand, click this link and watch a brilliant demented pyromaniac with a gasoline fixation).
The last thing we need is someone throwing a little more gasoline on the fire.
The simple fact is that most of the people who reacted, though they may have disagreed, did so with respect. It might’ve been tinged with a touch of anger here or there, but there was respect.
That respect is lacking when:
- A person running for Congress assaults a media member–regardless of what the media member may have said at the time.
- People show up conspicuously armed at political rallies. In general, you don’t need a scary-looking semi-automatic rifle to keep safe when protesting the candidate you don’t like.
- People was poetic about killing the opposition, finding a tree and a rope, or sending everyone they disagree with to another planet.
- Speakers of with a different political viewpoint are shouted down because the guardians of righteousness can’t allow them to speak.
- Anyone decides they are somehow subhman. There are hate-filled cretins all over the place, but to decide an entire group is somehow less than because of political differences is little more than intellectual and moral masturbation.
Most people, regardless of political stance, aren’t bent on genocide. They don’t want to starve your grandma to death and they don’t want to turn America into an intellectual police state where you can go to prison for simply referring to the Washington Redskins.
Most people want to get to the end of the day. They want to work hard and pay their bills, take care of their families, and have a little left over for some luxuries.
A lot of people gain money and power by helping us to forget what most people have in common. They do better when we look at what a few of them do, then generalize those actions so we can see the “real threat,” then consume more of the material that made us feel threatened in the first place.
I’ll never be a Democrat. I don’t believe in open borders, free abortion to all, or speech codes. I don’t think we’re worse off than ever when it comes to women’s right, minority rights, or gay rights. I’m not 100% certain that climate change is primarily caused by industry. I believe that Islamists are a clear danger to this country, but that the guy you work with who wears a turbin or hajib almost definitely isn’t. And I don’t think a 70-year-old woman who doesn’t want to share a bathroom with a person with male parts is a hateful bigot.
I’m increasingly not a Republican, either. I think Jesus can manage without us screaming about red coffee cups and what the person at Target says to you on Black Friday. I think consenting adults should be able to enter into contractual agreements about marriage without government interference. I believe that abortion will never be eliminated by making it illegal. And, increasingly, I believe that single-payer healthcare is a horrible solution–but it may be the least horrible option available to us.
According to the people who make the noise, those beliefs qualify me as a hate-filled misogynist Islamophobe who puts religion in front of science and wants to create The Handmaiden’s Tale in this country, while simulataneously hating Jesus and our Christian heritage, selling out to the damn gays, supporting baby murderers, and favoring socialism–maybe even communism.
Problem is, guys like me are the majority. There aren’t easy, checkbox solutions. It’s messy. The truth has many different shades and no matter what we do, people are going to get screwed.
Guys like me aren’t the problem. The guys who make us yell at each other are.