Politically Bankrupt

Dear subhuman filth,

I know you’re probably too busy fornicating with your toothless inbred sister to read this, and your unkempt diaper-strewn trailer likely isn’t compatible with such technological advancements such as the internet, but we need to talk, provided you’re even capable of understanding English sentences that don’t include phrases such as “Y’all” or “Hold my beer!”, you hopelessly ignorant Redneck. Stop beating your pitbull with your fourth extra copy of the Holy Bible for one goddamn second, and listen here.

It’s your fault we’re stuck with this incomprehensibly idiotic, corrupt, rapist, Nazi, buffoon of a president. While you’re busy sodomizing hapless men in the woods and telling them to “squeal like a pig, boy!”, Donald Trump is personally, literally, doing the same to our country. While you slack-jawed country yokels chug bathtub moonshine out of chipped mason jars that still contain the remnants of last night’s “good eatin’”, Trump is visiting each country and urinating on our reputation. And every time you contemptuous reprobates “saddle on up” to the crusty old outhouse across the dirt yard from the dilapidated shanty you drunkenly refer to as your trailer’s attached garage, Trump sells your worthless support to the highest bidder that happens along and wants to help screw the country into the ground.

It’s thanks to you, and your bible-thumping, white privileged, racist, Nazi, homophobic, science denying, flat Earth, misogynist, traditional bullshit beliefs, that a man who is literally Hitler is now in the process of transforming the United States into a Fascist dictatorship. Everything you are, have been, or ever will be, is an affront to all that is Good in the world, and your mere existence is a pox upon the taint of Humanity. Jesus Tapdancing Christ, how it’s possible you have enough functioning brain matter to remember how to breath is a mystery even the greatest minds could never solve. Please do the entire planet a favor, and go die in a fire, preferably by igniting that questionable slurry of chemicals you and your buddies pour into that lake in your back yard and chuckle at the “purdy colors”.

Sincerely yours,

The Sane Half of the Country

It’s incredibly sad this appears to be the level of discourse we’ve sunk to. Regardless of how I personally feel about Trump, who is quite likely the most incompetent and self-serving person to ever hold the office, the amount of hyperbole surrounding his administration is staggering. What’s worse, the indignant zeal, the sheer vehemence directed toward those who voted for him, is nothing short of appalling. Here’s a partial collection of headlines from a quick Google search on the topic:

Not only is this incredibly divisive, it’s promoting a narrative of one-sided moral superiority. And the character assassination doesn’t just stop at Trump or his voters. Dave Rubin is a married gay man, and has been called everything from alt-right to a Nazi. Milo Yiannopoulos, while an admitted provocateur, is also married to a black man and somehow apparently a racist Nazi. Jordan Peterson is a prolific clinical psychologist, and also an alt-right Nazi. The amount of articles denigrating the character of these people is as vitriolic as it is confusing. Carl Benjamin, perhaps better known as Sargon of Akkad, is a traditional liberal who has also been tarred by the same increasingly wide brush. And while Christina Hoff Sommers is what many may consider an “old school” Feminist, she too is a misogynist Nazi. Even Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student who made the mistake of using a video featuring Jordan Peterson, is now an alt-right super-Nazi.

It’s become quite evident that social norms are beginning to consider the fundamental Liberal concepts of Free Speech and Democracy, as passé, or possibly even tools of oppression.

Like the disdain for anyone who would dare to vote for Trump, these articles either directly advocate the position, or paint an illustration of a turning tide: Free Speech enables Hate Speech, which is used by Nazis, ergo, it must be dismantled. What is bewildering to me, is how short-sighted and ham-fisted such a result would be. What starts out as apparently reasonable limits on Hate Speech now, will become arbitrary directives barring opposing political discourse in the future. Assuming Trump is the epitome of evil, imagine him with the power to declare the act of criticizing his administration as Hate Speech. That’s the kind of world we would eventually have; no social norm is perpetual, and the pendulum of opinion will forever swing from one extreme to another.

That’s how far the extremism has gone. The very bedrock of freedom in the United States, and those who happen to disagree with the Democratic party enough to vote for the opposition, are now indicative of White Supremacy and tantamount to the worst atrocities in the history of the world. In what is essentially Coke vs. Pepsi tribalism inherent to the Human species, the only thing we’ve learned is to further de-humanize those whose opinions are not our own.

What particularly saddens me most about this, is that the side which presumably stood for logic, science, and reason, is now perpetuating some of the coarsest assertions. We all remember the bilge Rush Limbaugh and his ilk regularly pumped out, with all their talk of Lib-tards. That the discourse of The Left would stoop to that level, and even in some cases burrow even further into the bedrock, serves mainly to suggest an enemy is fair game. In reality this is hardly surprising, as multiple decades of studies suggest othering is what enables a human being to trick, harm, or destroy another person. It’s the solution to cognitive dissonance against the act of harming a member of the tribe. Someone who isn’t considered human is fair game.

So the fact that these labels: Alt-Right, Nazi, and White Supremacist, are all being willfully applied to even factually inaccurate targets, isn’t that startling. It’s much easier to hurl insults at someone who’s barely human, or not even worthy of that designation. You can punch a Nazi, so if someone disagrees with you, and you want to punch them, they must ergo be a Nazi. Demand they be fired. Confound their business prospects. Ensure they live in a gutter, if they even survive at all. They deserve it, after all. None of this is really new.

What I dislike most of all however, is the hypocrisy. The current moral busybodies on the Left are no different from the Christian Right that plagued the 80’s and 90’s. They’re just as myopic, just as indignant, and just as willing to unilaterally impose their worldview under the guise of moral righteousness. And they’re just as reprehensible. The people who voted for Trump are human beings, many with families and concerns that diverge from the narrative. They’re not a mass of grunting troglodytes that interchangeably oppress women and lynch minorities. Yes, “even they” have largely moved beyond that in the interceding decades. But the continuous and divisive rhetoric may reverse that trend. “If everything I do is racist, well I guess I’m racist, then.” In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.

Do I disagree with them? Absolutely. Will I treat them as human trash unworthy to even lick my chamber pot? Launch a moral crusade against them when they regurgitate something on Twitter that makes me roll my eyes? Castigate them at every possible opportunity simply to signal how virtuous I am? No. I’ll tell them I believe they’re wrong, and why. I’ll be a decent human being and take a reasonable approach that used to be considered an honorable tactic. Why spend so much energy on hate? What’s even the point?

Asserting someone is evil only serves to galvanize them against you, and you’ve gained nothing. Alternatively, a black man can convince hundreds of people to quit the KKK by simply being himself. How would that scenario have played out if he took a purely adversarial approach, I wonder? Did people really forget the old adage “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar” so soon? Is the mad scramble for views, clicks, and smug superiority, so enamoring that it’s worth tearing apart the brief flirtation we’ve had with equality and acceptance?

I’d like to think it isn’t, but there’s a reason I often refer to myself as a misanthrope. Despite the progress we’ve made, we’re still animals, prone to our baser instincts and reactions. I purport that we’re largely not equipped for this brave new world of instantaneous communication and self-reinforcing filter bubbles that imply our own opinions are the majority in spite of reality. In a world absent of truly Free Speech, there’s nothing left to challenge incorrect assumptions, nobody around to remind you that another whole half of the world exists that thinks you’re wrong. Without being confronted regularly by intellectual diversity, it’s easy to consider opposing viewpoints as aberrant, offensive, or even evil. And things which are evil must be destroyed.

I don’t like where that’s going. I don’t like that it’s regularly accepted and even encouraged. We’re better than that, if we want to be. The trouble is, we must actively resist the temptation to consider ourselves above reproach, and that’s a rapidly diminishing resource. It’s much easier to turn those efforts outwards than accept our own fallibility, especially when everything and everyone in our purview says we’re right. I don’t like this world we’re making in our own image, and see no easy way to stop the momentum.

I just wish people would be civil. I don’t mean hugs, unicorns, and rainbows. Just to refrain from the tactics of othering, assigning blame, and character assassination. We can move forward, if only we’d bother to try.