Disclaimer: The Worm’s Eye View is not written in order to garner sympathy or troll for concern for my “plight”. As far as that goes, I am far better off than millions of others and could probably just get along fine if we could freeze the situation today and stop people from making it worse. I have a roof over my head and something to eat every day (knock on wood). At his point I can still afford the copays on the numerous meds they’re using to keep me alive. I finally have a decent primary physician after five years of a public health clinic doctor who damned near killed me over the course of the four years I was under his care and I’m finally getting medical care again. This isn’t the case for far too many like me who have less than I do but still face same the specter I do, that of having what little they have taken from them by radically right wing politicians in both the Republican AND Democratic parties.
I took a step today… a step that I should have taken more than two and a half years ago when President Obama was elected because I knew that eventually it would come to this. I knew that the volcano of bitter hatred that had simmered just beneath the surface for the past fifty years was way overdue for an eruption and I knew that the election of our first black president… or had Hillary gotten the nomination and won, our first woman president… was all it was going to take to create an explosion of hate, racism, sexism and just downright unfocused bigotry that would rival any explosion in history, man-made or natural.
Well, obviously I wasn’t wrong, was I? The veritable shitstorm of hate for Mr. Obama… NOT Obama the politician, NOT Obama the candidate but for Obama the man himself… didn’t even wait for him to be nominated and only doubled down when he did, finally reaching a deafening crescendo on election day, 2008, which has not only not abated abated in the slightest but has actually increased in intensity as we wind down this election cycle. Which brings me to the actual subject or subjects of today’s rant, which for want of a better (or shorter) title I’ll refer to as “Can Liberty Survive In A Country With Hatred And Bigotry As The Foundation Of Its Political System“?.
Part of the fallout from all this is that I’ve decided to suspend my Facebook account which has, for all practical purposes, been my only contact with my family and old friends for the past several years.
“Oh wow!”, I can hear some of you saying, “What’s the big deal about removing yourself from Facebook?”. The big deal about leaving Facebook is that I’m housebound by various physical and health problems. I don’t drive anymore because of blackouts, I can’t get more than 25 feet from my O2 Concentrator or my nebulizer, have had several heart attacks, the most recent being this past February and because my knees, hips and two of my lower vertebrae are basically masses of gravel from decades of working on my feet, most of it on terrain and under circumstances that wise people know to avoid.
Facebook was my contact point with members of a far flung family and with people I love and care about but haven’t seen in 30 years or more and will almost surely never see again, virtually my ONLY contact with these people.
But this really isn’t about Facebook. It’s about people who have to make their views known in just as nasty, hateful and disrespectful a manner as possible in order to “shoot down” opposing viewpoints or heap scorn and disrespect on others for nothing other than failure to follow the established line. I know how it works. When I put my mind to it, I can be as nasty and hateful as anyone else and actually used to be known for my sarcastic wit… well OK, for the sarcastic part anyway, if not the wit. I’ve launched my share of broadsides at people on my right AND on my left although I have to admit there’s been far more launched at the right this past couple of years because they are the ones who have decided that it’s more important to get a single man out of the White House than it is to govern the country.
But I try to back those broadsides up with at least a few facts and figures or at least links TO those facts and figures that actually support what I’m saying. In other words, I strive to avoid the purely emotional or visceral response to any situation. Do I always succeed? Hell no because I’m just a simple human being, not a god (or someone who claims to speak for one), but I think I succeed to the point that I can claim it as my standard MOS and at least I try to provide some means by which to verify what it is I’m actually saying.
Now the basic “conservative” equation appears to revolve around a few simple rules that state a) that a liberal is pathologically incapable of telling the truth and b) that anyone who deviates from the line set down by Fox News pundits and Rush Limbaugh is indeed a a liberal and therefore a pathological liar… and also c) that said liberals are nothing but whiny little crybabies that only need to do some boot strap yanking and man up like their more “conservative” brethren have.
What this means to me is that in the opinion of most of the people in the “new” conservative movement, anyone who attempts to remain outside the collective or in any way deviate from the Limbaugh Manifesto, is either a liar, a crybaby or both. Since, I happen to be a person who thinks Limbaugh is nothing but a poisonous venom spewing sweathog and who wants to remain as fast as possible from any form of assimilation and has therefore actively shunned the collective, it becomes obvious that I would therefore be adjudged a “Liberal” by it’s leading lights.
I’m not a person who takes being called a liar and a crybaby lightly, no matter how cute the little ways you find to do it. I don’t like it when someone does it to my face (even though it’s far more honest when you do it that way) and I don’t like it when you do it in a cutesy little Facebook post and then come back with “Oh, it’s only humor” when I question whether or not there is any empirical evidence to support your opinion. Call me thin skinned, accuse me of getting “butt hurt” but don’t assign me to a category and then post nasty snide remarks about that category and expect me not to react to it.
Others may live in a period when the person(s) offering the offense gets to define offensiveness, the bigot gets to define bigotry and the racists get to define racism and so on. Others may live in a world where rude, nasty, snide attacks, quite often consisting of assaults on one’s patriotism and love for his or her country are leveled routinely at entire groups of people for the heinous crime of simply not believing the “right” thing.
I don’t. I try very hard not to lump people together into little groups so I can insult or demonize them collectively because it’s so much easier to hate groups or categories of people than it is to look the object of your hate or anger in the eye and express it to his/her face. Again, I don’t always succeed. There are times when in the course of responding to something I deem sufficiently egregious I will definitely respond in exactly that manner but you have never seen me hang something insulting… something deliberately designed to provoke a response… and then go all “Well, you just have to blah blah blah…” when the response has been provoked.
The last thing I glean from it… that’s kind of disconnected, actually… is that I don’t belong in today’s information world where simply checking someone’s Facebook status now and again is pretty much the limit to which most of us seem willing to go to maintain a relationship with someone, be it family or old and dear friends. It’s cold and it’s impersonal and in the bigger view it makes it too damned easy to do our group hating thing without having to deal personally with the hurt (or “butthurt” as the case may be) we might be serving up to others.
When you use a shotgun approach and make huge sweeping generalizations such as all “liberals” are this or that… especially when you’ve spent years establishing that a liberal is basically anyone not just like you… you tend to hit all kinds of people that… given that very few Conservatives these days even know what actual definition of Liberalism is… may not be your actual targets.