As a decidedly amateur blogger I’ve developed a fairly long list of other bloggers I follow not only because I’m interested in what they have to say about the condition of the world at large and use them as my major source of information, but because I mange to learn something from each of them abut blogging in general and political blogging in particular.
Many of them I know from before I joined Twitter but I’ve also picked up a few good ones there and have benefited from the insights and opinions of a good number of folks who are concerned about most of the same things I am.
I follow mainly those blogs purporting to be liberal or progressive because I’ve been going through the the info wars with right wingers for almost 15 years now and I’m simply tired of trying to have a reasoned debate with people who look at simple disagreement with their position as an attempt to stifle their right to free speech and for whom empirical evidence in support of one’s position is and entirely foreign concept. (these types aren’t limited to members of the GOP as I’ve found out over the past few months).
I choose the people I follow on Twitter in the same manner. I have no desire to engage in 140 character pissing contests with right wing nut jobs and therefore tend to follow those who come down on the liberal or progressive side of most questions… or at least appear to… and it’s only been since I joined Twitter, I’ve learned for certain that the old adage about not being able to judge a book by its cover is a definite truism.
As I think do most left leaning Twitter newcomers, I at first tended to follow those whose rhetoric appeared to to be not so much liberal or progressive but simply anti-right wing and of course this meant the usual crowd of “lefties” with the largest number of followers to choose from for my followed list. That led to following for the most part, people who agreed with the particular philosophies of the “leaders” and eventually my list of people being followed became one including people that, had I taken the time to explore their actual stands on issues important to me a little more closely, I probably wouldn’t have followed in the first place.
I say this because I found that many of the “liberals” I was following were definitely NOT liberals and some of them would have trouble matching themselves up with whatever the accepted definition of “progressive” is this week. Just as I found people calling themselves liberal or progressive standing adamantly against… for example… changes to Social Security and/or Medicare as a means of “reducing the deficit”, I also found people calling themselves liberals and progressives who not only saw nothing wrong with paying George Bush’s debts on the backs of the elderly/disabled and poor but were actually stumping for it hard… as if they had a personal stake in the outcome.
The leaderof the main little groupie cult… at least on the list of people I had followed… espousing cuts to the safety net for people like me, was, in addition to being wholly in favor of screwing with the safety net, actively pushing the RW meme that since we didn’t win a super majority… or even a majority… in the house back in 2010, we had to give the Republicans whatever the hell they wanted and they wanted cuts to SS and MC therefore that’s what all GOOD little “lefties” should be wanting too.
And according to this pompous ass, it was the solemn duty of he and his.followers… as “enlightened voters”… to “educate” the rest of the dumbasses among Dem voters who didn’t look at it that way. He’s entitled to his opinion of himself of course but my own is that you can’t call out RWs for supporting cuts to the safety net and then support those same “adjustments” yourself, therefore during one of those logically exclusive actions, you’re being less than honest.
I’m firmly on record regarding my belief that anyone who actively promotes right wing positions and uses right wing rhetoric and two bit Tea Party talking points to do so is probably a right winger at best, no matter how many “angry” little tweets and chirpy little hashtags they… presumably in order to impress their groupies with their “leftiness”… direct at the right wing on a timeline that very few right wingers are likely to ever see anyway.
In my opinion, this guy’s basic goals are not to defeat the GOP and get this country out from under the heel of the ultra right and back on its feet but to persuade those on the left to adopt a more right wing stance… as he has obviously done… and help move the already centrist Democratic party even farther to the right. As neither a liberal or a conservative I have no real quarrel with the position actually but I think he should have the balls to say so outright.
The other example of a type I have decided to studiously avoid on Twitter is the “liberal” who plays to his little audience by beating up actual liberals and whose ass seems permanently glued to 2010 and the “failure” of many liberals to vote for a party and administration that had not supported a single one of their positions on anything during the preceding two years.
That is the sum total of this guy’s contributions to the left… slamming other people on the left. In his Twitter profile he lists himself as a “lib”… which is a term mainly used derisively by the right… AND a “pragmatic O bot”, two conditions that ought not to be able to coexist in a normal human brain. Mr. Obama is NOT a liberal. Whatever else you call him, liberal is not a term that describes him in any manner one might consider accurate. At best, he’s a centrist.
We have the normal distribution of positions along a straight line, end, middle other end or, referring to the political spectrum, left where the libs live, center occupied by the centrists and right which is the position staked out by the conservatives. If you consider yourself a pragmatic O bot, meaning that you’ve adopted Mr. Obama’s position in the center then you’ve positioned yourself in the center also. This pretty much precludes you being a “lib” because libs occupy the the left of the spectrum or line and it’s a universal law of physics that one object cannot be in two places at the same time. See how that works? And no, you are NOT some quantum particle so don’t even go there.
This particular Twitter dude and his toadies also use decidedly right wing tactics and terminology to attack the left from their position in the center and it would appear that while most of them pretend to abhor these tactics when carried out by Republicans, they have no qualms about using them on the actual liberals with whom they currently share a party.
If the liberals… or “emos” or “professional lefties” stay home again in 2014, it will largely be the fault of people like this pompous prick and his little band of sycophantic centrist Dems. If I were a Democrat… and especially if I were a LIBERAL Democrat… and every time I signed onto Twitter there was a stream of nasty RW style invective blaming me for every ill that has befallen the country and flat out telling me that nobody was going to give a rat’s ass about my opinions or concerns, and all I was good for was to come out every two years and support centrists whose interests were not my own and then slink back to my hovel and STFU until my vote was required again… hell, I might decide to say %&$! it and stay home too… and I haven’t missed a flipping election in 50 years.
None of this is anything new for the dude. He’s apparently been one of the most disliked and made fun of characters on the net since the early/mid 90s when he was a fixture flash in the pan on Usenet. Some guys just never learn. As I said not long ago on Twitter, he’s one of those self inflated assholes you wish you could buy for what he’s worth and sell for what he thinks he’s worth because you could retire the deficit with the proceeds.
Those are just the main two examples derived from my own list of followers/followees which are admittedly fairly limited in scope. I’m certain that among the millions of people on Twitter there are numerous other examples of “conservative liberals” and they are the ones these two guys have taught me to watch for and try to avoid. I no longer respond to app generated follows and when I do think I might like to follow someone, I now go to their profile page and read a screen or two of tweets to try and get an impression of their actual line of thought before automatically refollowing as I used to do.
I definitely avoid commercial private organizations seeking to assimilate me into some huge collective so they can make money. I generally stay away from “twibbons” and from any groups or cliques that claim to be the only true liberals or the only true progressives or any individual who thinks they get to define “proper” levels of liberalism for everyone else according solely to their own personal opinions.
I don’t like groups or cliques that allegedly have all the answers for defeating the right (if anyone did we wouldn’t BE in this mess in the first place). I hate straw man arguments, ad hominem attacks, condescension and I especially stay away from those who look at any form of dissension as personal attacks, either upon themselves, their heroes or their particular group. Sounds like a laundry list of RW traits, doesn’t it? Nope, sorry.
I don’t care how many followers I have or who unfollows me because I said their dog was ugly. I’m there to tweet what I think, not what the group or current guru of the week thinks I should think and if you’ve got an ugly dog or your particular emperor is riding around in his birthday suit I may just comment on it so deal with it.
What I do now is separate the issues into three categories based largely on how it affects people like myself… A) good, B) bad, C) get more info… and the category an issue lands in determines my position on it and I tweet or respond accordingly. No worries about what the group thinks or if someone is calling me a RW operative or a traitor to the left or an “attacker” or whatever. It’s made my life on Twitter so much more satisfying and simple. I’m actually beginning to like it there again.