It’s been a long couple of years now, and let’s face it: we’ve got a right to feel worn out. It’s been exhausting, a roller-coaster ride of war and politics and ambition and guile. We’ve been lied to, cheated, insulted, and abused, and if you’re anything at all like me, you’re pretty sick of it.
The thing is, we’re tired of it — tired of all of it. We’re tired of sound bytes and memes masquerading as facts, of a long recession masquerading as an economic recovery, of politics masquerading as government.
Eight years ago, Obama had just been elected. In social media, we were subjected to an endless stream of fringe-group hate. “Where’s the birth certificate?” was a common theme; you remember it, and we don’t have to go back. The good news was, so very much of the hate against him was concealed; a lot of folks were careful on the subject because they didn’t want to be accused of racism.
Today, we’re bombarded by memes about an orange troll as president, and learned articles and finely-crafted comic strips about how all Republicans are evil. To be fair, they’re funny — but they’re not spread in a spirit of fun. It’s virulent hate, and it isn’t helping.
Half of my readers just went away. Which is fine; I’m aiming this at the half that still thinks.
Listen up: Most Republicans aren’t evil fascist plutocrats. You know this. Likewise, most Democrats aren’t brainless feel-machines who crave the authority of a bloated and corrupt Federal nanny-government. Some of each are, of course, but then again, some people juggle geese.
“But isn’t it evil to deny people healthcare? Isn’t it evil to discriminate against LGBT(QAI+)? These people from the red states–” Yeah, I know. I’ve heard it. And yes, denying people healthcare is wrong. But you’re listening to the advertising again. That’s not a plank in the Republican party platform any more than it is in the Democrat. Most Republicans don’t hate the differently gendered any more than most Democrats hate white people.
Except, if we keep on the way we are going, that’s going to change — and, in truth, that process has already begun.
Hate becomes acceptable because it’s commonplace. There was a time within living memory when people were forced to use separate drinking fountains due to the color of their skin — and it wasn’t even thought about by most Americans because it’s just the way things were. World War II Germany and the Soviets killed tens of millions of their own people because they were different.
Think about that last one. It’s not because their difference made them a real threat, or because Germans are evil people, or because there were great material benefits from the practice; no. It’s because their difference isolated them, and they were made to appear to the general population to be somehow less than human. They were killed because their neighbors didn’t mind so much, and kinda wanted it to happen. Their neighbors weren’t evil, not particularly; they were just people.
People who had been deluded by propaganda and posters, by false science and carefully constructed media messages, by speeches and radio shows and by learned articles in newspapers. People who had become used to the hate, inured to it through long exposure, and eventually people who had been born and raised in a climate of intolerance and hate and fear and superiority. People like us.
I’m not going to draw you a picture here. If you can’t see the parallel, stop and look again. Look carefully.
My friends, it’s time to stop spreading this crap around. All we’re doing is hurting each other, and by extension ourselves. And, when you get a chance, take a stand against hate. A word of warning, though: Don’t get all self-righteous about it; that defeats the purpose, you ignorant little shits. I hate you all.
…No. Wait. That’s wrong.