We’ve all been there.
Circa 2012: You’re just going about your life when you realize that a close friend or relative is a bit of an idiot. You’d be scrolling along, checking your feed and Boom! turns out your old poker buddy believes in Bigfoot. It was more funny than anything else. It used to be Super-Market Tabloid type stuff that would just make you roll your eyes.
But somewhere along the lines, a very smart political party realized that they could use this new phenomenon to make people really angry, and really afraid, and then even angrier. This strategy didn’t just work, it was the political equivalent of having invented the computer, the printing press and the electric light all at once.
This incredible new use of technology was bolstered by how Social Media gives the appearance that the loudest voices are representative of the population, when they are not even close to being so.
I’ve never been so frustrated. As someone privileged enough to have received a higher education, I was trained to think that you could overcome any problem by thinking it through, discussing it, and then coming up with a plan.
But how do you address or work to correct a problem that you can’t even talk about?
First of all, you can’t articulate that there even is a problem without implying that you know better than about half the population, and that you are entirely correct, and that they are brainwashed morons. So to address this problem is to begin by saying: I am a megalomaniac and possibly a crazily biased narcissist, so please listen to me and change your mind and tell your friends to change theirs.
So let’s say, just for example, that although I’d rather not even talk about politics, there is a certain group of people who have become very influential and prominent despite representing very few real people, and despite being both wrong and stupid. And let’s say that I want to speak about these issues with anyone who doesn’t already agree with me. I’m just a regular, not very political guy. I normally don’t really give a shit about any party because I think they’re all fucking liars, and that the whole process is bullshit.
But let’s say maybe I’m just fucking sick of all these garbage assholes getting attention for their horrible views, which in turn indoctrinates other easily susceptible idiots into believing the same thing also.
What could I do? Call a right-wing radio station and start a fight? Troll some losers online? Call up and bully my one right-wing friend? Drop a few rage-tweets?
Let’s say I wanted to honestly engage with a real person who didn’t already believe what I believed. How would that even work? I tried recently with the guys who came over to install my air conditioner, and I could barely keep up with their barrage of false equivalencies and references to things I’d never heard of because I don’t pay attention to the fringe media.
It is impossible, even as a well-informed, rhetorically gifted, charismatic genius, to counter ad hominin attacks, true-seeming nonsense, accusations of bias, and outright rage. Used to be you could just ignore these people, but the internet has loosed them upon us like a plague. They’ve gotten to my friend Marc, they’ve ruined my air conditioner installer and his helper, they’ve made my Aunt Kathy into the family pariah.
Eventually, they will prevent us from having a functioning democracy. They are the dupes of the string-pullers who are making record profits and forestalling the demographic shift that was supposed to occur when white Boomers were not the predominant voting block. They are stooges for people who use, and hate them.
And even if I could talk about it:
- All public rebuttals are just performative porn for that person’s followers, or maybe even your own
- Reasonable people generally don’t engage in online arguments anyways.
- Engaging just adds to the hate and fuels it.
Your views – backed by science, a lifetime of education and reading – are dismissed as just being the product of the very brainwashing you think a certain segment of our society of being a victim of. It’s “I know you are but what am I” for adults.
So how do you solve a problem you can’t talk about? How do you solve a problem like Maria?
Do you just jerk off with people who already agree with you? Add to the hate and division? Stop being friends with people whose ignorance functions in a similar manner to racism, sexism and other forms of hate? How do we combat misinformation when one half of a two-party system has fully embraced the ignorant as the key to their election chances?
The people who threw rocks at the Prime Minister disgust me. But I don’t even care about the rock throwing though, it’s their views that make me want to fucking puke. They are misinformed, ignorant and they are embarrassing themselves.
I would guess that the majority of those rock throwing idiots voted Conservative in the recent election. Since I can’t talk to the people causing the problems, I speak now to the people who are going to vote for the same party, and by doing so, give the worst among us a voice in how we run our country: don’t do it.
And I also speak to the people who don’t care about politics: If you don’t do something soon, you’re just going to let your kids grow up in a world where people long for the dignity and measured hand of Donald Trump Sr.
Humanity, Dignity, Country above Party.
But then again, I’m just a brainwashed liberal who is bought and sold by the mainstream media.