Friday, November 4, 2016

Thanks, Election 2016, now EVERYONE is Hitler

Election 2016, with less muscular men.


Okay, this is the presidential campaign post. Or, more accurately, "Stop being jerks about the presidential campaign" post. So let's talk about how people have been behaving regarding this election.

Here's a picture that aptly demonstrates exactly what I'm talking about.

Yes, I whited out her name and Twitter handle, because this is a frigging classy blog

This attitude right here is why we're in the state we're in. Look, we're all going to disagree on somethings. We're also all going to have those idiots that genuinely think our candidates are the BEST CANDIDATES EVAR, which is a bit concerning, but never mind.
My point is that this attitude is destroying us from the inside. We live in a culture of outrage. Anything that can be construed as offensive will be construed as offensive, either by someone deliberately taking advantage of the situation to make themselves look better, or because they are so wrapped up in what they've heard about people that disagree with them that they genuinely think they are doing what's right. Those are the scariest. Fanatics behaving irrationally because they think they're right are the ones that can cause the most damage, because they can't conceive that they are wrong.

That's the other problem here, No one can possibly think they could be wrong about any little thing. And look, there's a difference between "I'm pretty sure I'm right on this" and "NO I REFUSE TO LISTEN TO ANYTHING THAT MIGHT MAKE ME HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT I'M SAYING BECAUSE I'M RIGHT BECAUSE YOU'RE ALL JERKS AND I'M NOT". Yes, big difference.

This election has brought out the worst in people. Trump supporters think he's just "telling it like it is" despite the fact that he totally thought the exact opposite of a lot of things before he decided to run for president. Clinton supporters think that Trump is one bad day away from blowing up the world, while Hillary is sunshine and roses and has never done anything awful ever.
The problem with both sides is that they are blatantly ignoring all the truly awful things both candidates have done and continue to do. Trump supporters pass off his sickening comments about married women as "locker room talk", and sure, some men do talk like that, but if they jumped off a cliff should Trump do it too? No, don't answer that, let's not get into that right now. Point being, just because a lot of people do something doesn't mean it's right. Argumentum ad populum is still a logical fallacy. Also, Trump is pretty much a textbook narcissist. I took one year of psychology and even I can recognize that.

Clinton supporters, meanwhile, have suddenly decided that Wikileaks, who was their bestest best friend that ever bestest with them, is an evil puppet in the employ of Donald Trump and/or Vladimir Putin, whoever is playing Hitler in their minds that day. Clinton wasn't found guilty about sharing classified information, so that means she's not guilty! They happily ignore the totally coincidental meeting with Loretta Lynch and Clinton's own lies during the debate about the matter. Every time a new piece of evidence arises to show that no, Hillary Clinton isn't the pure, disinterested leader we want, they cry conspiracy.

All this leads to the problem we see now. Both sides are at each other's throats. They have so convinced themselves that their candidate is the only one that will save us from Doomsday (no, not that one) that the other side looks like the most heinous, selfish, awful people you will ever meet. Our friend Laura up there uses the word du jour, "privilege". It's a good word. It means that you can immediately dismiss whatever your opponent says by insisting that they can't understand other people. Sympathy and empathy are part of humanity, and by mentally casting your opponent as someone who can't feel these things, you diminish their humanity and thus make it easier to dismiss anything they have to say. You justify it by saying you are making the world safe for those without that privilege, and you come off looking like an angel of light.

On the other side, you have people casting their motives as speakers of the TRUTH (Truthiness?). Rather than engage in the sophistry and subtle repression of the their opponents, they insist that they are the truly rational ones, and as such they have the responsibility to insist on their version of the truth, loudly, at any time they feel appropriate, which is basically all the time. And with both sides, if you even venture a partial disagreement with anything, they are ready to cast you into the political outer darkness, where they think there's weeping and gnashing of teeth, but where there's really just a lot of very confused people who decide to just move on with their lives and shut up.
And there's the problem. These behaviors are leading to an echo chamber. By telling anyone who disagrees with you to simply be quiet and agree, you are damning yourself to delusion. It is impossible to be 100% right, and if you surround yourself with sycophants, you will never improve, you will never learn. 

Honestly, I think part of this problem comes from social media. It is such a part of our lives now that we view everything through its lens, and that's something I'm trying not to do. When we see the crazy neckbeard shouting "GO TORMP BEAT THOSE $^$#%#y$#ETHNICSLURS#@%#$%#@" on Twitter it's easy to connect that to the multitude of kind people who thought long and hard about the election and decided on Trump for reasons unconnected to racism and treat them with the same contempt as Neckbeard McNeckbeardy. Similarly, we see people like Laura up there, or the whiny college student who discovered that real life is hard, and connect it to normal people who spent time making their decision for reasons unconnected to FREE STUFF. Add to the fact that news outlets deliberately frame things to be as outrageous and eye-catching as possible, and we have a perfect storm of assumptions that lead us alienating ourselves from other people.

All this to say, vote for who you want, but regardless of the outcome, take time to see the humanity even in people you disagree with. And not in the Brexity "oh, you poor uneducated fool, I feel bad for your stupidity" kind of way. See the reasoning and sympathetic human being you are talking to, not a walking stereotype. Maybe we can start repairing this mess.


  1. Okay, so I didn't vote for Trump [Constitution Party ftw!]. But I did find the Twitter meltdown last night hilarious. I stayed up until 1:30 watching everything unfold.

    It was clear that most people have no idea how the government works. People were attributing to the Trump powers that even our most statist executive leaders throughout the years would never have considered. Someone mentioned that with the House, Senate, and Presidency, Republicans now control all three branches of the government. So it's been pretty funny.

    Also the best tweet I saw all night was
    ELECTION 2016: RISE OF THE GREAT PUMPKIN #election #linus

    1. Ha, that is the best!

      Yes, if you look at people's reactions, they seem to think that they're one bad day away from being put into concentration camps, and everyone voted for Trump because they hate everyone who isn't a non-disabled WASP, or something. They have a complete disconnect to other people. *sigh*

      Well, we have a pumpkin, and we have to live with it.