KingMidget's Ramblings

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Why Do I Bother?

Over at the right-wing blog I read regularly, there have been a number of posts about the Dallas police shootings.  I’ve skimmed the comments and tried to refrain from chiming in.  I figured I’d let them all have their primal scream.  But this comment got to me:

“a motorist shot an officer three times as the officer walked back to his car during a traffic stop.”

To you animals in Obama’s half of America…that will most certainly make cops less skittish during routine traffic stops. Do you want the police to act more civilized? Then clean up your rotten, uncivilized culture. You can’t have a civilized police force when your culture is corrupt as well as feral.

I responded with this:

And this is the kind of guilt by association, massive over-generalization and fingerpointing that is one of the reasons why we are such a divided country. It exists on both the right and the left and until it ends, we might as well give up. In your world, everybody who supports Obama is an animal. Everybody who supports Obama is either a part of or supports a “rotten, uncivilized culture.” Making these kinds of statements makes it impossible to even begin to have a conversation. Why bother? You’ve already prejudged me — which is entirely consistent with your entire comment pattern here on PL.

The guy who made the initial comment regularly accuses me of wanting men to be in bathrooms with little girls and other nefarious things because I’m a liberal.  His comments usually are completely off-topic.  And oddly enough, based on nothing I’ve never said.  For instance the bathroom comment — I’ve never stated a position on the whole transgender bathroom issue because I don’t know what my position is.  And yet, I’m tarred with what he thinks is an outrage.

His response to my comment above was this:

It’s certainly not my half of America that’s encouraged a culture to dumb itself down and become more violent.

Why bother, if you’re never to take responsibility for your votes. Just look at you, more angry at me than the garbage of your half of America now shooting cops for sport. There is a divide. The civilized half of America vs the not so civilized half.

To which I responded:

Odd, I don’t remember ever encouraging anybody to dumb itself down or become more violent. In fact, both of those concepts are anathema to everything I stand for. Odd also that you believe I’m angrier at you than at people who are shooting cops. You have absolutely no idea how I responded to the events of last night. Odd also that you suggest “my” half of America is now shooting cops for sport. One idiot at a protest at which hundreds, if not thousands, participated peacefully shot some cops and you have half of America shooting cops. Yes, there were a couple more incidents today. All of which are abhorrent and evil. But you’re still fundamentally wrong in your outrageous statements that tar “half of America” with the evils of a few idiots and madmen. Otherwise, you’re responsible for the idiot who shot up Planned Parenthood and the idiot who shot up the church in Charleston.

As I said … apparently, this is the one thing we can agree on … there is a divide. The divide is caused by the true believers on both sides who are completely unwilling to acknowledge any validity to the opinions of those with different perspectives. And you’re one of the people who engage in that — prejudging anybody and everybody who doesn’t toe your line. It makes it absolutely impossible to try to cross the divide. You sir are a prime example of the biggest reason for the divide.

During the course of the comments volleying back and forth on this thread and another on the same post, I was trying to get some acknowledgement of the point I made in my post last night.  That there seems to be an unbridgeable divide that exists between the true believers of both sides who refuse to acknowledge any possibility that the other side may have some valid points.  There seems to be a lack of interest in finding the middle ground.  And this is what that got me, as other commenters, including the original commenter chimed in:

You are the problem. You are the one that attempts to create moral equivalency. Yes, there is passion on both sides of an issue but there is only one truth.

And this:

I tell you what – you clean up your side and get off your high horse. Your ilk has called us racists, sexist homophobes who joyfully push granny off the cliff for decades. And your side exists solely for power. Clean up your side then you can have the moral authority to preach to us. Otherwise your side gets what it gives. Perhaps we’ll even “bring a gun to a knife fight.”

And this:

But to your broader point regarding civility, give it a rest. In my experience it is only liberals who talk about finding common ground, not because they are interested in common ground but because it gives the illusion of open-mindedness. And since liberals love to view themselves as thoughtful and insightful, that illusion is all that matters.
In addition, liberals have no idea how demeaning our culture in general is to conservatives. Because your political positions tend to be default feel good positions- Save the Planet, Eracism, world peace, etc- it is easy for you and those who don’t think too hard about politics to assume that your opponents are stupid and evil – pro-war, anti- poor, etc. And since your feel good positions make you feel good about your basic humanity, you would never entertain the notion that your self-righteous smugness is nauseating. (It is.)
So keep looking for that middle ground you don’t really want to find, and keep imagining that you occupy the higher moral ground. Keep coming here and lecturing us about how unwashed we poor fools are. It’s what you liberals do best, and it is at least moderately entertaining.

The interesting thing about this comment is that when I bring this up I always, always make sure to say that it is a problem that exists on both sides, both liberal and conservative, right and left.  I never claim, nor do I believe, that this is a problem that exists only on the right.  I hang out on a couple of liberal blogs and the closed-mindedness there is just as bad.

And this:

Get off your moral pedestal. I think that in general Obama supporters are ignorant. You demonstrate that here with every post. I live and work amongst your type. I have no interest in “discussing” anything with you. Your posing as open minded is laughable. That you seem to think I (and other commenters here) want to be seen as open minded is downright hilarious. I despise what you stand for, though I certainly would defend your right to express your insipidity. I guess I just hope you understand that conservatives see through your BS even when you can’t.

And this:

if not the garbage that is your President, who’s rhetoric is whipping up cop assaults/killings all over the country than who? Other than you Obama voters who have enabled all this through your ignorance, corruption, and malice.

I asked for any evidence that Obama has encouraged assaults on cops.  He couldn’t do it.

And this:

Save us your selective self righteous claptrap. Obama had the option like Lincoln to take the moral High ground. Instead he chose to wallow in the sewer of his divisive agenda. He ratifies barbarism. I would that Martin Luther King could be president right now and provide the words that this miscreant refuses to. I have nothing but contempt for you, who justify his careless and indeed deliberate divisive tactics.

And this:

No sir, you are a member of the plausible deniability class. Pure ostrich. Anything to avoid facing what is obvious. You want to parse words and relitigate every argument, anything to occupy space to keep the truth out of your mushy little brain. At best you are a wishful thinker, at worst you’re a cowardly ideologue, who gives quarter to miscreants and tyrants and prolongs their inevitable demise, but not before they wreak havoc and cause innocents to lose their lives. Anything to maintain your self-righteous posturing as the Arbiter between two extreme positions. I spit you out of my mouth. There is no middle between Good and Evil. Only the weak and addlebrained.

I’ve probably gone on too long with this.  The truth is that if I had tried this kind of dialogue on a left-wing blog, the same thing would have happened.  And there lies the rub.  Those of us in the vast, mushy middle need to raise our voices.  We need to drown out the noise of the extremes.  They are destroying this country, and many others, with their extreme views and their true belief in their opinions and their causes.







17 responses to “Why Do I Bother?

  1. Don July 9, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    My old friend, you are correct in that you will never convince anyone there to grasp reason and rationale, or know the difference. For me, the only reason to troll those sites is the same reason I answer those fraud-filled calls telling me they’re from Microsoft, and they need access to my PC: schadenfreude. I must confess I sometimes derive a perverse pleasure from wasting the time of scam artists while they think they’re getting some idiot to let them gain access to their PC. On the right, you have the collection of boneheads you engaged, the neo-nazis that attempted a rally at the capitol, etc. And on the left, look at the anarchists who caused the ruckus “responding” to the attempted neo-nazi rally at the capitol. Just enjoy the provocation, because there will be no reasoning with the unreasonable, left or right.

  2. Pamela Beckford July 9, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    The only way things will ever change is…oh, never mind, I don’t think they will change. I blame the Internet and social media for some of it though. Everybody talks about love and kindness but few actually demonstrate it. I’m sickened by the divide. I’m old enough to remember when we could disagree and still get along. As my grandmother always said, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

    • kingmidget July 9, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I agree about the internet and social media … it has fed this never-ending loop of insanity. And it’s only getting worse. It’s amazing how I can have good conversations about these things in person with people who have different views, but on the internet? Not a chance.

  3. S.K. Nicholls July 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I was on Twitter and clicked on the most popular trending hashtag. #WhitePrivilegeMeans It was absolutely disgusting to read the divisiveness there in 140 character quips. It appeared that the majority of gravitars were young people. That makes me even sadder than thinking about us old fogies who have become set in our ways d/t indoctrination of our youth and experiences.

    • kingmidget July 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      I just saw some of that too. While I appreciate the sentiment, it ends up just contributing to the divide. I’d love to see people start posting things that recognize the value in others rather than continuing to scream “look at me.”

      • S.K. Nicholls July 9, 2016 at 5:45 pm

        At seven years old, my mother trusted the world enough to have us march with her in peaceful civil rights demonstrations. I would not even begin to think about taking my six year old granddaughter to such in today’s world. Where the hell are we going?

      • kingmidget July 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        Down the rabbit hole.

  4. Amy Reese July 9, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    it’s worse than I thought. I don’t spend a lot of time discussing the divide. I think it will make me too upset and depressed. The question I have is do people want to make things better? Do they want solutions? Some of the solutions I’ve heard make no sense and could be really damaging for this country. I haven’t panicked yet, but I worry about my kids now. Things seem out of control.

    • kingmidget July 10, 2016 at 7:14 am

      I think that’s the point of my post … there are segments that aren’t interested in solutions. They just want to continue to rage. It’s far easier to do that than to sit down and talk.

  5. Sreejit Poole July 9, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I only once went to this kind of blog. I read through the comments, but I knew that they wouldn’t be interested in hearing from me. And it’s true, we are just living in different worlds. Minimally we have to accept the sincerity of the other person. The problem is that when talk show hosts and politicians are free to blatantly say whatever they want, for ratings, or votes, and knowingly say things that they themselves don’t even believe, and people are not able to see through it, then it is just feeding the mass illusions. You can hear people parroting their news sources on both sides. The best would be if people learned to think for themselves, but still what we consider real is so different for each person. We are all putting our faith in someone or something and it is all different whether it is the pastor or priest, the scientist, or politician, or civil rights leader. If the leaders are not committed to respecting each other, than the followers certainly won’t be. Such a sad state.

    • kingmidget July 10, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Yes … the lack of respect goes from the top down and back up again. People wonder how we got to a place where Trump is going to be one of the nominees for the Presidency. And my response is that you just need to look at the comments on blogs to understand why. The level of political discourse has deteriorated dramatically in the internet age.

  6. Kevin Brennan July 10, 2016 at 8:37 am

    You’re made of sturdier cloth than I am, man! I don’t know how you have the patience to read, much less comment on, the stuff on those right wing sites.

    That said, I do bristle a bit when you say “it’s the same on both sides.” I haven’t done the deep research you have, but my impression is that extremity on the right is exponentially more fanatical. To compare the two is to give some pretty wild ideas a coating of legitimacy.

    Are there a-holes on the left? You bet. Do people on the left get rowdy in comments and gang up on a righty who popped in to troll? Of course. But in general, you have to admit that the rhetoric on the left is like an episode of The Smurfs compared to what’s being said on Red State.

    • kingmidget July 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

      I read a number of left wing blogs as well. The attitude in the comments there is no better.

      • Kevin Brennan July 10, 2016 at 10:29 am

        Well, comments are one thing, but I’m talking about the nature of the ideas.

        What’s one of the lefty blogs you read, so I can see what’s being said there?

      • kingmidget July 10, 2016 at 11:53 am

        Mother Jones. In particularly, Kevin Drum’s blog there. TalkingPointsMemo. And DailyKos. There is very little willingness to listen, consider other ideas, or treat the “other side” as human beings. I have tried once or twice to engage in the same manner on leftie blogs and get the same reaction.

      • kingmidget July 10, 2016 at 11:53 am

        I can’t argue with the dangerous of some of the ideas expressed by the right wing. But I can also see the stupidity in many of the ideas expressed by the left wing.

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