Time for a Talk

white ceramic cup
Photo by Saif Selim on Pexels.com

Time for a chat. Pour a cup o’ coffee and get comfortable.

I am sure that underdeveloped critical thinking skills come into play as far as a root cause for today’s topic, at least to some degree for some people. To tell the truth, I am absolutely certain that the culture of instant gratification comes into play as well. Throw in a large number of people who are accustomed to having their road leveled and paved before they ever set out, and there is trouble brewing. On top of all of that, add in too many people who have been conditioned to believe that their opinion is a moral imperative, and things look pretty bleak. I don’t think it is too late to change course, but it is going to depend entirely on people wanting to change course. I am not entirely sure that certain people want that.

I am not preaching doom and gloom. And I want to make it clear, I think that most people are not interested in taking that step into physical violence. But I do see a lot of people offering justifications for violence, and making threat displays. I see people making calls for other people to commit violence for them, while they hide behind security and use the distance tool of social media. I think many people are just waiting for the other side to blink. But, the worst sign I see is the knee-jerk reaction people have of defending anything done by the extremists on their side of the divide. Bad habit.

I see violence coming. I’m not talking about active shooters. I’m not talking about barfights. I’m talking about some bad actors pushing extreme narratives and lies in such a way that people start acting on emotion instead of logic, and things will go bad for both sides of the divide in this country. I am talking about blood in the streets, and more people will die. Those in the news media who stoke the fires will remain unharmed, as will the politicians who sit on their ample haunches turning the spit. They will be safely ensconced behind armed security. This is why they do not care, and it is precisely why you should care enough to set aside politics for a minute.

You are being manipulated through an emotional sleight of hand so subtle that you don’t even see it happening. Regardless of your news source and chosen side of the political divide, it is happening. Too many people are biting hook, line, and sinker. Your emotions are being toyed with to keep you in a constant state of agitation. Such a state cannot be maintained for long without you taking damage, both mentally and physically. You are being told to be outraged about everything, and you are falling into a narrative that everyone you know is either a nazi or a communist. Some of you might have a neighbor or a friend who actually is a nazi or a communist, but for the most part, I think that the narrative is false. The Country really is nearly half Democrat and nearly half Republican, with the ever-changing independent voters putting one side or the other into power. But I would guess that most people don’t even know a real nazi or communist. Hence, it might be a good idea to stop using those labels so casually.

When you name-call half of the country thinking you that are clever you will generate a few social media likes, but you are walking into the trap.

Here is a heartfelt message from an old man:

No one has ever changed a person’s political views through insults.

Not once, ever. When you are insulting people who hold an opposing political viewpoint, you are doing it to get the approval of your herd. You might not realize that this is the case, but you are just trying to score points with your own tribe. Social media has exacerbated this flaw in our minds. Please don’t be this insecure.

For the record, I am directing this at both sides. Too many people are falling for this tribal mindset. When an American Democrat is calling for the blood of an American Republican, or vice versa, this is a macro display of the posturing that self-defense instructors speak of in a micro version regarding personal safety. When you get all red-faced and screamy over political BS, you are not changing minds and hearts, you are showing the other side that they are correct in all of their assumptions about your side. Drink some sweet tea and sit a spell.

Think of the most ignorant, redneck, hillbilly, sister-loving backwoods hick that you can imagine. That is what Democrats see you as when you use the term Libtard. Now, think of the most snowflakey, crying in the street because their chosen candidate didn’t win an election and now they need a safe-space with soft jazz, coloring books and pictures of puppies, and that is how Republicans see you when you call them nazis.

Nevermind the fact that ten minutes before you used either term, they probably thought of you as…I don’t know…maybe just a person.

We have reached a strange place in our history where people are ending friendships over political views. And think about this point, please. Those asshat politicians in Washington could not care less about any of us. Yet you are willing to end a friendship and stop speaking to family members over what those same politicians tell you to think?

Human nature being what it is, like is repaid with like. Violence does not typically go unanswered. Threats of violence typically lead to violence. Do you want to spill blood for those politicians who would not share a glass of water with you if you were on fire? Really? Are you okay if it is your blood being spilled? Because if you truly are willing to shed the blood of another, you need to know that it often goes both ways. Personally, I’m all for peace, love, and bacon for everyone. Until you try to hurt my family, then all bets are off.

Do you see what I just did? I casually gave myself an excuse to be violent. Make no mistake, if someone is trying to hurt my Family, I will put them in the dirt, but what I am trying to point out is this is what is bothering me about what I see happening. People are excusing their own violent behavior because they think they are right and the other side is wrong. They are taking opinions and treating them as life or death. This is dangerous ground. Look at the crazies on your side of the aisle. Do you really want to defend some of the garbage they are throwing at the other side in your name? If you choose to defend the extremists on your side, then own it. But you will lose the ability to defend yourself when you are labeled by the other side.

You don’t change minds with insults, you only harden positions and battlelines. Try reminding yourself that these people with different political opinions are your friends and neighbors. Speak to them in those terms. If you find a deep difference in political views, focus on the friendship and the things that made you friends in the first place. And see if this makes a difference; the right answers for the nation are not going to be right because they are Republican or Democrat. The right answer is right because it is right, and only because it is right. That is the answer we should all be looking for anyway.

Take a deep breath, remind yourself that all shall be well. Once people remember that we are in this together, things will get a lot better. Those of us who are still sane need to do our part to tone down the rhetoric, reel in the weirdos on our side of the debate and smack some sense into them. They will never shut up on the advice of the other side, maybe they will listen to you. Until then, stay sharp, keep your eyes open, look for the good in everyone, but be ready in case things go sideways.