This is a tricky time of year / life for me, what with the political stuff going on. I have to watch my energy to make sure I don’t get overwhelmed and bent out of shape. When that happens, I tend to lose sleep. And that’s never good. A tired brain is a less-than-optimal brain. And I am a less-than-optimal person.
The atmosphere is so electrified on all sides, these days, and human folly is on full display — along with a healthy dose of dismay and trepidation about what could happen if so-and-so gets into office. Jeez Louise! I can’t remember things ever being this polarized to such an extreme extent. Even the moderate folks seem polarized to me. I’d love to sit back and watch from a distance, just observing it all, but that’s a tall order, when — as we are constantly reminded — So Much Is At Stake.
I can think of a hundred common-sense things to remind people of, that I think would put things in perspective. But that’s assuming that people want to have perspective. They don’t want to learn, they don’t want to change. They want to win — as though that will solve all our ills. Seems, these days, like everybody just wants to mark their territory and go after anyone who encroaches on it. And while all the different sides are accusing the others of being “fascists”, it seems as though the tone of every single side dances close to that line.
Fascism is not demanding that people adhere to any particular sort of message — be it “liberal” or “conservative”. Fascism is demanding that people adhere to ONE message and ONE Message Only — be it left, right, middle, or wherever. Requiring that others agree with you or be subject to ridicule, dismissal, or attack — my my book, that’s every bit as fascist as what took over Germany and spread through Europe back in the 1930s.
When we cease to allow others the right to disagree and think/feel differently than ourselves, that to me is fascism.
When we stop listening to what others think and feel — other than as a way to prove them wrong or prove that we’re right (which isn’t listening at all) — that’s the way fascism takes hold and strengthens itself.
When we dehumanize others who disagree with us, calling them names and telling them to “swallow a knife” or “die in a house fire”, because they are on “the other side” of our ideology, that has all the hallmarks of fascism.
When we go on the offensive and taunt and mock and demean the human beings who don’t agree with us, and turn out to elect those who promise to pass laws to block their freedoms, because they appear to threaten us with their differing opinions and ways of life… how is that not fascism?
And nobody has the market cornered on that. Not Trump, not Sanders, not anyone in between. Every single political camp seems to have that virulent divisiveness down to a science. It’s part and parcel of their messages.
Every nook and cranny of social media has that going on. Except maybe Twitter — I can read plenty of things there that are not algorithmically aligned with any certain ideology. I can just follow diverse individuals and see what they have to say, without being flooded with suggestions about other things that may interest me. That’s why I’ve traded Facebook for Twitter. Facebook especially is so balkanized, so narrowly targeted to people’s ideological echo chambers, I fail to see how any revolution or progress could ever take place there.
Millennials, take note. Facebook cannot free you. But it can keep your mind and spirit tied to an ideological/political millstone that’s sinking into the muck of narrow-minded prejudice, bigotry, and hate.
For a healthy community, you need diversity. And Facebook is antithetical to diversity. If anything, its driving principle is helping (even encouraging) people to separate into “social” silos organized around only what they think — not what they may wish to consider in addition to their own biases and assumptions.
Facebook is dangerous, in that way. It’s also depressing. Which is why I don’t spend much time there, anymore.
Plus, if I really spoke my mind there, honestly voicing the full spectrum of my beliefs, I’d be pillaried, pelted with rotten vegetables, then pulled out and drawn and quartered in the center of the virtual town, as the pitch-fork wielding villagers poured tar on my bloody, oozing remains and lit them on fire, dancing madly under the orange glow of sodium lights.
It’s so emotional!
Anyway, that’s my little freedom rant for today.
I think I’ll go to the pool early and have a nice long swim before I head to the office.
Gotta work out this energy in a positive, productive way.