Social Media and Politics in a Hurricane of Stupidity

Readers:

Don’t let the word count scare you. This is a fun one so grab some coffee and settle in!

Dear Robin:

I’m finding this election season unbearable.  I’ve found myself raging against people on social media over two specific issues:

Donald Trump and Planned Parenthood.

I have been shocked that some people I know support Trump and are rabidly anti-Planned Parenthood.  Their ignorance has made me question communicating with them at all.  

But that’s not my question, my question is how to handle “fights” on social media over delicate political matters?

Chris

(Yes, it’s a re-run. I have a good reason which I’ll explain later this week.  Quit bitching, please!)

Dear Chris:

Since we are friends on Facebook, I’ve watched you argue these issues valiantly. Nice work, but I’m going to give you some shocking news:

You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.

I’m pleased to answer your question because this morning I find myself arguing with a woman named Molly who advocates the elimination of Planned Parenthood and believes that abstinence is the most viable solution to unwanted pregnancies and abortion.

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Robin’s Latest Facebook Fight: The Planned Parenthood Baby Fetal Bits Controversy

Here’s how it went:

(Original post by Jack)

The Republicans are going to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood? Too funny. It’s a suicide attempt — a cry for help. Hey, they’re big boys. Let them do what they think they have to do.

Robin:

Brilliant Republicans! Shut down an avenue to affordable birth control because, um, that will stop abortion? It’s a race to the bottom lately and the right is celebrating the stupidity of the electorate.

Molly:

Or maybe it has to do with the overwhelming opinion of the US citizenry that the PP practice of profiting by dismembering babies for body parts can not be encouraged in any way, such as by subsidizing any part of the organization with tax dollars.

Robin:

That is simply not true. The fact you wrote those words and believe them is an astonishing example of how expertly the antichoice contingent can spin facts into fiction. Do you agree that birth control equals less abortion?

Molly:

Yes. And birth control can be obtained through many channels other than PP.

Robin: 

Without health insurance? Affordable BC? Such as where? (here I displayed a crushing lack of knowledge regarding the Affordable Care Act, but in my defense, I’m really hungry and tired right now not to mention I would bet a whole bunch of dollars that Molly hates the ACA and refers to it as “Obummercare.”)

Molly:

Condoms are available at any grocery store. Low cost BC pills are available through Fm and Walmart pharmacies. Abstinence is free.

Robin:

And how does one obtain a prescription for the BC? Are you aware condoms have a higher failure rate than prescription BC? As for abstinence: good luck with that theory.

Molly:

Abstinence works every time it’s practiced.

Robin:

Thanks for doing two things with one sentence: making me laugh and avoiding my question.

And later…

Robin:

PP is a nonprofit that provides critical services to both men and women. Nobody is getting rich selling fetal tissue which by the way, is for medical research.

Or would you rather that fetus serve no purpose to anyone? At least some good may come from the tissue donation. Or are you against medical research? Thank goodness for this thread. The blog is live-writing itself this morning.

Molly:

Robin, medical research is wonderful! But ethics must play a role. Even Josef Mengele conducted ‘useful’ medical research.

Robin:

Comparing Planned Parenthood to the Nazis, and it’s not even noon yet. Well played.

Moving right along…

Donald Trump and the Proudly Stupid Electorate

And then there’s Donald Trump. I can feel my blood pressure rising already, but here we go:

Donald Trump is a fucking moron.  He is also an irredeemable xenophobic asshole, a first-rate misogynist, a coward, a bully, a braggart, and completely lacking introspection or an accurate perception of who he really is.* 

Trump speaks at a third-grade level and sucks at his favorite form of communication: insults.  Read about that here:

If You Can’t Do it Right, Just Don’t.

Worse still, his sense of decor is atrocious.

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The fact he is polling so well has me convinced that the end of the world is nigh and that the Republican party has gone well and completely off the rails.  

I’m not exaggerating – this Trump situation gets me so fired up that I have been known to elevate my voice to embarrassing levels in restaurants when discussing this piece of human garbage (sorry about that, Mr. Patience and Understanding.  Next time I’ll use my indoor voice).

I do not have the time to explain all the reasons why Trump signifies the end of days, but if you have time today before the Republican debate check out these quotes that actually came from the man himself:

Donald Trump: Why I Wish His Mom Had Considered Blowing His Dad Instead or Seeking a Back-Alley Abortion.

As for Facebook and Trump, I made a joke once on my friend Mark’s page that I’d rather have dinner with el Chapo than The Donald.  

I made that joke in response to this photo he posted:

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Behold your typical Trump fan:

Robin:

I’d rather have el Chapo for dinner than the Hairpiece holder.

BJ:

That’s why people know liberals are idiots, Robin. That you would prefer to eat dinner with a known killer than someone who wants the best for America. I hope you get your wish. Because you’ll be dead after dinner.

Mark:

A little harsh don’t you think? 

(At this point BJ repeatedly called me stupid as well as other names and alleged over and over again that I actually wanted to have dinner with el Chapo.  Upon reflection, I’ve decided that I’d rather do that than spend one moment in the company of either Trump or BJ, but that is neither here nor there. Finally, I’d had enough.)

Robin:

BJ, I love your name because you are tough to swallow. Go sell crazy someplace else; we’re all stocked up here.

Happy, well-adjusted normal people do not behave the way you do. Look into hormone replacement therapy, personal fulfillment and a challenging fitness program to help you, because as for life? You’re doing it wrong.

BJ: 

So normal, well behave (sic) people call other people by names, hurl insults and say they like to eat dinner with know (sic) killers and drug cartel bosses. Yep, you’re a liberal. And this conversation is over because it’s impossible to have an intelligent conversation with someone who thinks and speaks as you.

That is the typical social media bully/coward/troll approach:

  1. Troll insults another person’s perspective over and over again with ad hominem attacks, usually replete with the most basic of spelling, grammatical, and factual errors.
  2. When that person eventually capitulates and responds in kind, troll accuses their target of exactly what they themselves are guilty of.
  3. When faced with a superior intellectual foe, trolls run away. Obviously, this happens to me all the time.

Ah, but BJ wasn’t finished with me yet.  

I stopped responding to her bizarre posts, even after she put all of this on her own Facebook page and conveniently left out all the odd detritus she spewed on Mark’s page.  

She asked her friends to go after me and go after me they did, as I was repeatedly labeled “stupid,” “ugly,” “worthless,” “communist,” and worst of all, a “Hillary Clinton supporter.”

One person even said my head was too big, which really hurt because that may be the one part of my body towards which I’ve never directed my world-class brand of self-loathing! 

I inquired with several people who disagreed with that person’s analysis of my head-to-rest-of-body-ratio-appropriateness, but please feel free to weigh in with a comment.

Like the typical troll, BJ will not be ignored!

It’s Private Message Time with BJ!

And thus came the next level of fun.

BJ:

Keep up the name calling. All your friends are sending me links. Your lack of research is only surpasses (sic) by your lack of intelligence.

Robin:

You amuse me.

BJ:

You need a life. Enjoy your dinner with a killer.

Robin:

You still amuse me. Thanks for that.

BJ:

Go tell your 166 Twitter followers. Bwahahaha

(I’ll admit, that one stung.  My Twitterverse is lonely so please take a moment to follow me now by clicking here: Follow me, because nobody else does. 🙁)

Robin:

“Your lack of research is only surpasses…” My goodness you are an angry woman.

BJ:

Not angry. Just a lot smarter than you and tired of people who don’t think before they say something.

Robin:

I want to thank you for all the material. Truly.

BJ:

Your (sic) welcome. I know you’re (got it right that time!) incapable of anything worth reading, after that lovely statement about wanting to go to dinner with a mass murderer.

See what’s happening here?  I gave her five opportunities to go away without stooping to her level.  

And then I did. I’m not proud of it.

Robin:

Your sense of humor was lost with your gym card, c&%*. Ugly. Old. Tired. Boring. Stupid. Afraid. Witless.

BJ:

Nice. Be sure to print (sic) that on your Twitter feed. Thanks for proving my point that insults are your only weapons.

Robin:

Lol you started it. Remember, Einstein? You have nothing to say about anything and why are you sending me messages? That’s weird.

BJ:

No, you did with your absurd statement (my joke about el Chapo). Next time think before you write and no one will come back at you.

Robin:

You are a real free speech advocate I see. Hilarious.

BJ:

Because I wanted to see how many more names you can think of to call me. My friends don’t need this ugliness.

Robin:

Lol. Again, who started this? You are a successful woman who does this and then complains? Who posts about me on her page and then complains? And initiates this private chat? Get a clue.

BJ:

I wanted my friends to see what you said.

Robin:

But not what you said. Convenient. And still you keep sending me messages. Weird

BJ:

Done now. Have a nice evening.

Robin:

Run away, coward.

BJ:

More names. Good.

Robin:

Again, who started it? You. The hypocrite coward. So surprising you worship Trump. You are both buffoons.

BJ:

More names. Impressive. I’ll give you a few minutes to get a Thesaurus (sic, no capital T required you dumb-ass) so you can find a few more.

Robin:

And still you keep sending me messages. You must be lonely. That last affair your husband had was tough on you. Yeah, your friends reached out to me, too.

BJ:

Wow. You’re sweet.
(Chat Conversation End.  Think I hit a nerve?)
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Jesus Christ on a Cheeto®, Robin, when are you going to advise this person?

Chris, don’t let the arguments of the day distract you from what is important or take away whatever pleasure you derive from social media.  More important, do not allow yourself to be dragged down to a level so low as I did in that exchange.

This is a lesson I have to teach myself all the time so please do as I say and not as I am prone to do every now and again. I’m working on me, but it’s a marathon; not a sprint.

My advice to you is to do what I did this morning when I made a donation to Planned Parenthood in Molly’s name:

Don’t get mad – get busy!

In other words (because today’s blog just isn’t long enough already), limit how much time you spend trying to bring others who will not be swayed around to your side.  

Instead, do something meaningful that promotes your political or social positions.  Volunteer.  Donate.  Spread the word.

Finally, I don’t think I could be friends with anyone who thinks Donald Trump is suitable to lead this country, so I support your decision to jettison those folks if you wish.  

Fuck ’em.

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Don’t forget folks: If you like this, share this!

Help me get more followers on Twitter so BJ loses the one bullet in her pistol.

*Portland readers with experience in the divorce realm: who does this Trump description remind you of?  Comment if it sounds familiar.