[CW: I’m cursing today.]
This post comes from a place of anger. I need to say that up front, because I suspect that anyone who reads this as a political conservative will be tempted to read my words as whiny or “snowflake-ish.” I’m not whining; I’m angry.
The reason I’m angry is because I’m tired of seeing things pop up in my social media that remind me that conservatives who voted for Forty-Five did it because they wanted to say “fuck you” to liberals and leftists. They saw us grow increasingly dismayed that their chosen candidate is a flaming pile of shit of a human being, and they embraced this aesthetic because they saw that it made us angry.
Congratulations, you made us angry. Now we’re dealing with an administration that is only tolerable in terms of its incompetence (this tolerability will only go so far; the first real crisis that drops into Forty-Five’s lap is going to cost a lot of lives wherever it happens to be located on the map, and it will be due almost entirely to the administration’s utter disregard for the necessity of actual expertise with regard to anything). The proposed budget will slash a multitude of cost effective domestic programs that don’t cost the taxpayer much money at all (I am happy to let my taxes pay to feed children and the elderly, thank you), and even though it’s unlikely to pass as-is through Congress, the sentiment of the administration is clear: fuck all you lefty liberal snowflakes and your brown people too (because of course, the only people who qualify as people in the conservative sociopath’s mind are white people, you God-damned, racist asswipes); we’d rather shit on ourselves as long as it spites you.
I should back up slightly.
My Facebook feed is very much in the “blue feed” category. I used to allow political stuff from my more conservative family and friends to pass through, and I’d even occasionally engage with those things, but I don’t do that anymore. It’s become clear to me that for many of these people politics is not a subject that you discuss with the intention of expanding your horizons. It’s about engaging in resentment Olympics, and I reached a point where I was just over that bullshit. It was gradual, but I eventually got my feed weeded out pretty well so that the only things coming from that side of my network are just innocuous stuff such as family pictures and the like. Very occasionally something nasty slips through, and I mark it as content I don’t want to see and move on. That happened today, and while I wanted to just move on, it started to eat at me. At the moment I’m mostly feeling pissed at the pettiness of conservatives; this is not a thing that really needs fixing. Given some time, the worst feelings will pass and I’ll go back to just trying to ignore stupid conservative shit in favor of focusing on trying to do practical things to make my communities better. Outrage isn’t productive, and as I’m trying to point out here, it actually feeds into the sociopathic behavior of conservatives.
Let’s talk a little about what I mean when I call conservative behavior sociopathic (having completed my rant, I now feel able to think more dispassionately about this topic). First, take a few minutes to read this essay by Aaron Loeb (for folks who just don’t click through when it’s recommended, Loeb likens the split between conservatives and liberals in America to a divorce that has turned ugly without one side realizing it). He articulates the frustration I’ve been feeling rather eloquently, and nicely sums up the realization I’m having that many conservatives I know are only in it to hurt people on the left.
It’s important to remember that when we discuss sociopathy, we’re not discussing an actual classification of mental illness; the term is sort of a catch-all for behavior that’s recognized as antisocial in nature (this is antisocial in the clinical sense that a person’s behavior is directly antagonistic toward social norms, not the more colloquial sense that a person is rejecting socialization as a way of spending their free time; that’s more correctly described as being asocial). You don’t receive a diagnosis of sociopathy, so I want to emphasize that I am not equating conservative ill will with a mental disorder. People with mental health needs don’t need to be dragged through the mud to point out what shitheads conservatives are being.
I call the behavior of conservatives sociopathic because they’re acting in a way that is literally pathological to our social fabric. They’re reveling in being trolls because they get a high off of seeing liberals and leftists gnash their teeth at the injustice of Forty-Five’s policies. What’s being overlooked is the fact that liberal anguish is rooted in the actual suffering of real people. We get pissed about Forty-Five’s proposed policies because he’s being reckless and vindictive towards people who see through his bullshit. We’re angry because there are consequences to these actions, and what we hear from conservatives is that they just don’t give a damn.
Look, the purpose of politics, as messy a business as it is, is to try to suss out how to make our communities operate better. This is hard, emotionally trying work. You frequently have to deal with people who have a different vision of what “better” means and negotiate some sort of compromise between those visions. It’s not a fun prospect, but it’s necessary. What I’m seeing from conservatives is an abdication of that fundamental purpose in favor of making politics a team sport where you cheer for your side and rub it in the face of your opponents when they lose. The consequences have been completely divorced from the action in their minds, and in that environment they’ve chosen to treat the whole endeavor like pure entertainment.
I’m over all that. Conservatives who do this shit can go fuck themselves.