The George Bush chimp meme set off the meme wars, if only because he was president when Facebook took off in a big way. As soon as Obama was elected the Right–especially the Tea Party–went nuts with their own vicious memes. And now with Trump we return the favor. And it’ll keep happening because each side holds the other side to rules that they themselves do not abide by. Which is nothing new, the pamphlets and newspapers in the 18th and 19th century were incredibly offensive and insulting and just as low brow as anything you see on your iPhone today. And both sides back then raged the same way we are all raging now, mortally offended by what the other side posts and finding all sorts of excuses for posting their own. Calls for censorship abounded, like they abound now, though the First Amendment prevented that for the most part. Now, though, with Facebook and Twitter essentially privatizing communication in ways that Ronald Reagan never imagined, wholesale censorship is possible in social media because the internet is somehow not considered to exist in the same heady constitutional air as the airwaves. Funny seeing the conservative stance on the internet suddenly condemned by outraged conservatives bewildered by the First Amendment. And funny too watching progressives defend social media as privately owned and free from those First Amendment restrictions. Meanwhile memes are fading, replaced by furious bursts of words. Not particularly intelligent words, necessarily, but words nonetheless. We’re getting oddly literate in the Age of Trump, even as Trump himself can barely tweet a coherent sentence.
His approval rating is down to 35%, while 43% want impeachment proceedings to begin. He responds by turning more and more to his base, that 35%. I suspect he believes that the reason the 43% is bigger than his 35% is because it’s composed in large part of Californians and illegal aliens, seriously, he probably thinks that, and that there are more voters and real Americans in his base than not. These polls are MSM lies, fake news, he says, or FAKE NEWS!!!! It’s obvious following his tweets that he gets nearly all of his news from Drudge and Breitbart and their ilk, and that is his reality, and these poll numbers mean nothing. His tweets and policies and appointments will get more and more strident and offensive, and he’ll do more of his Trump Country rallies before crowds of fanatical supporters who perceive things exactly as he does. One third of the country and our president live in an internet reality where facts are only what they care to believe, no one is there to counter them in their beliefs, and Trump is winning victory after resounding victory, the most successful president ever. Sad.
So much hate speech from Trump supporters at the RNC, and then seeing so much of it echoed by Bernie or Busters…. It is all so alien to me. I was a genuine left wing activist, and helped out in political campaigns later, and have such a different approach to politics now than you see on social media. Maybe because we dealt with people and not electrons, I don’t know. It was different. I could never get myself to hate people automatically. I hated Nazis, I hated teamster thugs who beat up farmworkers, but hating someone because he is a Republican or because he likes a candidate I am against, I can’t even imagine. The verbal violence you hear on the left and right nowadays still startles me. People I know exploding in blind fury over memes. I don’t get it.
There was a very ugly school shooting today. Four dead, several wounded. I thought it would have been all over Facebook but instead there is this eerie silence. I suppose because it happened in Canada. We can’t scream about the NRA and Republicans and Donald Trump if it happened in Canada, and Republicans can’t yell about liberals and Obama and the 2nd Amendment. Facebook likes to pretend it is so sincere about murdered people, but all it wants to do is score political points. The dead are pawns in the endless political oneupmanship. Every time there is a shooting in the US both sides get to yell at each other. If it happens in Canada, no one down here notices. Nothing on Facebook seems to exist if it can’t be understood in the context of American politics. So Facebook goes on, blissfully depressed about dead rock stars, waiting for a massacre this side of the Canadian border it can get its teeth into.
Whenever some gun nut massacres a bunch of people the Right tries to downplay it as if it is not evidence of a serious problem. And now that Islamic terrorists have massacred a bunch of people, it is the Left’s turn–the Facebook Left, at least–to say that it is not a sign of a serious problem. The idea that both types of massacres could be a serious problem seems to be an illogical impossibility in the minds of both Left and Right. It is simply not conceivable. If the Left is upset about gun nut massacres, then the Right cannot be upset. And if the Right is upset about Islamic terrorism, then the Left can’t be upset. In fact, the two sides cannot agree in the most histrionic, extreme ways possible. Each goes to absurd degrees to denigrate the concerns of the other aside. The Right calls the Left cowards for being frightened of gun nut massacres. The Left calls the Right stupid for thinking that Islamic terrorism is something to be worried about. The Right says that people concerned about gun nut massacres are dangers to the Republic. The Left says that people concerned about Islamic terrorism are racists. Of course, neither side genuinely gives a flying fuck about the actual murdered people, and both go to extremes to never name the victims’ names or mention the funerals of the other side’s massacres. All either side cares about is scoring debate points on Facebook. That this zero sum political gamesmanship is by definition amoral is beyond their comprehension, so locked are they in this virtual mortal combat. After all, it can’t be amoral since each has morality so completely on their side. Politics has come to this, and the dead are just pawns.
Of course both Left and Right will assume, after reading this, that I support the other side.
I cannot figure out what the hell it is that makes Democrats want to obsess over Donald Trump, but I think now might be a good time to ask yourself just how much of your fears and fascinations are being driven by Facebook, Twitter and cable news. Because if you are a Democrat then Donald Trump doesn’t mean a goddamn thing. He is running for the REPUBLICAN PARTY NOMINATION. And unless you are Republican, then what the hell are you doing wasting time even thinking about him.
Stop being a victim of viral campaigns. What’s worse is that these are not even being directed by anyone. It is just social media changing the way you think and act and fear. I can never remember seeing people’s thought processes so controlled by the Internet before. If you take a step back and look and listen, this is some really creepy shit. People have lost control of the medium. It is taking over. It is feeding on your emotions, paranoia, and hatred. When all you Democrats were watching the Republican debate like it was the most important thing in the world I felt something crack.
You might want to step back and take a deep breath.