“The source of every crime, is some defect of the understanding; or some error in reasoning; or some sudden force of the passions.” ― Thomas Hobbes
I’m going to ask my readers to bear with me on this one, because this post will feel as though I’m traveling down various rabbit holes and dragging you along with me. It’s going to be longer than normal – even my normal – but I hope you understand where I’m coming from in the end. You’ll get a glimpse of the mess that is my brain, but I’m doing so to provide a broad picture of how our tribe mentality has evolved. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all wrapped up in one post.
My post about why I’m supporting Evan McMullin (read here) made mention of the term “Tribalism,” and I received a good deal of feedback in regards to that particular label. I found myself explaining – repetitively – why I blame tribalism for the vast majority of our issues today, and why it’s at the core of my refusal to support either leading candidate. After having the conversations, I’m more convinced now than ever that it’s an important topic we need to discuss more often. Why?
Some may be surprised to find that if given the choice, writing fiction is far and away my first love – as opposed to giving my puddle deep personal reactions to current political issues. If I’m ever less of a coward, I might actually act on those ambitions, but until that day comes, here I am, offering up my opinions on the world around me. That said, my admiration for the world of fiction has so often molded my perspective on the world, and I believe that the most penetrating ideas, theories, and useful metaphors are born in the musings of make believe. As Albert Camus once said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.”
This week I was engaging in a countless number of political debates on social media – it was just one fight after the other. I eventually deleted a few points that I had made, because – while I had not crossed the Rubicon – I had gone up to the political discourse etiquette line and began flirting with the other side. My post (read here) was mild in nature, yet set off a vast row of tumbling dominoes, and in the end I was given the labels of “purist” and “cannibal” by those who once appreciated my unabashed honest take on politics.
In this situation, standing by my principles required that I go against my personal desires, which also meant going against the desires of many who follow me.
Rubio has said multiple times that he tried to defeat Trump, that he did his best in the primaries to stop him from blanketing the conservative movement with the nationalist, racist, and sexist ideals of an egomaniac who has the power to utterly destroy. I agree, Marco tried. But Marco’s 2016 election legacy won’t be that he tried, it will be that when his own agenda failed he waved the white flag. While many refuse to fault him for this, and even I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be in his shoes, I will not apologize for expecting more.
Call off the angry mob, because it’s time to have a real conversation about Paul Ryan and the Omnibus. Many of my friends have taken various sides on the issue, why not throw mine out there, as well.
First and foremost, I apologize ahead of time for the length of this post, but there’s a lot to cover.
To begin with, we need to realize how ridiculously hasty we have become. Living in hysteria is exhausting; we’re weary of attempting to fetch the smelling salts for them, and they’ve got to be getting tired of declaring the death of our country every time a patriot pundit updates their status.
So, I recommend the following steps when political news breaks: Read the news, listen to a little Bob Marley, take a few days to read even more news from various perspectives on the issue, practice a few deep breathing exercises while you ponder, make a list of pros and cons, resist the urge to share that rage inducing image of Paul Ryan in a Nazi uniform from any Facebook page with the word “patriot” in the title. Most importantly, answer this short list of questions:
- What are we dealing with?
- What were the other options?
- What would happen if we went with the other options?
- Have I acknowledged the positives?
- Have I been manipulated?
- Do I understand this issue enough to put a curse on someone’s soul?
We shouldn’t need #6, but sometimes people can be irrational beings, doing what we sincerely hope is just their best impersonation of an inebriated Sybil, so it’s necessary. We live in the world of hysteria, where the brash response is celebrated. We’re the societal version of Who’s Line Is It Anyway: Everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter.
On Saturday morning I awoke to a changed world. I felt the shift, the pull of the earth into the darkness of a widening black hole eager to swallow us. The sky was black, and as my neighbors embraced each other for the coming end, I let out a tearful cry to the heavens…
I mean, you would have thought that’s what was happening. In reality, Trey Gowdy was just confirmed as the “special guest” who would be campaigning with Marco Rubio. We’ve known for quite a while that Trey was a fan of Rubio, but I guess for some it was like having an interest in someone they knew was interested in someone else, and then falling apart when they learned their person of interest was engaged to another woman.
It’s like a group of teenage girls who have just been broken up with; half of them cry into their journals and eat a gallon of ice cream, the other half downplay the significance of their relationship, and after a few days of crying and downplaying they all eventually move on to anger.
Ice cream and journals:
*Updated with information on Rubio and Cruz immigration beliefs*
I had a conversation on politics and religion with my Mom during a shopping trip on Sunday, which gave me the idea for this post. We don’t always agree on every issue, and while Ben Carson is not my choice, she finds him “refreshingly genuine.” We talked, we disagreed, and then we moved on and had an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates at Olive Garden.
See, I don’t even pretend to agree with my own mother.
She’s a fan of sarcasm with a purpose, but not snark, per se. I try to mold my posts around those ideals since I know she’s not alone. I once watched my mother’s eye twitch when Michelle Malkin said, “He’s just a lying liar who lies” while bobbing her head back and forth in teenage girl fashion – it physically caused my mother pain. So, alas, I try to infuse my posts with calmly delivered sarcasm, but try to stay far away from snot-nosed attitudinal snark.