Shut the fuck up for a minute, you fucking babies.
The internet has devolved over the past month or two into opposing Bernie and Hillary camps screaming at each other at every turn, pointing fingers and shouting unspeakable things you’d regret ever saying to someone in person.
This was predictable, because it’s what always happens on the internet. Whether over a movie or a shooting or a Kanye or a town having poisoned water, we yell and shout unspeakable things you’d regret ever saying to someone in person.
Here’s the thing. It shouldn’t happen this way in our politics. Not with us, and especially not now. Why? Because we’re supposed to be progressive, you fucking meatheads. The political and social campaigns you support promote hope and change, and when you see a conversation online about Bernie and Hillary and you go in guns blazing for everyone to be quiet RIGHT NOW because you need to be HEARD, you are right at home with the following groups:
That Roosh guy
That Roosh guy’s manbaby friends
Donald Trump’s campaign
Actual Donald Trump
It is not a good look for you. No matter what side you support, the kinds of behavior we’ve engaged in online is not progressive. You no longer get to roll your eyes at your pro-gun relatives who troll your Facebook wall, because you are also that troll. When you attack someone online for expressing their point of view, rarely are you arguing against their point of view. You’re shutting them down. You are dehumanizing them by saying they’re not valid. You know, like people against gay marriage do.
If there truly are ‘Bernie Bros’ and crack evil Hillary Clinton social media espionage agents, who cares? You are you. How you act is a choice, and if you really want to act like a progressive, progress above these things and practice our major tenet: compassion.
Compassion is listening. It’s about hearing someone’s concerns and acknowledging them. And I mean REALLY HEARING them, not just balling up your fists and waiting for you turn to shout mad things at Twitter. If a Hillary supporter has concerns about sexism, listen to them. Hear them. Chances are, they know a lot about how sexism feels. If a Bernie supporter takes issue with being labeled a misogynist or a bad feminist for feeling Berns, listen to them. Really, really listen to each other. You’ll both come away from that exchange better.
Now, listening does not mean blindly accepting and agreeing. Your opinions and values are your own, but discarding viewpoints as invalid is wrong. Not only is it egotistical to think that you can’t come out of an exchange like that recognizing places you can do better, but to not do so makes you a bad progressive. It makes you a bad ally.
Listening is what makes being a liberal difficult. Conservative viewpoints are easy — there are problems, someone else is to blame, and they had better shut up because Jesus. But being a progressive means that there are problems, we all share in that blame, and that’s OK. It doesn’t make us bad people. Because the next step is listening, learning, and challenging ourselves to be better. Whether it was realizing that using the word ‘gay’ as an insult hurts your friends, or a woman feeling the immediate dismissal of Hillary Clinton because it resonates in her own life, we listen to problems. We learn. We grow. We accept, and we find solutions. That’s the whole point of this. It’s why turning off your brain and binging Fox News is so appealing- it’s the mental version of Bush encouraging us to go shopping after 9/11. You don’t have to think. You just have to point your finger. Being progressive means acknowledging that you might be complicit in a problem, and that means trying to improve. Accepting faults AND working? It’s fucking hard! The nice thing is that you’re not alone. This piece by Kelly Wilz is a fantastic roadmap to being a compassionate human being if you need a place to start
There are, of course, times to draw a line in the sand and stand by a belief. The internet has trained us that the correct time to rise up and shout our shouts is ‘always’ and this is not a true thing. Let’s say that Twitter is a nice gathering of friends and acquaintances in someone’s home. The host of the party mentions that a teen was assaulted by cops and she doesn’t feel safe. Let’s say you have a very strong belief that this kid was a dick and had it coming. Maybe you can even prove it with FACTS that you facted all by yourself. But is right now, when a person is vulnerable and sharing, the time to start raising your voice and explaining the myth of police brutality to her? Prolly not. Because when you do that, or when you tell someone to shut up because no, you’re not being misogynistic, they just aren’t HEARING you. Do you know who you’re being? That uncle at Thanksgiving who is still rambling about Obama’s birth certificate and ‘those damn Muslims.’ You hate that uncle. Don’t be that uncle.
I feel like the ‘you’re a guest in someone’s home’ thing should apply to every aspect of the internet — after all, if you shouted about how people are fucking wrong about Zack Snyder, in real life, the way you do on Twitter, no one would ever talk to you again — but it should especially apply to our politics. Especially right now. We’re all on the same side, and in a few months, every progressive from every corner of the Land of Progressives is going to have to unite, look each other in the eye, and apologize for being such cocksmacks to each other.
So let’s just put a band-aid on this now and stop being cocksmacks. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Texas megachurches have started announcing that Ted Cruz was anointed by God to be the President. There is some serious shit coming our way.