Medium, the American Left, and This Woman I Used to Know…
Looking at Medium’s All Hate Trump selections on my Suggested For You list, I remember how this used to be a place that, like liberal Democrats of the past, genuinely seemed interested in diversity of thought.
But I also thought of something more personal. We’ve all had people we were very close to who we drifted away from. You remember the good stuff, and wonder why you stopped hanging out. (You forgot the bad stuff — we like to avoid pain and wallow in reruns of pleasant moments.)
You figure what the hell, and you reach out. The old connection is there, you’re talking the way you used to, avoiding Those Topics.
And at some point, after a few shaky moments, it hits you like a boulder: It’s not about having different ideas and views, you had those before, when you were close. But she’s changed, you’ve changed, and you’re not the people you used to be when it was easy to get along.
You knew this before you reached out. We all know this, but we resist it when we’re under the influence of tweaked memories.
It seems she’s become like a cult member, unquestionably embracing something you can’t believe she’d fall for, she used to be proud of not fitting in with any one group, but now she’s all aboard with THOSE people. And of course, she accuses you of being a cult member, too. (But that’s different, of course YOU still think for yourself, without being influenced by anyone, right?)
At this point, if there was anything there, you’d do what you used to and laugh at how ridiculous you’ve both been and talk about things reasonably…
…and THAT is the point when it breaks down, when you think you’re doing what you used to when you argued and enjoyed it. Nope. Now she’s seen The Light, and she knows she was too soft on you. You don’t just disagree on some things but both want the best for people, for society, for each other.
Nope. You’re now The Enemy.
It ends, again, for good. Because you can’t be with someone who thinks you’re less than human (she doesn’t say that, but THAT part of your connection is still there — you can read between her lines).
How can you do anything but walk away from someone who thinks you’re not even a human being because of which lesser of two evils you vote for once every four years?
The problem with this comparison is that you can walk away from people who think you’re subhuman because you are a male, because you’re white, because you vote for one of the two parties in this society, and you can stop going to web pages that are hostile work environments for anyone not in the cul — I mean, anyone who believes very much in one narrow set of beliefs. That’s freedom, that’s capitalism, whatever glib thing you want to call it.
But you can’t really leave the society you were born into and still can function in.
Yesterday, a man walked into a supermarket wearing a t-shirt that encouraged people to do violence to someone of the other political party. I suspect he would’ve been asked to leave if his shirt was aimed at Democrats instead of Republicans. Some folks are grinning at this, thinking it’s nice a white male is feeling threatened (I’m not, I have no more fear of that guy than some rightwing gun nut).
I’m just puzzled, I guess. For decades, I actually got fooled by the American left when they claimed to be for free speech for all, not just the left, and by those who said they wanted a level playing field and judgment of people by the content of their character.
Like an ex who has moved on and left your foolish hopes of friendship in the dust, Medium, like the Democratic party, has gone over and become exactly what Republicans used to say it was. Which means the liberals were actually lying to me, and the conservatives who I mocked for years were actually telling the truth.
I guess I have a lot of thinking to do. But most of it won’t be posted here.