A Message to Myself

Through the last week, I’ve delivered a message to libertarians, conservatives, and liberals. Now it’s time to send myself a message.

Dear Me

Shut up.

You’re being completely stupid if you think that anything significant is about to change, socially or governmentally. You were there when Mateen killed 49 people in Orlando and conservatives tried to extend an olive branch, and you watched as liberals slapped it back, spit on it, and outright refused to stop being divisive.

But it isn’t just liberals, is it? There’s a sizable chunk of conservatives that is ready to play the victim card; they didn’t want opportunity, it turned out, except an opportunity to get a turn in the glorified victim spotlight of nihilistic modern society. Just a week ago, you watched Glamour magazine name the Stanford rape victim “woman of the year,” and you didn’t even dare say it publicly:

Getting raped isn’t an accomplishment.

Just last night you argued with an idiot, standard fare, until he pissed you off with his almost paralytic stupidity, causing you to do everything possible to push his buttons. So you called Trump a white nationalist. What was the result? The guy was offended, and called you racist. The people who used to say “What, you can’t even say someone’s race without being racist now, if you’re white?” are not looking to end the victimization; they are saying, “You’re racist because you pointed out his white skin color!”

It’s our turn to be a victim.

Except this is only true of some people, isn’t it? And you know it’s only true of some people while you also know that there is no simple metric to distinguish them from “ordinary” conservatives. But that’s the fallacy, isn’t it? There’s no such thing as an ordinary conservative or liberal. They’re all just straw men, and we prop them up or tear them down as we make whatever point we’re trying to make. Don’t pretend like you don’t do it.

“Liberal” can mean at least a dozen different things, and its meaning depends entirely on the point you’re trying to make. What is a liberal, then? A straw man that exists solely for you to parade around. Don’t pretend like you’re better than that. You just wrote messages to these straw men. The only one of these that isn’t a straw man is the one you’re writing to yourself, and that is exactly the core of the problem.

These straw men only apply to people who voluntarily take them up as hazy mirrors of themselves, and those people are few in number, yet here we have messages ostensibly to every single conservative, every single libertarian, and every single liberal. What do these words even mean? Who are you even talking to?

Other people who have mistaken those straw men for actual people, as you have?

Or are the messages appropriate not because you addressed everyone, but, by the context within the messages, only those people who do the things you’re talking about?

You’ve already seen people asking for Johnson2020, Sanders2020. Nothing will change. Nothing will happen. There’s no chance of people coming together. If the death of 49 innocent people didn’t do it, why do you think another olive branch might? They have their own straw man, one that paints Trump as <sigh> “LITERALLY Hitler.” They have no understanding that this is a straw man, and they don’t want to know. If they did, do you really think you’d have spent the whole goddamn summer being asked stupid questions on Quora?

They don’t want answers. They want to reinforce and justify their own biases. And it’s not just the straw man liberals who do it. How many conservatives have you seen sharing news items of men claiming to be women and taking pics of teenage girls in the restroom while they selectively ignore the thousands of times each day that this doesn’t happen?

Everyone is looking for a reason to light their straw man ablaze, and you just burned three of them, as surely as some people are out there burning effigies of Trump–straw men made flesh, by them and by you. The only difference is who is torching who.

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