You know, I try to be kind. I try to be empathetic and understanding. When I disagree with someone, I try to listen to where they’re coming from. I’m not a fan of cancel culture, I don’t unfriend or block people except in extreme circumstances, and I honestly believe that many times, people simply don’t know what they don’t know, and all they need is to be gently educated. I believe that sometimes I am the one in need of educating.
But maaaaan… humans are testing me. No, scratch that: Americans are testing me. My faith has been shaken. My cynicism is growing. My tolerance is almost nonexistent. It even feels like my personality has shifted. I seesaw between rage and despair, and I find myself having to stop myself from wishing harm on people.
I find myself wanting “certain people” not to vote. This is not like me. But I see people sharing memes as a tool to inform, and I can’t stop myself from thinking, No. You don’t get to vote. Memes are not how we learn. Fuck off with that bullshit and stay home on voting day if you’re not going to invest some energy in learning how shit actually works. Also, SHAME ON YOU.
The other day, a woman responded to an article I wrote about Trump being a divisive shitbag by saying his divisiveness was “why I’m voting for him! He says exactly what he thinks!” I clicked through on the woman’s profile because I was curious to know if the stuff she posts on her profile page would yield any obvious signs of her being a dumb sack of potatoes. But she was just a regular ‘ol white chick with blond hair. She has a family and people in her life who interact with her posts and seem not to hate her.
And then I had the following exchange with this racism-denying Karen on Twitter:
I tried to have a conversation with her, but can you see it’s impossible? She resorts to the common, simple-minded tactic of shouting “WAKE UP” when she runs out of argument. No, you dense cabbage, you wake up. Crack a fucking book. Learn something. Quit leaning on the two Black people out of millions upon millions who support your conclusion that racism isn’t real or that Black people “bring it on themselves.” Ugh, barf.
This search for the outlier is a common, infuriating thread among the willfully ignorant. When I google “is it dangerous to wear a mask?” or “is systemic racism real?”, the first 10 pages of results confirm the consensus of science and studies and countless experts. I literally can’t even find a single dissenting opinion. But these fucking dingalings on Facebook will hike across mountains of evidence—entire mountain ranges of evidence—barefoot in the driving snow with a donkey strapped to their back, to find that one aerosol-sniffing outlier who agrees with them. They see a few memes or watch a YouTube video and think they have all the answers. Research is for pussies! You can’t trust data! They seem to find glory in the idea that they know something that everyone else doesn’t. I cannot fathom the amount of cognitive dissonance required to do this.
When it comes to a topic like masks, people excuse themselves from wearing masks because they don’t believe in “government control.” The irony, though, is that mandates were only implemented after people refused to wear masks voluntarily. If people would have simply worn the damn masks out of concern for others in the first place, no mandates would have been necessary. They literally brought the mandates on themselves by being selfish dickheads and then they complain the government is trying to control them. Someone get me off this merry-go-round of stupidity, please.
In another local thread, several folks commented to the effect of “Well, I heard there was a study done that says masks cause dangerous levels of CO2” and “but my concealed weapon permit says I can’t wear a face covering so technically it’s illegal for me to wear a mask.”
Motherfucker, nearly every medical expert says wearing a mask won’t deplete your oxygen or increase your CO2 (“nearly every” because there’s always a couple of contrarian outliers). And if carrying your gun in case of an extremely unlikely scenario where you’d need to defend yourself takes precedence over the literal, immediate scenario of protecting yourselves and others in your community, you’ve got some major problems with prioritization. Also, fuck you.
Or how about the common argument against wearing a mask because the anti-masker is confident in their own immune system? Well, that’s all well and good for you, Typhoid Mary, but your mask is not to protect you. It’s to protect high-risk folks from you, you ignorant, self-absorbed twat. Honestly, at this point I think people understand that though they may be invulnerable to COVID-19, they could unwittingly transmit it to someone who will die from it. Imagine being so determined to make a political statement that you’re willing to kill a stranger over it. *head explodes*
In the freelance writing circles I inhabit, the topic of journalistic objectivity comes up with some regularity. We’re supposed to endeavor to present both sides of a story without bias. But goddammit, sometimes there is only one side. Some ideas are just absolute nonsense, and no one should be under any obligation to give those ideas airtime or to approach them with an attitude that may lend credibility.
Is it really any wonder the media appears to be biased? It’s because it is biased, and justifiably so, against Trump and his zombie-army of supporters. Journalistic integrity? Sorry, but there is no way to report on Trump’s moronic, divisive bullshit without making clear what a complete fucking disaster he is. It’s a fact he’s a disaster. The whole world sees it, and anyone not stranded on the peak of Mount Bias with a donkey strapped to their back sees it too.
And so, as much as I want to believe that people maybe just don’t know what they don’t know, I have been beaten down. Cynicism has won out. What I am witnessing in too many of my fellow Americans is deliberate, willful, selfish ignorance. Between conspiracy theorists, systemic racism deniers, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and homophobic Bible beaters, I am so fucking disappointed in America. I’m tired and disgusted and out of excuses for these people.
There is an epidemic in this country, and I don’t mean an epidemic of the biological variety. It’s an epidemic of entitlement, selfishness, and stupidity. I’m opposed to intellectual elitism, but I’m done excusing willful ignorance and intellectual laziness. Do a little research—actual research, not Facebook memes and YouTube videos, ya fuckin dingbat. Crack a book now and then, one with data and citations.
People all over the world think America is a laughing stock. They pity us. They think we’re falling apart. But the willfully stupid among us do not care. In fact, they’re proud to disagree. This attitude—the attitude of having pride in opposing the obvious—is a failure of morality beyond my comprehension. If the entire world is looking at you and telling you you’re fucking it up, why wouldn’t you at least question your beliefs?
But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Too many Americans just don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks, how they feel, or whether they live or die. It’s no wonder my faith in America is shattered.
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