While we are all in the coronavirus state of mind, involuntarily or voluntarily hunkered down in our homes, we spend a lot more time on the internet, on social media; in my case, Facebook.
Recently, I was invited to join a private Facebook group that purportedly fosters “civil” discussion between left and right. It’s called “Bridge the Divide – a place for civil political/cultural discourse.
What a shit-show.
A few hours this past week reading, answering and commenting and reading some more, convinced me that it’s a Facebook page designed by the Russians (or the Chinese or – insert evil and foreign villain here – ) to further divide the crumbling United States of America and erode any last shred of empathy and understanding between its citizens.
First of all, the questions posted. Designed to incite rather than inspire, they are asked by what appear to be trolls (always ‘new members’) who will “innocently” ask ridiculous questions like “Is there racism in America? I’m really wondering.” and “Is Trump a decent person?” in order to provoke reactions and the exchange quickly becomes heated and childish.
The conversation train then jumps the rails and bogs down in the swamp of predictable hate and playground-style arguments, as expected.
“Look who’s talking” is a popular comeback. After unsuccessfully trying to make a point about why Trump is far from decent, I was told to watch Shapiro, Glenn Beck and OAN to learn the truth and to avoid the “mainstream media” This person seemed very serious.
One woman posted that racists are those who are constantly pointing out people’s skin color. TO which I replied “said the white person” and of course I got the “case in point” answer. That’s settled then – I’m a racist.
White guy: “Racism? Doesn’t exist. It’s about people and their choices. Self-determination. And reality. Like if I try out for the basketball team I am not going to be as good as the guy born 6′ 10″. That’s just the way it is.”
Me: “First of all, no one is born 6′ 10″. Second maybe you should look back at your family tree to see how many of your ancestors came over chained to a ship. That might determine your present situation”
White guy: “You don’t know my situation.”
Yea, you’re right, I don’t.
There are long posts, paragraphs that would initially seem to indicate some sort of intelligent life dialogue happening until you actually read them.
The more I read, the more I feel the need to rebut some of the more egregious statements, knowing full well that it is useless. Also, I can feel my blood pressure rising. So, while it is entertaining and frustrating and infuriating all at the same time, being a member of this community just isn’t for me.
Civil discourse indeed.