With the new presidential administration, I think a lot of us are adjusting our social settings to control what we take in.
For instance, now that President Biden is in office, I no longer consider it part of my civic-duty portfolio to surveil people like the ex-Republican speechwriter who regularly administers poison to 2,600 Facebook friends who seem to need it, like morphine in reverse. So when she burped up this typical carcinogenic bile on Inauguration Day—”Well I certainly feel warm and fuzzy. Almost healed! One or two more terrible poems by 22 year olds, and I’ll be ready to jump to the dark side.”—I decided to hide her posts.
Call it “self care.”
We should also adjust what we put out, to match the current context.
I think a lot of liberals felt it was important to post a steady drumbeat of anti-Trump stuff over the last four years, in order to keep everyone awake and alarmed, to not allow Trump to be “normalized,” and so on.
But now that we’ve won, what is the purpose of such posts, beyond force of habit? Should we be caught gloating, crowing, giggling, taunting everyone who ever voted for Trump?
My friend Steve Crescenzo will never adjust what he puts out, for me or any other mincing, civic-minded pipsqueak—so I’ll use a post of his as an example of the sort of shit you’ll never read from me.
On Saturday, Steve wrote:
There’s a lot of talk about “unity” these days. Democrats are saying, now that Trump and his divisive, racist rhetoric and policies are gone for good, we should all pull together as Americans.
Republicans and Trumpers (pretty much the same group) are saying: “Fuck you. Shove your unity up your ass. Where were your calls for unity when our guy was in charge?”
My take? Fuck unity. I don’t WANT unity with Trumpers. I don’t want to be united with The Proud Boys. I don’t want harmony with those sick QAnon fucks. I have no desire to sing Kumbaya with the rednecks, racists and white trash who tried to overthrow the government, shit and pissed all over the Capitol, killed cops, vandalized a sacred institution, and threatened to assassinate politicians they didn’t agree with.
I’d rather we stay in our own camps. There is NO WAY those people are going to change. They are too ignorant, too racist, too hooked on Fox News.
As I’ve said before, the problem with bubbles is that people on the outside can see through them and hear through them, and they’re always popping.
In everything I write and publicly say, I’m thinking of the Republicans—and luckily I know some, which helps me—who actually are rooted in essential reality, but who are nevertheless disappointed that Biden is president and genuinely disagreeing with the policies the Democrats will pursue.
Now, look: I could argue for one million hours with these people one by one—and I don’t appreciate the pride I hear them take in their ability to separate the previous president’s subfecal personality from his traditionally Republican policies. And when we extinguish the grease fire in the galley, maybe I’ll take those arguments up with my Republican friends and acquaintances. Meanwhile, I try to imagine the Democratic presidential candidate so creepy as to make me vote Republican, and I give many Trump voters the benefit of that doubt.
Because right now, what I don’t want to do is to self-fulfillingly accuse them of being in “the same camp” with the stormers of Capitol Hill or the Steal believers. And what I take pains to do is to let them know as sincerely as I feel it, that there is room for them over here—if not in the Democratic Party, at least on the S.S. Basic Viability, a humble steamer with a motley crew that’s headed, vaguely, at least, toward a place where we could all coexist and still call ourselves a country.
Also vaguely, Captain Biden said in his inauguration speech last week that he hoped “enough of us” could come together to “carry the rest of us forward.” It seems to me the only way to ensure we have “enough of us” on our side is to convince the kinds of Republicans I’m talking about that they are welcome on our side.
And it is they, not we, who are right now deciding right now which side they’re on. And they will choose a side, because everyone needs one. And if they’re anything like us—and in this way, they are—they’ll go where they’re made welcome, and go away from where they are derided as scoundrels.
Which way do you want them to go?
Better make room here, as much as we can.