Sarah B. provided the Comment of the Day and it’s featured question.
Mrs. Q applied her now familiar wisdom and perspective, and offered an answer, and at the end, I’ll take a shot at my own.
First, here’s Sarah’s Comment of the Day on today’s Forum:
Here is my question of the day. Sorry, but you need some exposition. I have a family member who has stage four TDS (frankly, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being willing to discuss positions that disagree with your own though you include a great many invectives and 10 being incapacitated by hatred to the degree that you won’t play bridge because of trump cards, her stance requires exponents) who had a post on Facebook today urging everyone to vote. Her claim was “Vote for Life” with pictures of a black guy with someone on is neck, a hospitalized person with COVID, a drowning polar bear, and a person standing with a rainbow flag. She has stated that anyone who disagrees that Floyd was killed by cops is a racist and she will act decisively to remove their racism. She has also said that voting for Trump is the same as committing genocide. She is willing to cut her sister out of her life, just for asking the question of, if a man overdoses in the custody of police, is it really racism that killed him. She then accuses anyone who might think that voting anything other than Democrat for any government position at all as guilty of crimes. Nothing, in her view, is acceptable other than a 100% Democrat government and if even a single Republican keeps a statewide position, much less a federal one, it is a sign that we live in a nation that is too racist to exist and must be eradicated (with totalitarian methods that she claims are the only way to protect our rights). She is already claiming that Trump is harassing voters, and that if he gets more than 20% of the vote, it will be through intense fraud, worthy of throwing him and any who voted for him in prison for life.
I won’t say that the Right doesn’t have some bad folks too, but every one of my former friends on the Left of the political spectrum is acting like she is the most reasonable person available. Aside from her hundreds of Facebook likes, she has received a great many accolades on how she is the perfect example of professionalism and reasonable behavior, and how she is treating those who disagree with her as better than they deserve and how she is almost too kind in her pronouncements.
As a note, she is the wife of a prominent Democrat in her state and he and his cohorts make her seem sane and Trump seem like the most polite, restrained, and gentlemanly man I’ve ever met.
This woman is now claiming that anyone who says MAGA, or wears red, or claims Trump is not a (fill in big lie here) with any amount of data to back it up, or even mentions the Biden laptop issue, is engaging in voter suppression. She has said that we need re-education of the deplorables who would consider Trump. That is, she says, the only way we can avoid being overcome with fascism, totalitarianism, and racism.
How do we deal with people like this moving forward? How do we keep the American experiment alive when people like this, at least in my life, seem very common?
Now here is Mrs. Q’s response…
Hi Sarah. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. A lot of us are, especially with those we really love and care for who we thought loved us too. It can be downright painful to deal with such vitriol and intolerance.
–For me, I like to take a deep breath and pause when I hear stuff like that.
-Personally, I don’t do social media because I like my loved ones better when I don’t know much of what they think unless we’re face-to-face.
-While this is an ethics blog and not a religious one, the reminder that, “they know not what they do” helps me to forgive.
–However imperfectly, I try to treat the person with the respect they may choose not to give. I find what’s inside a person always comes out in the end. If someone is being butt-hurt and rude, it’s possibly because internally they’re in some pain or fear they aren’t dealing with.
-Self-care! This week I ate extra healthy, got extra sleep, didn’t drink alcohol, and read lots of home improvement magazines to keep my mind hopeful and focused on what I can control, which is my attention, actions, and goals.
-And know you’re not alone. Many of us are in the same boat. Especially minorities of various stripes who are being called traitors and self-haters over this.
I would add these suggestions to those of Mrs. Q.
- Remember that these periods usually pass (except when they don’t). I had a former fiancée get swamped by a cult when she was in a vulnerable state, and for a couple of years conversing with her was like talking to a lunatic. I tried to be supportive within reason, even subjecting myself to intensive indoctrination from her “friends,” who found my ability to point out the weaknesses in their logic… frustrating.
Now, decades after the fever passed, my friend is embarrassed about the whole episode.
- Remember, or review, world and US history. Tragically, this kind of thing happens to all cultures periodically, and it is scary, The original “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers” was a metaphor for the Red Scare. “Rhinoceros,” Ionesco’s absurdist comedy, is also a reminder that what we are seeing from the Left today is not unprecedented.
It’s like pandemics, scary, destructive, but eventually just another thing to look back on and shiver.
- Whatever you do, don’t give in to the mob, stifle your own logic and values, or allow yourself to be bullied. Have the self-confidence to know that you’re right, and they are deluded and corrupted. Good friends don’t let their friends turn into rhinoceroses without a fight. It’s like trying to help a loved one who is an alcoholic, a drug addict, or possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Don’t give up on them, and if they reject you, well, that’s their choice.