Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Nation at War With Itself

On my last piece about Tennessee Current Events, one of my good blogging buddies offered up some sound advice to help bring me out of the doldrums: "get thee from Facebook".

Squatlo's premise was that while the social network attracts good people from all political persuasions, it has an equal number of trolls "who seem to be lying in the weeds waiting for any excuse to pontificate on behalf of Jesus or Ronnie Reagan or Bill O'Reilly at the drop of a hat."

True, true, and true. The problem is that I actually derive quite a bit of pleasure from Facebook. As I explained, "I have configured my FB page so I get lots of news, most of it things I wouldn't have known about otherwise and not just politics. Biography, history, art, medical, scientific, you name it."

Along the way I've made quite a few friends who I thoroughly enjoy and who have added to my limited collection of knowledge in ways I never dreamed possible.

If I weren't on Facebook, most likely I would have missed this most extraordinarily powerful essay. Carol Baker, The Opinionated Bitch and a superb writer by anyone's standards, takes a leaf from Thomas Paine and talks some common sense about the state of America today. She is a voice of reason at a time when we need it most. She speaks to me and for me.

She begins by admonishing us to forget the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, etc.
"Forget them," she says. "We are a nation of people who can't stand one another. We can't stand a fair portion of our fellow Americans."
So, when did it all change? Oh, it had been brewing for some time, thanks to the carefully orchestrated John Birchers and groups like them who had been waiting for the perfect moment to set their best laid plans in motion. I can tell you the exact day, the exact hour and the exact moment it all came to a crescendo: September 11, 2001 at 8:46 am, when five hijackers flew American Airlines flight 11 into the North Tower of The World Trade Center. Everything that has happened to this country since has been connected in the collective spiderweb of the American conscience. That was the moment fear set it and it became acceptable to openly hate Muslims. No matter the irrationality of lumping anyone who even looked Middle-Eastern into that broad group. It worked for their purposes of creating the perfect divide and conquer strategy in America – and it worked beautifully.
After quoting Thomas Paine, Carol explains that she has spent the last couple of months seeking out a little "Common Sense" of her own.
. . . every time I see the word “patriot”, I throw up in my mouth a little and I find that sad. The word used to mean “someone who stands by America”. Now it means, “only people who think like me and if you don’t like it, you’re a Nazi who should either be imprisoned or shipped out of the country”. I despise false equivalencies, the old “both sides do it, so it’s okay”. There is some of it from both sides, though anyone who tells me it’s done with equal frequency or fervor is blind or lying.
So far, so good, but it gets better as Carol describes an encounter with a fellow non-believer who accuses her of being as bad as a Nazi sympathizer with a "Pollyanna complex." Her response truly resonates with me along with her rather plaintive admonition:  "This is what polite conversation has devolved into . . ."

Carol continues as she expounds on the "anti-everything" crowds: the anti gays, the anti abortionists, the anti-gun-control fetishists, and she concludes with a ringing indictment of the the anti-voting rights bunch:
If the Voting Rights Act is nothing more than a “racial entitlement”, then logically, I must ask:
Are laws against rape nothing more than “gender entitlements”?
Are laws against pedophilia nothing more than “youth entitlements”?
Are laws against dangerous working conditions nothing more than “labor entitlements”?
It turns out there’s been a change of dress code for the Ku Klux Klan… when appearing at the Supreme Court, black robes are the accepted couture for their duly appointed representatives.


  1. Well said throughout. The "anti-everything crowd" is what for the past decade I've referred to as the resenters. That's because resentment and spite seem to be the main things that keep these people getting out of bed every morning and setting forth to make America a little bit worse of a place to call home for everyone else.

    BTW, L.P., I haven't gone missing. Home, family, put-off computer and other projects have had to take a place in line ahead of blogging for awhile. I hope to be back to posting regularly in a few weeks. In the meantime I am visiting favorite blogs and commenting when I can.

    1. "Resenters". Yes, I like that. Boy, they're noisy. Anyway, I am glad to hear from you and to know that you are at least arun. I hope no one is ill.

    2. Ahhh... here is the info for which I was searching... SW, I am pleased to see that you are still commenting and still busy. I look forward to your return to Oh!Pinion.

  2. Agree with you about FB Leslie, if you cut out the crap there is gold out there, some of it extremely funny. Humor is great way to make a point. There's some great writers out there, certainly made me think 'I'm a reader, not a writer'.

    1. So much depends on who you accept as friends, how you configure your pages, and knowing who/what to avoid. I don't dig having 4000 "friends" - I want folks I can connect with and not be merely a follower of (this doesn't apply to news sources or people, of course). If someone puts up a lot of nonsense, such as bible quotes or sappy sayings, I either hide or block them altogether. I set up a private page for my family who, for the most part, have actually hidden me! LOL.

  3. FB is a mixed bag for me. It gives me a way to stay in touch with my musician friends and to know where the next jam is but at the same time it's a platform for too much regressive politics and banal so-in-so loves or is at such-in-such bar or restaurant. The jury's still out for me.

    1. Mr. C - I understand that. See my response to Hole Ender. Funny, but most of my old friends don't have much time for FB and are rarely on it. Hmmmm. Wonder what that says about my life!

    2. FB is not so bad. Yes, I limit my friends.....but it is a great avenue to keep up witht he kids....and their friends. And my family. and Leslie, you are absolutely good FB folks keep feeding me with music, art, most things in life, it is only a bad tool if you use it badly.

    3. Exactly. I have a whole page dedicated to news, so I can quickly access Maddow, Bashir, CBS, etc. My family? Well, I think most of them have "hidden" me. Politics of my kind ain't their thing. ; )

  4. Leslie, I actually had some good times spring from contacts I made on FB before I was drummed out of the choir by the Troll Brigade. One fellow I met had attended my own high school several years before my graduation, but invited me to spend a day or two at his farm alongside the Tennessee River where the sand hill cranes stop in their annual migration. I took him up on his offer, got a key and permission to return anytime I wanted to use the place.
    My photography page had a couple hundred followers, and drummed up business for my website, too. I had a separate page for my "Little Man" illustrations, snarky commentary over my website logo. All of it was win/win, as far as I was concerned... Until...
    It seemed like there were twenty Bible Thumpers for every sane person I encountered. No discussion of any subject was free from being hijacked by these people once they discovered my political leanings. They became highly offended at the slightest thing, insisted upon commenting relentlessly with recitations from Bible scripture, and the final straw came when one of them (bless her heart) insisted that our nation's constitution was actually written by Jesus for our Founding Fathers to use. It's the actual word of god, on parchment.
    I pulled the plug that very day.

    As much as I enjoyed reconnecting with some of my long lost friends, it couldn't balance out for the grief and headaches of dealing with people who won't be satisfied until we have a Christian theology not unlike the Taliban running America.

    You can only be called a heretic so many times before you begin to believe it might be true...

  5. I'm very selective about who I befriend - preferably someone who is a friend of a friend and who obviously has the "right" credentials on their page. If someone turns out to be an ass, I simply block them asap. I don't have time for that crap and have no interest in listening to a bunch of ignorant morons, Bible Thumpers or otherwise. You're in the pilot's seat.

    Without FB, I might not have found this fabulous page the other day - the Metro Nashville Archives.

  6. I have to admit, I developed a bit of an addiction to FB after I first got signed up, finding myself checking in on my page every couple of minutes. And for a while, it was indeed fun (or at least mildly amusing).
    Had I distanced myself from the political discussions, I probably would have remained on FB even though I recognized how much of a time-suck it had become. It was one of those situations where I had "the right to remain silent" but not the ability. And once the mob wiwth the pitchforks and torches found my nest, it was "game on" every time I turned on the computer.