Thanking my conservative friend for blocking me from his Facebook page
On of my conservative friends blocked me, for a second time, on Facebook a few months ago and I’m just writing about it now. This time he says it is “permanent” because of the Michael Moore quote I posted in response to the “fake news” item he had posted.
In a way I’m relieved this has happened and had kind of expected it. My conservative friend is a nice guy in person and is a “family man” who posts good rock videos and some other content that is often amusing. He also likes Nickelback, and that could be forgiven as harmless though in poor taste. We used to work at the same company and he has solid technical skills and understands hardware and software issues very well. There is a lot to like about the guy.
But with the 2016 election in the States things began to get a bit tense all over and especially on Facebook. I am a fairly left-leaning person and most of my friends have similar ideologies. We disagree over issues like Israel and government spending but rarely do huge disagreements erupt. (In fact, to some of them I probably seem to be more right wing: I often vote Liberal rather than NDP…..Oh well).
I realized in 2016 I had two or three right wing American Facebook friends and one of them I wound up un-friending after he called Hillary a “bitch” for the second or third time. He was offensive and stupid. My #2 conservative friend would never use such language; he sounds reasonable as he posts links to anti-climate change articles and others that called Clinton a criminal. He was originally a supporter of Cruz and then fell behind Trump when he won the nomination.
My friend and I had disagreed over many things but I believe the idiot/narcissist Trump is on another level. In one post he said both Clinton and Trump were “despicable” but he wanted a conservative supreme court judge so he was going with Trump. Throughout the campaign he refused to criticize anything Trump said regarding beating up protesters, grabbing women by the pussy, pretending not to know who David Duke was or anything really. I do believe that Trump cannot read past a grade 5 level.
We fell into a rhythm: he would post ridiculous and reductive posts from the internet: like the “fact” that Clinton had defended a rapist and laughed about it. Not true. She did not want to defend a rapist but didn’t have a choice and it was a big moral deal. It is ridiculous how easily many of these stupid statements (with offensive pictures) could be disproven. He would post more and cite conservative websites to back him up. I started to complain about many of his posts and prove them wrong but then he would say that the “fact checkers” like Snopes and Politico were biased. I would respond that they may have a bias, but they actually checked statements and described their research whereas Trump just lied about everything, every day. Things got heated towards the end he blocked me. Oh well, life went on and at the time I felt safe because Nate Silver told me Trump could never win.
Oops, I guess Nate just said the likelihood of Trump’s winning was less that the likelihood of his losing. OK.
After the election he unblocked me again and I thought the USA had committed a huge mistake but I kept hoping there would be some evidence of Trump’s earlier, and more liberal, self come to light. When he said he was not going to pursue criminal charges against Hillary I thought that was a good sign.
Pretty soon Trump began reverting back to his previous form and even got worse (probably as he realized on some level how unprepared he was for the job of President). My friend unblocked me and I could not help responding again to the lies and misrepresentations. Here are a couple of examples: he posted a link demonstrating how the MSM create “fake news”. It was to an ABC print article about the Russian ship off the US coast (about which Trump had joked that if he shot at it he would be very popular). The article showed a stock photo of a ship and the shore and seemed well researched and straightforward. It discussed the potential threat from the ship and quoted experts from the navy and the lawyers. I could not understand how this constituted “fake news” so I had to ask, why? My friend’s answer was that the picture and caption were misleading. They implied the ship was -much- closer than the 20+ miles the article discussed. I was really astounded this was the “fake” part because the article itself contained only researched facts. He was complaining about the use of a stock photo which happens all the time. I explained that “fake news” was when the president tweeted about three million people committing voter fraud with absolutely no evidence. His response: “how do you know there is not that amount of fraud”? Really? That position is either stupidity or willful ignorance.
My friend’s main claim was that Trump “is doing exactly what he said he would do” and that was admirable. In fact, mostly what is was doing was issuing unconstitutional executive orders and staffing some positions with people unfit to serve and leaving may other positions open. My “friend” barely acknowledged the steady stream of lies, the berating of friends like Australia, the increasing violence caused by right wing nut jobs, the rumours of ties to Russia that won’t go away, the undying support of white supremacists, the truly stupid and tragic banning of immigration and travel from countries that have produced virtually no terror on American soil (while it is business as usual for Saudi Arabia). And so much more. It is one thing to sell your soul for a supreme court vote. It is another to turn your back on so many acts of petty despotism and genuine white rage.
And as time progresses it is more obvious how woefully unprepared Trump was for the job and he is making the USA simply fodder for cartoons and ridicule.
But what really hurts is the sustained insults to common sense and logic. The refusal to understand that CNN, the “failing” New York Times, Washington Post and others employ full time journalists who have won awards, studied ethics and usually try to do a good job of research while so many of the other sites post articles that are based on supposition and often have -no- byline to identify the vacuous source.
He finally banned me because, in response to some post about Ryan Owen’s widow, who Trump turned into a photo opportunity, I posted a couple of paragraphs of Michael Moore’s response which was apparently “too much”.
Ultimately, the blocking is a good thing because that whole exercise of trying to battle blinded ideology and stupidity with logic and reason and facts just goes nowhere. You really cannot change some people’s opinions about certain things (this fact is discussed right at the beginning of How to Win Friends and Influence People). And having a “friend” like that on Facebook is really like a kind of crack addiction: the fact I can click on his name and be instantly submerged in an alternate universe. It is like visiting Mars without needing a spaceship or spacesuit.
The one thing I miss is that my friend’s bizarre postings were strangely reassuring because, in so many ways, he is a “solid citizen” and a sane, hard working guy. It helps me believe that things might eventually be ok if many of Trump’s supporters are decent folks who like good rock music (aside from Nickelback) and take their families on vacations and can talk intelligently about many topics.
Oh well, life goes on and my time is better spent playing guitar/piano etc., hanging out with my family and participating in various community activities. I am trying to engage in positive activities, like music and volunteering with our Neighbourhood Association, and be happy in my life because that is all we can really do!