So this week I went viral again.
I did that once before, with a blog post that I wrote back in 2012 on why I wasn’t going to vote for Republicans for the foreseeable future. It seemed to strike a nerve, in the run-up to Obama’s second time winning the majority of both the popular vote and the electoral vote – the only time a presidential candidate has pulled that off in the last thirty years. The current occupant of the White House lost the popular vote by more votes than many previous inhabitants won by, so the earliest Obama’s achievement could possibly happen again would be 2024. It was a special time.
On the one hand, it was nice. Lots of people read it and decided that I had something to say that resonated with them. On the other hand, it’s strange becoming – however briefly – public property in this day and age. The trolls come out of the woodwork. I could tell, to the minute, when it hit Reddit. Although to be honest, the nastiest, most blindly vicious responses I got came from an online knitting club.
I know. Surprised me too.
It still gets hits regularly, seven years later. Since that time the Republican Party has only doubled down on the insanity that I wrote about. It’s hard to think of the GOP of George W. Bush as the good old days of reasonable politics, but that’s just how clinically insane that party has gotten since then.
The current batch of idiots running that party seems to have abandoned all pretense of good governance, respect for laws or the Constitution, or anything aside from the unbridled pursuit of raw political power and economic greed. They've become an authoritarian movement, which is in one sense ironic since they make such a point of shouting about freedom but which in an other sense is perfectly predictable since they cannot win any other way.
Mostly this group seems to want me to be afraid. Brown people! AAAGH! Poor people! AAAGH! Gay people! AAAGH! Anyone who isn’t rich, white, male, neo-Fascist, and Dominionist! AAAGH!
AAAGH! AAAGH! AAAGH!
Actually, you could put together a pretty good society simply by including all the people they want me to be afraid of and leaving out the ones they want me to support. I find the GOP to be a good barometer for moral behavior that way – you simply find out what they support and do the opposite. Never fails.
Plus, I’ll be damned if I’ll let them scare me.
Fuck that. They can be scared of me.
Shortly before the 2016 election I wrote a post here that summed up a lot of that feeling, and then shortly after the election I condensed much of it into a meme – one that used up most of my graphic design skills but which seemed relatively well done to me. I posted it on Facebook and it got a few likes, and at some point I printed it up fairly large and made it into a sign that I carried to a number of protest marches around this part of the world. People seemed to like it.
So this Fourth of July, as I surveyed the rapidly encroaching Fascism of the GOP (fuck it, people – we have actual goddamned concentration camps now and if that doesn’t piss you off then you have no soul, no conscience, and no claim on American patriotism) and decided to repost it on Facebook.
A friend asked me to make it public, which is why I’m not posting it here.
Last time I checked it had been shared more than 15,000 times. I think a lot of people are tired of being told they should be afraid all the damned time. We were a majority in 2016. We’re an even bigger majority now. People should remember that.
On the one hand, it’s nice to have gone viral again. The meme resonated with a lot of people and they have said some very generous things to me about it, and to each other – I can see those when I check the shares. I wrote it to be shared and I’m glad that it is making the rounds. On the other hand, well, I blocked one troll yesterday and there’s another on notice. I also have a pile of friend requests from people I don’t know from any other context, which is generally not how I use Facebook. It’s nice to be asked, but no, thank you.
In these parlous times it helps to remember what this country can be when it is at its best and not being driven to insanity by its worst.
I am an American.
I am not afraid.
These colors do not run.