Well hello there, folks. It’s already Friday, and I’m sitting here with mild, vague discomfort in the left upper quadrant. I’m wondering if I have an ulcer, or something worse. It will either go away, or I will be forced to access the German healthcare system, which I don’t really want to do for a lot of reasons. I’m sorry to say that one reason I don’t want to visit a German doctor is because I don’t see the point of sticking around the cesspool the world is sinking into. I mean it. Every day, I feel a little more hopeless that things will ever be “normal” again, as more and more extremists try to shut down respectful discourse.
Last night, I wrote a rant about how people were busting my chops about a comment I made on an article about Virginia Military Institute. In that case, most of the people who were coming at me were people who are probably referred to as “liberals”. They saw a shocking 1997 era photo of a small young woman being screamed at by VMI cadets, and automatically assumed that the school is an abusive hellhole. For many people, VMI probably could be considered an abusive hellhole. When I commented, I repeatedly reiterated that it’s not the kind of college that I would have enjoyed. However, I know a lot of people loved their experiences at VMI. Should I champion shutting it down just because it’s not for me? Because I know that although it has a long history of racist and sexist policies, the truth is, VMI has made a lot of progress.
For instance, a couple of years ago, they finally took down the famous Stonewall Jackson statue that cadets had to salute every day. Stonewall Jackson is a legend at VMI, but he’s a controversial figure. The statue that was removed was a gift to the college from sculptor Sir Moses Ezekiel, Class of 1866, VMI’s first Jewish cadet, and a veteran of the Battle of New Market. It had been there since 1912, and thousands of young men, most of them White people, honored it every day. But times changed, and VMI eventually desegregated. In 1997, it became coed. And, after years of controversy, the statue was finally moved to a less prominent, less visible place.
Still, I’m sure that this week, new cadets are experiencing “Hell Week” as they enter the Rat Line. This is well-known ritual that has gone on for many years. It’s a variation of what anyone who joins the military goes through, although maybe people in basic training don’t get harassed by people only a couple of years older than them at the same level VMI “rats” do. But– people still choose to attend, and they are often rewarded for graduating. Just because it’s not for me, should I really be championing to deny that experience to the people who want it? Should people who have no experience or actual knowledge about a college or university have the right to declare it “abusive”? I mentioned last night that I have experienced abuse and inappropriate encounters many times, in various places and situations. Should I want to shut down Longwood University, because there are some assholes there who are abusive? I don’t think so. Because the good outweighs the bad– both at Longwood, and at VMI.
I wouldn’t want to attend a religious college. I would never willingly go to Brigham Young University or Pensacola Christian College. But many people go to those schools and love them. Some people thrive there. Isn’t it a great thing to have freedom of choice? People can and do vote with their wallets, right? We still have the right to vote. For now, anyway… I don’t think we should ban religious universities, just because I wouldn’t want to attend one. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable take. We all have a path in life.
So last night, I was feeling attacked by “leftist” people. This morning, I felt similarly attacked by right wing folks. I read a Washington Post op-ed about Liz Cheney. It was written by a man named Marc A. Thiessen, who titled his piece “Why Republicans don’t want to join Liz Cheney on her Kamikaze Mission”. The main idea of the op-ed is that Cheney sacrificed her political career because she’s more interested in defeating Donald Trump than “getting rid of” Joe Biden. Thiessen went on to blame a lot of global problems on Mr. Biden, and presented him as more “evil” and “corrupt” than the man who incited violence when he lost the presidential election, and has been trying to overthrow the government ever since.
So I made a comment along the lines that I don’t understand why Republicans can’t see that the emperor has no clothes. I don’t agree with Liz Cheney’s politics, but I respect her integrity and bravery. I don’t think we’ve heard the last from her. Personally, I think her quest to rid the country of Trump makes her heroic, even if I would never vote for her. She’s sane and decent, and she values our democracy much more than Trump and his cronies ever will.
Some guy came along, gave me an eyeroll, and sarcastically posted “Because Joe Biden has been so good for the country. Sit down.”
I responded to the guy thusly: “You sit down. I have as much right to comment as anyone does.”
Then another guy demanded that I “prove” that Joe Biden has been better. Then he called me a “dumb libtard.” I find this especially rich, since Facebook “restricted” me for using the word “dumb” a few months ago. But this guy can call me a “dumb libtard”, even though I am far from dumb, and I’m not particularly liberal. I’m for fairness and sanity.
So I wrote, “You obviously haven’t been paying attention, and you are a name caller to boot. Welcome to my block list.”
Then I blocked both men. I started thinking about this situation, and it reminded me of a discussion I saw on Janis Ian’s Facebook page. She posted that she had removed her Quote of the Day (today’s featured photo), because people were arguing about its merit, due to the controversial nature of the person who was quoted. I see that a few hours later, she reposted the quote, but limited who can comment on it. Below is the explanation she gave for removing it:
I’ve removed today’s QOTD. Though the quote was valid, and true, I have a busy day ahead and don’t feel like spending hours explaining to people that what’s important is the quote, not the person who said it. Let alone bouncing and blocking people who attack me for quoting a person they don’t like.
Judging by the initial responses, most posters worried more about the contemptible idiot who said it than they did about the quote.
I’m really tired of people trying to invalidate quotes because they don’t like the person being. quoted. Those are the same people who dismiss an artist’s work because they don’t like the artist’s politics. So let me ask this. How is that different from people who burned my records when they found out I was gay?
We don’t dismiss quotes by Socrates, a pederast. Roald Dahl was a racist and an anti-Semite. Hitchcock terrorized women, Chanel was a Nazi spy, Aristotle considered women “deformed men”, and John Lennon beat his first wife. I’ve quoted all of them to no objections.
So. Is it okay to consider a quote by a contemptible human being only if their politics agree with yours? Do you only learn from those you admire, or do you learn from anything worthwhile?
A lot of people insisted I remove the quote because of the person who said it. I want to be clear – that’s not why I removed it. I removed it because today, I refuse to spend my time back in grade school, playing hall monitor.
As they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
That thread generated a lot of discussion, with most people supporting Janis. I’m convinced that a lot of people truly do stay silent, because they don’t want to get into arguments with idiots. I will admit, that’s often me. I usually vent in this blog, instead. But I’m beginning to think that comment sections could benefit from fair, balanced, and reasonable comments from moderate thinkers like me. If it means I get trolled, insulted, and harassed, so what? I can always block them, and then bust them in my blog. But no, I will not “sit down”, nor will I allow someone to call me a “libtard” and then comply with their demands that I dance to their tune. Like I have said more than once, I am nobody’s ass monkey.
In spite of what some people might think, given my extreme anti-Trump attitudes, I am not against conservatives. I am against the bastardization of the Republican Party that is passing for conservatism right now. Until the party changes to something more moderate, I won’t be voting for Republicans, even if I admire some of them for doing what is obviously the “right” thing. There is no place for a corrupt leader like Donald Trump in our democracy. So I will speak out, and I will do my part to vote out these cancers on our society. I have to… because I have seen what else is in the world. Too many Americans have never left where they grew up, and have no perspective beyond what is two feet in front of them.
I won’t sit down. I won’t be quiet. And I am not going to either extreme. I think people have the right to choose, should vote their consciences, and speak out when they want to speak out. But this should be done in a civilized manner, with people hearing each other out and not resorting to name calling, ridiculing, or discounting. The people I’ve encountered in comment sections over the past eighteen hours or so are too busy pushing their narrative to learn new things. As Trump would say, that’s “SAD”.