Sunday, September 9, 2012

Let's Talk.

When I have a day job, I like to get up early enough to give myself at least 30-45 minutes to catch up on the world: read the half dozen or so blogs I read daily, check out facebook. Now that I’m old and married, it’s also a nice time with my husband, the two of us propped up side by side with our computers.

Three or four times in the last couple weeks, our calm, restful morning hour has been invaded when I’ve opened facebook to the horror of a big photo of smiling Mitt Romney, below it “so-and-so LIKED Mitt Romney.”

For the most part we live in our closed loops. I don’t have Republican friends. You just don’t often find them in the circles I run in: artists, homosexuals, free-thinkers, feminists, peaceniks. Republicans have mostly been people on TV to laugh at, despise, puzzle over, fear, but to keep at a safe distance in real life. Now they’re in my facebook feed.

The bright side is that it forces me to be slightly more thoughtful about Republicans, to see them as something more than an abstraction of evil -- of course, that’s also the dark side: to be reminded that they’re real and among us. What’s really irritating is how the facebook feature that lets you know one of your “friends” LIKES Mitt Romney (or Paul Ryan, which is even worse, and I’ve had a couple of those show up to say good morning, too) does not let you comment on it.

If someone I knew and cared about were sitting in my living room and said, “I like Mitt Romney,” I would respond, “Are you fucking kidding me? What do you like about Mitt Romney?? What is there to like about Mitt Romney?” And in my fantasy, he’d spew some Fox News bullshit about apology tours and death panels and whatever the lie of the week is, and I’d rebuke it point by point, and he’d go home that night resolved to vote Democratic from then on. But on facebook, I can’t engage him. I just have to sit there and seethe, my morning ruined.

But like I said, we live in our closed loops. Maybe there’s something I don’t know about Mitt Romney, or Republicans. From where I sit, they look like liars and bigots (or at least people who don’t hesitate to lie in order to pander to bigots) who will do anything, say anything, in order to gain power and consolidate wealth. Will somebody tell me why this isn’t true?

What do you like about Mitt Romney and his party? To me, they are despicable, frightening, the worst nightmare of working people, African-Americans, GLBTs, Latinos, the poor, the middle class, political dissidents, artists, people of any religion other than Bible-literalist “Christians,” people of no religion, women, women, women, and women.

So break it down for me. Am I wrong? Is this unfair? If so, how? I say I live in a close loop, but I do make some amount of effort to scope out other points of view, and the only justifications for Republicans I've seen have been based on an elaborate and shifting skein of lies about President Obama.

Democracy is a conversation. Let’s talk.