The following is from a Tweetstorm I composed yesterday in the hours before that shitshow of a “debate.” There are probably some spelling and grammar errors, because for the most part, I just copied and pasted from my Twitter account, @soonergrunt.
Someone asked me recently why I’m a dick to Conservatives who engage me on Twitter. I’m not to everyone. @RadioFreeTom is a notable example. There are others. But I’ll tell you the answer now. I came to political conscience in the age of Ronald Reagan. I liked him as a person, but I didn’t agree with him on much. But I respected him. He was my President, for one thing, but also my parents taught me that the other side were decent people who wanted what they saw as best for the country. They just happened to usually be wrong. And sometimes they were right. That kind of consideration is something I’ve rarely received in return. Rare enough that I remember a lot of those respectful interactions. They stick out due to their rarity.
What I’ve heard most of my adult life is that as a Democrat and a Liberal in particular, that I didn’t love my country. Liberals in the Army get used to this kind of thing very, very quickly. We learn to keep our mouths shut. The same NCOs and officers who are telling you that ppl like you should be killed for treason are the same people writing your NCOER. They are the same people who are supposed to risk their lives for you. Even after serving as a combat infantryman, some of the guys I served with, and a LOT of civilians still would say things like that. This kind of thing was pushed a little bit by Reagan, but a LOT by Newt Gingrich. And it’s burned into the modern Republican Party’s DNA. FOX News monetized this. Tune in, anytime day or night, and you’ll see what I’m talking about within a few minutes. Millions watch daily. The typical Conservative is so incredibly vicious because s/he has been raised on a steady diet of vitriol and hate for 2 decades now.
It’s to the point where Conservatives who aren’t calling for a Liberal to be killed, who aren’t calling for a Liberal’s daughter to be raped who aren’t calling for a Liberal to lose his employment are the atypical ones. You spend 30 years hearing this kind of thing, and maybe you aren’t quite so open minded and accepting anymore. It’s hard to take people at face value, because you’re just waiting for the other shoe.
There’s probably more than just the 4 or 5 Cons that I follow that are worth following. There’s a lot of people on Twitter after all. But they’re very hard to find in this bitterest of election years.
@SopanDeb had a couple of tweets yesterday about talking to Establishment Republicans who were, in his words, shocked at all of the hatred directed at Hillary Clinton from the right. That they considered her just another cynical politician. I RT’ed that with a hearty ‘fuck you’ or some such attached to it. Today’s ‘establishment Rs’ came up on that attitude and behavior. They are the principle actors and benefactors. Well, right now we’re watching the Republican Party self-destruct. Where it is because the party and intellectual leaders on the right have, for decades, sold them on the idea that they are the only true patriots and that anyone who opposes them is aligned with the enemies. And now, as was inevitable, they’ve turned on the Conservatives who aren’t complete assholes. Well, I’m not really sorry for them. They are reaping what they have sewn.
When I was a kid, there were Conservative Democrats & Liberal Republicans, and most people held views that occasionally crossed ideological lines. I tend to believe in a much stronger military and more robust foreign policy than many of my liberal brethren. It is essential to the health of the Liberal movement and the Democratic Party, and most especially to the political health of the Nation for there to be a functioning, engaged Conservative movement and a center right party. I don’t know if the Republican Party will survive or if something else will rise in its place, but it’s going to take a while. It took decades to get here, and it won’t be changed one way or the other overnight. I take some small consolation that many Conservatives are now experiencing what people like me have for decades. But schadenfreude isn’t something I should be proud of.
It’s going to be interesting to watch, but I really am worried for the near-term future of the country. I do believe that in the end, things will be OK. I believe that most people are essentially good and decent in their hearts and that my kids will see a better country and a better world. If you’ve made it this far, you sure are a glutton for punishment, but I thank you for reading.