Befoire I get into the serious stuff, he’s a taste of Xmas fuzzy style.
Now let’s talk politics.
(Audience groan and rolls their eyes)
Before today, I had tho0ught that I would like nothing more than to have something I said spark off a lively discussion amongst those who read me.
Well I got that today and I hate it.
And I should have seen this coming, because on Facebook, the people involved aren’t just “people”, they are “friends and loved ones”, and for my entire life, I have hated it when people I cared about fought.
To me, it’s torture. Absolute torture. The pain involved is hard to describe.
Thesource of the tension is not, however. The tension comes from having my adrenalin pumping due to the angry atmosphere but being unable to give it vent because you love and care about both these people and they are both the aggessor and the victim.
When I was a yoiunger and more hotheaded person, I vented the anger at the conflict itself, and turned two angry people yelling at each other into one angry person yelling at two highly bewildered people.
Not really an improvement. But I was in a lot of pain.
The worst was if two friends asked me to choose between them. I will not do that, I cannot do that. They were basically asking me to tear my soul in half and then pick a half, and I absolutely flatly refuse to do that.
That hasn’t changed. That is still my position
But note that the abovementioned case, there is no moral context. It’s a pure hypothetical and presumes that this is a straivght up “who do you like more?” kind of scenario. I have encountered said situation. And I fucking hated it.
If there is more than that going on, I will definitely choose the side I think is right. That won’t (hopefully) determine who I am friends with in the future and who I am not, but it does mean that I will render judgment if that proves necessary.
That’s a last resort, though. First I will attempt to mediate. A lot of interpersonal conflict boils down to either two people not meaning the same thing when they use certain words or someone being blind to the emotional consequence of their actions on others.
It’s a skill I picked up both from a “yelling at the dinner table” filled childhood and the lessons I learned from the greatest fictional judge ever. Judge Harold T. Stone.
He taught me that conflict resolution is not about choosing side, it’s about resolving differences between people. With the right mediation, a nasty horrible angry situation can be turned into a happy, peaceful situation in which not only is the conflict resolved, but everyone leaves feeling a little more human, and closer to their fellow humans.
And as far as I am concerned, that is a miracle. Fuck turning lead into gold… turning anger into love is the real Philosopher’s Stone.
And I have pulled it off. And it felt even better than I thought it would. I was floating on a cloud of magnificent karma bliss for hours after that.
They should send me to the Middle East. Seriously. I could get shit done.
It doesn’t always work, though. The times it does are rare and wonderful. But sometimes, it’s not a misunderstanding, it’s abuse, and abusers abuse because that’s how they deal with their emotions and hence are addicted to abusing, and are perfectly capable of creating whatever rationalization they need in order to justify it because that is how addictions work.
Addictions hollow people out by displacing all other mpotivations and making everything in the addict’s life about them, and at a universally overriding priority.
In other (less fancy) words, nothing is more important than the next fix. Not your job, not your friends, not your spouse, not your kids, not your religion, not your morals, and most definitely not your physical wellbeing.
Back one bracket. The abuser needs to abuse, but is also aware that aggression towards the innocent is more or less the human definition of “bad”.
I mean, imagine someone walking up to a total stranger and punching them in the nose. Just because they felt like it.
That’s almost incomprehensively wrong.
Now imagine that instead of a perfect stranger, that was one of the people they loved most in the world.
That’s what abuse is, in the real world.
Now imagine that instead of a sock toi the nose, you substitute a verbal tirade aimed directly at the loved one and being both terrifyingly angry and extremely violent, meant to inflict maximum pain.
That’s what living with a verbakl abuser is like.
Like my Dad.
Two or more brackets back : so no, I am not happy that my friends are arguing politics in one of my Facebook threads.
The fact that several of them are conservatives only worsens things. I live in a media bubble where I never have to be directly exposed to the anti-civilization madness that calls itself conservatism these days.
And they do the exact same thing. Why do we do it? Because we can. Because the internet makes it so easy. Because given the choice, people choose not to be exposed to things that will make them feel bad.
In my case, the frothing trolls of modern conservatism don’t make me angry any more. Just depressed. I am too aware of the forces at play to get truly angry at these people. They, too, are just trying to get through life and make sense of the world.
Andmaybe they are honestly doing the best they can.
But all it takes is one bit of the modern malady of madness to send my mood spiraling downward, like a deflating balloon.
And I have a choice. I could unfriend the conservatives. or block their comments, or just tell them to fuck right off.
But no. I won’t do that. My stubborn intellectual pride won’t let me. That, to me, would be tantamount to surrender. It would mean tacitly admitting I can’t handle what they are saying, and I could never do that.
I am far too stubborn, prideful, and pugilistic for that.
So I know that, eventually, I will have to wade into the debate, say my piece, make some peace if I think things are getting too heated or personal,, and let myself be drawn into the malestorm instead of remaining remote like usual.
And that…. sucks.
I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.