Some of us are patently not taking the high road

Dear President Trump,

Among the things that saddened me so much yesterday was having read the WP article about Christopher Blair, a liberal blogger who started a Facebook site called “America’s Last Line of Defense.” Apparently there are numerous disclaimers on it, including “nothing on this page is real,” and yet it has about 6 million views a month and Blair is living off the ad revenue. The basic idea is that he posts bullshit that’s consistent with the idea that America is under attack by liberals, immigrants, the rest of the world, space aliens, etc. It doesn’t matter how racist or patently illogical a story is – thousands will ‘like’ and share it anyway. Once someone has ‘liked’ or shared a post, Blair, or one of the hundred or so righteous liberals in his merry band, will mock the person and call them the equivalent of a lame dumb ass.

In addition to seeing what he could get away with and venting some frustration, Blair originally seemed to hope that showing conservatives how they were duped by misinformation could help some be more discerning in the future. However, whatever nobility might have informed the enterprise at the beginning has fallen away entirely since there is money to be made and an endless stream of idiots to ridicule. Maybe there are some people out there who, when the error of their ways was pointed out, gratefully said “geez, I need to be more careful in the future and do my fact checking!” but those people were not profiled in the article.

Instead, a single elderly woman living in the middle of Nevada was described in a before and after Trump way. Before you: she traveled, met interesting people, and challenged herself with exacting needlepoint projects. After you: she spends every day combing the Internet looking for things that portend doom for the country. She may be an extreme example, but she’s one of the thousands Blair suckered into believing the worst about her fellow Americans. She was also impervious to the corrective (assaultive) feedback and went on ‘liking’ and sharing flagrantly false stories from Blair’s site.

I wonder whether she might be open to taking a step back if the feedback she got was framed more kindly and our universal tendency to believe things that reinforce our biases was explained. I don’t know. I doubt it and clearly that’s not how Blair is choosing to operate. What I do know is that I feel sick to my stomach over the whole thing.

May we be safe from manipulation from all corners.
May we hold up and not frenzy feed our biases.
May we deal with everyone in forthright, healthy ways.
May we realize peace and communal ok’ness require respect and compassion.

Tracy Simpson

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