You read about them in the papers, see them on the television and the net, hear them on the streets.
That is, a whole lotta ticked-off people, prone to peering into the shadows of every eventuality, major or minor, with which they disagree, or which doesn’t go their way, and discerning in the gloom sinister partisan puppeteers pulling the strings.
I am writing here about the people who politicize anything and everything.
My issue is not really about politics. It’s about overheated imaginations and the projections of knuckleheads who don’t know they’re projecting. While we’ve always had our share of them, today we seem to be in the midst of a full-blown knucklehead renaissance.
Lose a contest, and they’ll say the other side cheated because the world is set up for them to win every time, and of course, for others to lose. Any deviation from this order is cause for suspicion.
Hope this is a passing trend. I have my doubts. In fact, I am certain if a virulent, hitherto unknown toe fungus should appear, people would immediately view it through political lenses and, depending on where they stand, assign the fungal blame either to “conservitards” or “liberal pukes.”
Look, people, no side of the political divide has cornered the market on fools and jerks, and no side is entirely devoid of them. Those are human traits, and when I look around at the human race, I see an even distribution. Yet, if you were to believe all that the hyper-partisans say, you’d think all fools and jerks were concentrated entirely among the ranks of “those guys over there,” that is, the people they loathe.
To that, as MASH’s Colonel Potter would say, I say — horse cookies. No one is a fiend, a moron, a monster simply because he or she holds to one monetary policy or another, or protests a war, or cheers it on.
And by the way, no one is ugly because of their politics. I’ve heard some make that claim, and I have to ask: when did the notions of modern political parties get encoded into human DNA? We all start out as babies, so tell me, how do the newborn babe’s politics affect his or her bone structure, the placement of his eyes, the length of her nose, the prominence of his brow?
It’s blindingly stupid stuff.
I recently read about a Louisiana girl whose public school administration punished her because she’d danced at a private party arranged by parents, and at which parents were present. Nothing lewd or lascivious about it.
But someone filmed her dancing, and when the school grandees saw the tape, they gave this girl the boot, and stripped her of her student offices and her scholarship.
That was human beings overreacting, all right. Yet, predictably, online discussion about the girl broke along party lines. Trump and Biden got dragged into the discussion, and commenters summoned all the ghosts and demons of political failings left and right to flay either the girl or the school officials.
I also remember how in the aftermath of the riots that hitched their wagon to the protests following the death of George Floyd in the spring of 2020, blame was entirely cast onto the “thugs of the radical left.”
Is that so? Let’s take a look.
First of all, it’s useful to draw distinction between those protests and the rioters who commandeered the protests.
As far as I know, no one ever circulated, clipboard in hand, among the rioters, to politely ask: “Pardon me, Sir or Madame — uh, would you mind putting down that Molotov Cocktail for a moment, thank you, there’s a dear — are you conservative or liberal?”
If someone had surveyed the rioters — and lived to tell the tale — we would now have bona fide numbers to which we could turn to reveal the political makeup of the mobs. And I bet the numbers would tell us that many of the rioters saw their chance and waded into the mayhem simply to sate their inherent hate and lust for skull-cracking, burning, looting and destruction, with no thought to Republican or Democrat at all.
Alas, lacking any such numbers, people turn to the prejudices they harbor, and project the blame onto the people they despise.
Does this make any sense? Is this how the world operates?
It shouldn’t, but it does. And I hope you are as sick of it as I am.
Robert Whale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.