Battle lines.

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

As the battle (and why should it be a battle?) to disperse a big pile of money and relief to those who need it most goes on in Congress, I find myself arguing, jcbsplaining, and just plain trying to communicate with people (well, sometimes they’re people) on Twitter. Angry people. People who really don’t like those “demonrats.”

Well, let me be a bit more frank. I take this on myself, and I shouldn’t, for all sorts of mental health reasons, but the past several days when I could be learning new cool 3d modeling things, I am instead (I tell myself) speaking up for the working poor, for health care workers, for those maligned by the right’s very very broad brush.

And though I think of myself as someone who tries to follow enough of a spectrum of the American body politic (and even some Europeans where I can parse some of the language), I am blown away when this app opens a small door into a world that I don’t willfully turn away from, but clearly it’s outside of my day-to-day viewscape.

So I get some nasty comment from this one user on Twitter, ‘Coalonel‘ (no real name given.)

Like so many of these folks, his one-line biography is a secret decoder ring full of emojis:

Husband to 5⭐️DAR⭐️, DAD to 2 young ladies😇 and the Pretty Princess🤴🏻…….. 🏈is life🤙

And look at his 90 followers. Without their names, here are a handful of the bio lines:

Wife. Momma. Small Biz Owner. Speaker. Christ follower. Improv. Satire. Conservative.

TXT ME your name to stay updated 929-XXX-XXXX. ↓ Sub to my Podcast

Father🇺🇸Husband🇺🇸US Marine🇺🇸American🇺🇸Patriot🇺🇸

Video editor. contributor. I support President Donald J. Trump!

#ConservativeTHUG™ #RepubliCAN #liberaltearssipper #MAGAtron Pot Smoking Patriot

Campaign Manager for @realdonaldtrump 2020 Presidential Campaign. #MAGA #KAG #Trump2020

(yes, that last one’s Brad Parscale. Apparently he’ll follow anyone.)

This is the part of America that (apparently), if I followed just one or two of these folks on Twitter or created a Facebook account, would be the very political air I breathe every day. These are people that at my most empirical have to say are echoing ideas they’ve heard elsewhere (the bio lines give you a clue) and when those folks hear hey, no big deal if 3% of Americans die from this, then that’s what they say with as many exclamation marks as they can cram in. For them, socialism is a pure evil that only manifests on the Democratic side and powerful women leaders (again, Democrats) are “shrill”, “headstrong”, “bimbos.”

There’s a part of me that says I shouldn’t tune these people out. They’re people with bills to pay (health care bills mostly), kids to raise, fears and dreams. Car payments. Pickup truck payments.

They are as human as the people in Ireland, France, Italy, or Alabama that I follow.

But they’re also an embarassment to me as an American. So I try.