I’d say I was debating politics on Facebook yesterday, like you do, except that the word “debate” implies some sort of discourse, hopefully intelligent, in which opposing opinions are laid out, maybe with some sort of facts to support why that opinion is held. What I was engaged in yesterday was more like a barrage of insults because I’m not a conservative.
And before you can say it, I know–some days, this blog reads more like Who Was Mean to Janelle Today. But that’s not totally the point. Bear with me.
I was called “silly” first, which is tame and easily brushed off, but then this person tagged me in a comment on the unrelated status of someone I don’t know, presumably to drag me into a debate wherein everyone would gang up on me and tell me what a dumbass I am. Back on my original post, there was some back and forth between others when my lovely dad chimed in with a mostly unintelligible comment about his deployment in Iraq, at which point the aforementioned douchebag thanked him for his service but decide he also had to throw in that this meant he is unlike “spineless liberals” who have no respect for the military.
While I may not support some of the conflicts this country has involved itself in, I actually do respect the military, and this is one of my major political soft spots. For starters, supporting a war and supporting the people unwillingly sent to fight it are completely different, and only homicidal people are fine with the prospect of people getting killed on either side.
But the bigger issue here is what it implies about those of us surrounded by soldiers. My dad and I might not have a good relationship and I certainly don’t think some heroic things he did in Iraq make up for what a shitty husband, father, and general human being he can be, but they do deserve some respect. Beyond that, I had a great-grandfather who I believe was killed in WW1 due to mustard gas, a grandfather who fought in WW2, and an uncle who has worked as a medic plus moved around my whole life due to his service. My best friend’s husband–who is a close friend of mine himself and actually feels like he’s my personal bodyguard, he’s so protective of me–is currently in Naval school, and a man who will most likely be my brother-in-law one day is a new Marine. So pay attention to who the fuck you’re talking to. Furthermore, tacking that little bit on serves zero purpose other than insult. If he’d wanted to thank my dad for his service and had sincerely meant it, he would’ve done it and left it at that, but he didn’t–he had to make it a point to make himself seem superior to other people because of it, to make himself look and feel like his views make him a better person. Funny coming from someone I saw at a party in blackface.
Unsurprisingly, I snapped, said, “Fuck you,” and called him an asshole. Am I proud of that? Not necessarily. And while I admit that I should’ve waited a minute or so and posted something more constructive and given him a less profane verbal beating, I actually stand by having said it.
One of the things I’ve noticed in the past year or so–and longer, really, I just let people get away with it until then–is that more and more, people keep saying and doing whatever they want to each other with no thought to consequences or hurting someone, and this spans all ages, genders, and beliefs. Every single one of us is guilty of it at some point, really, but some of us are either more aware of it or make a greater effort to keep it in check or both. Thinking of the most recent and obvious examples I’ve encountered, there’s Paul’s mom and his sister Julie. The asshole who left a note on the windshield of a former classmate who had cancer berating him for parking in a handicapped parking space, claiming he isn’t disabled when he really wears a brace, walks with a limp, and experiences constant pain. There’s some asshole in the Navy with Scott to go along with all the other assholes that were supposed to be in his group in training but got kicked out for refusing to listen to orders, and in the case of one guy, saying to a female drill instructor, “I don’t have to listen to you, bitch.” Actually, yes, you do–this is the military. But I digress. And really, this kind of free-for-all is ultimately why I left the Craigs. No matter reasons or my breaking point, the bottom line was that some of them had just been saying and doing whatever they wanted.
People are careless with each other, and that’s not okay. Really, the only proof you need of this is the comments section of basically any website.
And here’s why I don’t fully regret telling someone on Facebook, “Fuck you. You’re an asshole”–it was self-defense, whether or not that was the appropriate form of it. All of these people who make this a habit get away with it, for the most part, because no one will stop them and say, “What you are doing and saying is not okay.”
It just so happens that I’ve gotten so fed up with this that I have started to say, “What you are doing and saying is not okay.” And usually, defending yourself makes you the bad guy, which I guess is understandable when you’re dealing with people who think being terrible is okay in the first place. I’ve pissed people off and have been called selfish and immature for essentially saying, “You hurt me, and I’m not going to put up with it.”
But I’m not sorry for it. I won’t be made the bad guy for standing up for myself and others. It’s ridiculous that a person will be legitimately mean to someone else then be surprised and offended when it turns out they hurt someone. What do you honestly expect?