I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right.
I don't need to be forgiven...
This interaction pretty accurately reflects my experience over +30 years out in the Real World attempting to calmly reason with Republicans in my family, my community, my workplace and just out and about socially.
At the NRA Convention someone told us that hammers are used to kill more people than guns. So we looked up the stats in front of them. pic.twitter.com/ju5R8Pqbvk— The Good Liars (@TheGoodLiars) May 31, 2022
The conversations were more cordial back when it was just Rush Limbaugh on 1,000 radio stations telling them every day that Slick Willie, gays, Libtards, welfare queens and feminazis were to blame for their problems.
Since then the tone has escalated to venomous, blustering, whiny hostility.
However the Dissociative Rebuttal Box Step they dance has never changed.
First, you need to understand how desperate Republicans are to validate their ludicrous beliefs by sticking it to some smarty-pants Liberal. Sure, they get plenty of affirmation from their peer groups --
Longtime readers know that "The Tribe That Rubs Shit In Their Hair" is my shorthand for inbred Conservative meatsticks who have wallowed in wingnut Hate Radio racist dung and Fox News Liberal Conspiracy claptrap for so long that is has become the quotidian argot of their wretched lives. It is their tavern-talk -- their worst, paranoid delusions, externalized, validated, tarted up as The Unvarnished Truth and then regurgitated back to them by ghouls and treason-mongers like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly... which are, in turn, passed around again like so many fish stories, getting bigger and wilder and truthier with iteration.
It is the shit they eagerly rub in their hair -- the shit which, year after year, they sculpt into ever more elaborate pompadours because everyone else in their dingy, lightless corner of Universe is doing it and they lost their sense of smell 40 years ago.
They preen over each other. They are happy in each other's company. They praise each other on the little, individual touches with which they have customized their Shitheap Toupees -- an extra layer of Benghaaaazi, perhaps, appliqued over something something the New Black Panther Party because ACORN!...
-- but telling off some know-it-all Lefty well, that's their tribe's idea of heroically counting coup.
Of course the flaw in their cunning strategy is that their dearly held beliefs are mostly stupid and the "facts" they brandish with such swagger are easily debunked nonsense.
For example, from long before the rise of Trump and excavated from deep inside my civilian email archives comes this item which I believe can still be found in the collector's edition of the "Liberals Are The Real Racists" box set. This was the iron-clad "proof" that Hillary Clinton had once gone in blackface to a party, because that's obviously a young Bill Clinton standing next to her.
Except, of course, it's not, which took me all of 90 seconds of basic internet searching to verify.
We now enter the Dramatic Re-Enactment portion of our show, because what follows is the distilled essence of virtually every such interaction I have ever had with goofs like this out here in the Real World.
The goof replies: Well that's Snopes. Everybody knows Snopes is funded by ... George Soros!
And just like that the Dissociative Rebuttal Box Step box step has begun. From this point forward, the goof will forget that he brought his shit to my door and not the other way around, and his replies will get progressively more pissed off and more defensive.
Me: Don't see what Soros has to do with anything since the Snopes article links to an original source, but OK, here's another source. And another.
Goof: Yeah, but whatabout this other thing that also proved that Liberals Are The Real Racists.
Pause for 90 seconds while I debunk that too. It goes on like this for a few more rounds.
Me, eventually: Look, I've gotta ask, why do you keep believing the people who tell you these things? They're clearly feeding you bullshit? You're a smart guy, so what does it take for you to stop listening to them?
And then, out of the mouths of these stone-cold GOP culture warriors invariably comes the Beltway Acela Corridor voice of David Fucking Brooks.
Goof: Y'know, both sides lie. Lefties are no better. They're usually worse.
Goof: Remember when Clinton said he wasn't fucking whatshername? Remember when Obama said I could keep my doctor? Huh! Remember that! And don't forget Benghaaaazi!
Fun fact: These people, who will swear on the lives of their grandchildren that they can't remember or have no idea what heinous shit their own party was up to last week, or what they themselve swore they believed last year, all seem to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of every wildly overblown or outright fake Democratic "scandal" dating back to FDR.
And in just this short amount of time we have escalated from from "Gotcha now Libtard! Here's the iron-clad proof that you're the real racists!" to "Everyone's equally horrible and nothing matters so I refuse to feel bad about believing liars and voting for monsters".
So, now I have to decide, do I really want to waste more of my precious time detailing the actual history of the Republican's Arkansas Project? Or the actual policy details of the Affordable Care Act? All the tangible good the ACA has done and the endless shitstorms the GOP unleashed to try to kill it?
No I do not.
Because I have already done some variation of this round-and-round literally hundreds of times under all sorts of conditions. And what I have learned is that, in the end, goofs with the horrible ideas and who are are always betting with Chris Moneymaker confidence on their full-house of easily debunked bullshit will never budge a fucking inch.
Because their mental morass of bluster and paranoia and performative hyper-patriotism and lies and racism is not something external to themselves that they can be coaxed out of. It is who they are.
Because a lifetime of experience has taught me that behind every lie and excuse there will be yet another lie and another excuse. And another, and another, and another after that. Because this is not a case of trying to gently and empathically steer someone away from a poor decision. Nope. This is trying to talk an addict out of their addiction: an addict who will grab onto any tacitic, fling any excuse, to fight to the death to hang onto their addiction.
Well I don't know about you, but my patience and empathy pantry is now bare: emptied out by decades of escalating, gleeful GOP depravity, sadism, sedition and proudly willful ignorance.