Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Coming to Terms With Right Wing Lies and Hypocrisy

I think there's something that many people in this country are having trouble dealing with - particularly those of us on the left. Perhaps exclusively those of us on the left. Or maybe not, maybe it's just that people with different political affiliations have different reactions. But the point is, us lefties need to figure out how to come to terms with and appropriately respond to the massive amount of blatant lying and hypocrisy that the right is throwing out without any hint of self-awareness.

I myself have struggled intensely with this issue. It's another of those things that I have a desperate need to understand on both an intellectual and emotional level but can't. I have always thought that lies and hypocrisy are bad, and that if you are caught in an obvious lie or blatant hypocrisy, you're in trouble. Your credibility as a news outlet or politician is severely harmed. In the case of hypocrisy, things have to grind to a fucking halt so that it can be resolved, because this thing doesn't match this other thing. They're in direct conflict and something has to change in order that shit can make sense again and we can move on.

These were kind of basic building blocks of human behavior, I thought. Basic rules. And increasingly over the past few years these rules have been violated again and again to the point that they've become obsolete. It's like if you were playing Monopoly, and every time you rolled the dice, instead of going the number of spaces dictated by the dice roll, you just went 12 spaces. Or however many spaces you wanted. This would make it impossible for your opponent(s) to win, yet every time they pointed out that you were blatantly breaking a very basic rule of the game, you ignored them and just kept going. That would blow people's fucking minds. It would be infuriating. It would be maddening.

The difference between this metaphor and real life is that we can't choose to just cut the cheating asshole out of our lives. It's not a game. And what's at stake is the lives of perhaps millions, maybe everybody.

I know. I don't understand how people can do it, either. I don't understand how people can lie, be caught in the lie, and keep telling the lie despite all evidence. I don't understand how people can engage in the most obvious hypocrisy on such a large scale and keep functioning. I don't understand how people can do this and maintain their status, let alone manage the pain of the cognitive dissonance. It makes me feel like my brain is going to split apart. Reality is not what it was. The rules no longer apply. It is intensely disturbing.

But we have to let it go. We have to stop trying to understand this behavior, especially on an emotional level. I've tried, and it's impossible. We need to switch our focus on how to counter it. Because pointing out the lies and hypocrisy doesn't do anything anymore. Donald and the so-called "alt-right" and their ilk are dedicated to ignoring those rules. They've decided those basic rules don't apply to them anymore and they don't care that they're cheating.

Try to think of it this way. It's an entirely different game. Stop focusing your energy on trying to apply the old rules to those who don't follow them. We need to change up our strategy, whether that means collectively refusing to play the game or to commit to cheating ourselves to level the playing field. I know I said before that it isn't a game but it's an apt metaphor and I'm sticking to it now. At the very least, we must refuse to waste our energy by defending ourselves from accusations of lies and hypocrisy, because those rules don't apply to the right anymore so why should we be held to the same standards? Stop acting as though there's any fairness or justice left in this country. There's not. It's gone. Come to terms with it and move on.

Then figure out a new way to play.

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