“Those Guys Hate Me”

riot-smoke-bomb

I enjoy hearing someone say “Fuck you” to Milo as much as the next person so I watched the recent clip from the Bill Mahler show with a certain amount of glee because, seriously, fuck that guy. And before you come all up in my comments, yes I still think the ACLU is correct in their stance. Just because I don’t want to hear what someone has to say doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to say it. That, however, is besides the point because Milo said something that I think everyone by and large missed.

When the discussion turned to his ties with far Nazi right which is different and separate from the “not Nazi” Alt-Right (it isn’t) he said that those guys hate him. And this gave me pause, not because it’s not true (it probably is) but because this is the SAME thing Richard Spencer said before he got sucker punched on camera a few weeks ago.

“Those guys hate me.”

This is an important thing that both of these people have said and we need to pay attention because this is how they’re sliding their views to the masses and gaining legitimacy and followers.

“Those guys hate me,” which translates handily into “I am not those guys.”

Those guys are clearly reprehensible. Everyone understands being a skin head, Nazi, white supremacist is a problem unless you are straight up those things. People like Milo and Spencer give would be racists a third option. A way to excuse them from being the racist villian. An alternative to the right. An alt-right if you will.

It’s a way for them to say, “Whoa, I’m not like those guys! Those guys are BAD GUYS! I’m this other thing that those people hate!”

The people who identify with these movements are doing so because they think the rebranding of their hatred and ignorance makes it into something else. That just because the original brand hates the new packaging somehow it makes the contents of it different.

It doesn’t. The enemy of your enemy is not your friend, as much as they would like you believe. They are exactly the same bullshit as the far right. They’re just more ok with gay people and have better taste in clothing.

“Those guys hate me.”

Yeah ok, that’s nice. You’re still awful.

Advertisements

Milo Sucks But He Still Has Rights

Court House

The ACLU was having the best week ever after their efforts to help immigrants caught up in the President’s hasty and poorly thought out executive order were detained at airports across the country. People rushed to support them but this week isn’t so good as they’re tied to Milo Yiannopoulos and many of their new supporters are speaking of ending their support. Here’s the thing, don’t.

The ACLU is an organization with the goal of defending everyone’s civil liberties even those liberties that we disagree with or that they disagree with on a personal level. But their personal feelings don’t matter because they’re there to defend the Constitution and that’s exactly what we want and need in a free society.

Did the ACLU defend Nazis one time? They sure did when their civil rights were violated. But they were also the guys sitting on the floor in airports fighting against unjust orders that were keeping people from their homes. They are ALSO the guys taking on Facebook and the rest of social media for their bias against people of color.

The Blue Team is far from perfect but one of our biggest issues is our moral absolution. There are matters where this is the way to go because there are some issues that have no middle ground. This isn’t one of them. The ACLU is an organization that defends peoples’ Constitutional rights. It does not defend only the rights of people they agree with nor does it defend or support anything outside of those rights.

So, the ACLU isn’t defending Milo’s right to be an asshole and spew hate speech. What they are defending is his protected right not to be censured by the government for his bullshit beliefs. They are defending his legal right to say them.

They are defending his rights the same way they defended the rights of the people trapped by the travel EO. And the thing is, sometimes they’re going to side with things we disagree with but a lot of the time, they’re going support people who are being unfairly targeted and having their rights violated, and all of the time this will be based on the Constitution and what the law says.

We need that. Don’t play into the Red Team’s hand. They are COUNTING on us to jump ship the SAME exact way they counted on us to do so during the election with “crooked/warmonger/defended a rapist that one time Hillary”. This thing with Milo is a way to weaken the left’s resistance.

We know that the judicial branch is one of the best weapons we have. By pulling our support over this, we’ll be cutting off our own noses to spite our face. There’s going to be a lot of bullshit that’s coming down the line over the next few years and in order to keep groups like the ACLU primed and ready to put loafers and heels on the ground when we need them, we’re going to have to support them even if we don’t always agree with them.

So, if they need to show up for Milo to prove their unwavering support of the founding principles of this country, let them! As long of they keep showing up to protect our civil rights, rights to privacy, advocate for marginalized groups, and block every unconstitutional piece of nonsense that comes from this administration, then there’s no reason to stop supporting them.

Don’t Hit Share : Here’s what to do instead

blue-143734_1280

In less than two weeks, we’ve experienced rapid changes to our political landscapes and in the struggle to stay up on all the changes so we can understand the order of the new world, we have turned our newsfeeds into bastions of fear. The easiest way to combat this toll on our mental and emotional well-being is to stop hitting share on every news story but I don’t mean stop sharing the news.

Instead of just hitting “share” on a post, copy the link of the news article. It’s really easy from mobile. Next to the share button are three dots. Tap them and the second option in the drop down menu is “copy link”. Select that. Go back to your page, make a new post with your thoughts on the article and what the topic is. Hit post. Then, in the comments share the link itself.

By doing this, it removes the constant news reports that come with their “urgent” and “devastating” headlines so people can pace themselves without missing anything. The Facebook machine is going to push all those similar news reports to the top of your feed if you just push share because chances are, everyone is sharing the same article or handful of articles. By removing those headlines and photos from the direct feed, we’re still sharing but giving people some mental distance so they can stay engaged without becoming so quickly overwhelmed.

We need to continue to share and speak on what is happening in the world today. That is the only way we can prepare for things and make plans for the way the new regime may harm us. Social media is a powerful tool as it allows us to share news quickly, however, thanks to its algorithms, it is also giving us a window that is largely fear based and causing greater anxiety in its users.

That’s us. We’re the users.

We saw this after the election when we looked the feeds of people on the Red Team. What was found was that, aside from the “Fake News” problem (which was and likely still is a problem) were that these feeds were drowning in these fear based messages. The use of really salacious headlines and scary reports was designed to keep people engaged and clicking.

In the past less than two weeks, I’ve noticed my own timeline has become more and more anxiety filled as it’s flooded with news reports, all slated to get you to read them and I thought, “Is this what the Red Team has been dealing with all the time? No wonder they think liberals will be the death of the country!”

I don’t want the Blue Team to be that. I don’t want the Red Team to be that either but one problem at a time.

You may have seen the meme calling for people to “make Facebook fun again”. It’s a picture drawn in pen with different colored highlighters like it was done in middle school during a boring science class. Ignoring the art style, that meme is hot garbage and what I am suggesting is not that.

make-facebook-fun-again

I don’t think that people should ignore what is happening in the world in favor of puppy pictures. Puppy pictures are awesome but being up on current events is also REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT. That meme (and resulting thought process) treats political movements as a sort of hobby that isn’t particularly enjoyable right now as opposed to events that could affect one’s life for years to come.

Feel free to push share directly on single creator blogs and networks, they NEED the clicks to get their content shown. Times, Reuters, CNN, HuffPo, WaPo, etc, do not need Facebook traffic from clicks so moving the content to a comment will not kill them. But it will give people a chance to engage with the news in a healthier way.

Social media is important in keeping us informed but we need to adjust how we interact with it so the negative consequences don’t outweigh the positive benefits.