Over the last couple of weeks I've felt more alienated from the American liberal internet than I can ever remember feeling before.
It started with Orlando. In the wake of the deadliest religious mass murder of gay people in US history, the liberal blogosphere's solidarity with the victims was soon eclipsed by -- a bizarre obsession with the particular method
of killing used. For every posting about religious bigotry and homophobia, there were ten postings about guns. Guns, guns, guns. Within a week I actually caught myself wishing that, if this slaughter had to happen at all, the murderer had at least used some other weapon such as a pipe bomb or a suicide-bomber vest. Maybe then we could have stayed focused on the real issue, and the deaths of those 49 people would have meant something. I still have some hope that eventually they will
, but the diversion of blogosphere energy from bigotry into the tired old gun-bashing rut is not encouraging.
The honorable exceptions were, as usual on these issues, Comrade Misfit
, who showed more patience than I would have in trying to make people see sense
-- and of course Republic of Gilead
, whose mission has always been the exposure of religious bigotry. But theirs were lonesome voices.
Then tragedy was followed by triumph. My years-long dream became reality as the land of my family's origin voted to break away from the undemocratic and parasitic European Union. It felt like the day the Berlin Wall fell, heralding the eventual break-up of the Soviet Empire. But my personal connection with Britain made the exhilaration all the greater.
And immediately almost all the liberal internet erupted in a paroxysm of poisonous idiocy. With Orlando, at least, most bloggers did offer some solidarity to the targeted population, even if they quickly changed the subject to guns. With the Brexit vote last Thursday, there was almost no such concession to sanity or respect whatsoever.
No one seemed to have any knowledge or awareness of the actual issues -- restoration of national sovereignty and independence (however sacred if it were a Third World country involved), the desire to return power from an unelected oligarchy to an elected government, the economic devastation wrought by the euro currency and the EU's enforcement of (very Republican-like) austerity policies on already-weak south European economies -- or the implications of the fact that polls show support for the EU plummeting in all its member states
, not just in the UK. That's hundreds of millions of people who have been living under the damn thing for decades. Which is more likely -- that they are totally misreading their situation, or that you
are totally misreading their situation?
(I should mention a couple of further honorable exceptions -- Green Eagle
and Ranch Chimp
, at least, saw the absurd apocalyptic hysteria over inevitable market fluctuations for what it is. But they're oases in a very large and toxic desert. If you want to know what's really going on, take a few minutes to watch this
. It's five years old but it directly explains what happened on Thursday.)
Bloggers who should know better rushed to ridicule the democratic decision of the British people (soon likely to be replicated in any EU member state where the public gets a chance to vote on its own future), based apparently on some combination of received opinion from the popular media, the fact that Donald Trump approved of the decision (remember the old adage about a stopped clock being right twice a day), and, bizarrely, a perceived similarity between Trump and Boris Johnson, based on a slight physical resemblance and a tendency toward iconoclasm. I always knew Americans tend to be ignorant about the outside world, but this is astonishing. Is it really impossible to look at other countries' politics except by ridiculous, shallow analogies to something American?
Even stupider have been the efforts to legitimize this reaction by zeroing in on one individual who was quoted as saying he didn't think his vote would count (every population includes a few idiots), Google searches about what exactly leaving the EU will involve, and suchlike, in an effort to depict the British people as naïve fools who didn't know what they were doing. Trust me, they knew. This contemptuous disdain for the will of the people when they vote against the rule of a self-appointed oligarchy is exactly the kind of thing I'd expect from the authoritarians who support, well, Trump -- or worse.
I'm sorry, but I simply don't have the mental resources to cope with this tidal wave of idiocy right now. I have ongoing challenges and claims on my energy which I've never mentioned here, I've been struggling for months with a physical problem which creates intermittent severe pain and difficulty walking, and I'm facing major surgery in the near future. I'm already under considerable strain. I can't, on top of all that, deal with seeing so much of what's important to me under attack from people I consider allies. At the very least, I need to disengage until all this crap blows over.
Then, too, there's the US election coming up in a little over four months, with probably more at stake than in any previous election in my lifetime, and I need to be in the right mental state to contribute what I can in the run-up to that.
Something has to give, and this is what it's going to be. I will be getting completely away from the political internet for some period of time. That includes this blog (which I never meant to be mainly about politics, but tends to run that way these days). I'll be back at some point, but I don't know when. It depends how I feel.