This blog is for you.
Yeah, you. I know you’re reading this. You know how I know? Because you just spent an entire Saturday night and Sunday morning on Facebook telling me how worthless my opinions are. Saying that is like repeatedly saying how much of a man you are (which you also did): if you have to say it...
I should have known better than to get sucked in. We’ve dealt with this before. But this time was far more vicious. I’m writing about it here not because I want to turn this into some LiveJournal drama from 2004, but because the points you made say so much about today’s Republican mind-set in general.
All of this started over my insistence that focusing on welfare was to ignore the much more substantial sources of money-bleeding in this country. Then I mentioned that I was unemployed. You seemed happy to hear that, because you immediately abandoned the issue-based discussion (which you were losing) and began to harp on that instead. You called me a “typical liberal mooch,” as if not only did my lack of work mean I was living high on the government teat, but that you were the one personally paying the tab.
Well, bud, I’m the opposite of a mooch. I’ve never drawn unemployment or welfare, and while I am staying with my parents, I’ve hardly needed any financial assistance from them. Yes, I don’t have much, but what I’ve got I’ve been able to stretch in ways even I didn’t expect. I’ve never had a whole lot, so you could say I’m skilled at spending wisely. With all your bootstrap talk, you should be happy about that! But no. Instead, I’m a hypocrite for...some reason. I never did figure that one out.
You then went off on some tangent about charities, and how I was a hypocrite there too for not donating. Even though I have several times. I (while unemployed) assisted with Katrina evacuation efforts, where I got paid in satisfaction and violent illness. Not that it’s any of your business, but I have also donated substantial chunks to the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Alzheimer’s Association, the United Way, the March of Dimes and the Salvation Army (and never declared a cent of it on my taxes).
Yes, taxes. I pay taxes. You know why? Because I’ve been out of work for a whole month and a half. Before that, I had five years of continuous, gainful employment (which I left to be closer to friends and family). I still have bills to pay. I have an unbelievable work ethic and want a new job more than anything. You seem to think I’m a serial freeloader who aims to rest on your hard work. You do work hard, right?
Contrary to your claims, I work hard. You claimed I’d never worked a hardscrabble job in my life. Well, I don’t think what kind of jobs you worked matter so much as what you’ve gained from them. That said, however, I have a surgically repaired back, a bum shoulder, two bad ankles and several scars that I didn’t get from typing. How about you?
I’d guess you work pretty hard. After all, you went on and on about how you’re supporting me and how you’ve got my back until I choose to get off my ass. Oh, and I should send you a thank-you note once — no, IF — someone ever deigns to hire ignorant ol’ me.
Such hubris! And we hear it from conservatives all the time. When I was at UL, the College Republicans’ motto was, “Work with us now or for us later.” There’s that well-worn bumper sticker that says, “Work hard...millions on welfare are depending on you.” A frequent argument against higher taxation is that the rich and big corporations employ lots of people, and we shouldn’t upset that. All of these notions reflect the basic idea that we peons should all be on our hands and knees and be grateful for the scraps that we get from our smarter, wealthier, benevolent overseers.
Somehow, I can’t stomach that notion. I’ve never been able to. I don’t know if it’s because I feel like the government should answer to the people, and that businesses should vie for my support (as opposed to citizens being subservient to both entities). Maybe it’s because in my experience, it takes as much toe-stepping as brains to rise to the top. Or maybe it’s that you push your notion with all the undeserved self-aggrandizement that many of my 7th-grade classmates did during the 1992 election. You’d have loved those kids; they were the very definition of, “born on third base thinking they hit a triple.” Entitled dickheads who not only thought less-fortunate people didn’t need help, but that those people should actually have it harder, you know, just to teach them a lesson. You could see the lust in their eyes when they talked about it. They were all self-described Republicans. Every single one. That’s notable because 12- and 13-year-olds aren’t supposed to care about politics. But that year at least, I took plenty of flack thanks to my Clinton-Gore T-shirt. (Even an older girl I had a crush on, but never talked to, got in her verbal licks. I didn’t know how to feel about that.)
It’s been interesting to see how many of them wound up. Some stayed that way. A handful got arrested and/or died. But I’d bet most of them matured and are now living happy, productive lives. In my experience, that’s what happens. You tend not to see such a juvenile superiority complex in people once they’ve had to live a little bit. But you prove that there are exceptions.
I think you’d have fit right into my 7th grade classes. Scratch that — you would fit in right now, as a grown man. Especially with regards to how you dared me to say these things to your face. I guess so you can meet me on the playground and call me a diaper baby? Maybe steal my cap off from the top of my head and play keep-away with your friends? Maybe because calling someone gay doesn’t have the same sting unless you’re hanging out with your fellow bigots?
You actually tried to cut me down by noting my singlehood. I had something earnest to say about that, but your wife came on and said she was horny and would you please go to bed already. I figured that spoke for itself.
Back in 7th grade, my mentors taught me that anyone who resorts to outlandish personal attacks is just trying to get a rise out of the other person. That’s just what you’re doing, isn’t it? We started off talking about the U.S. budget, but once you started taunting me about how I define “manly duties,” I knew it was time to call it a night.
You remind me a lot of other right-wingers I know who admit they like to “yank the chains” or whatever of those with whom they disagree. That’s either a cop-out when you realize you’ve crossed a line, or it’s just straight-up bullying. Either way, it’s weak. Hey, I’ve pinched lots of nerves in my time, but that’s a byproduct of making a point. I’ve never written anything with the express purpose of hurting someone’s feelings. Why would you (and others like you) want to do that? Are you bored? I don’t see how you could be. After all, you have a great wife and family, a nice place and lots of money. The good life, as you remind me constantly. That’s why you’re better than me, after all.
I think the saddest thing about this whole screed is that, if I removed a few particulars, several other people would assume I was talking about them instead of you. Because your hateful attitude doesn’t start or stop with you. In fact, it can be found in some of our nation’s highest-ranking leaders, and thus winds up codified in our laws. And that hurts a lot of people for audaciously arrogant reasons. And I don’t mean the way you tried to hurt me. I’m talking hunger pangs. Life-altering decisions made out of greed. Immorally leaving people in need so you can feel smug about winning in the Game of Money. You act like you have it all, but there’s a gaping hole where your compassion and tact should be. And there’s nothing more pathetic than a sore winner.
As I told you in our thread, you’ve proven to me once again how all the money in the world can’t buy one cent of class. In reading this, I hope you understand me a little better, and understand how you come off a lot better. I doubt it, but that’s the audacity of hope for you.