I don’t take enjoyment in watching other people in pain – physically, psychologically, or otherwise. I don’t think the Jackass movies are funny, nor the countless “It’s just a prank, bro!” YouTube videos. Sometimes a little petty justice/revenge or instant karma can be a bit funny, maybe more so with a guarantee that there aren’t any long-lasting effects, but I tend to still feel guilty.
Right now, I’m seeing so many people gloat and experience a sort-of ecstasy at the expense of other people’s fears that I can’t trust myself on social media. I tried to use a trending hashtag on Twitter the day after the election, only to find myself being threatened by a handful of angry white men within moments of posting about my lesbian and my African American co-workers’ concerns for their families.
Whether one feels the terror is perceived or real, the reaction to that pain is so depressing to me. When Obama won in 2008, I saw joy and celebration. People were crying happily and hugging one another. Then the racists started crawling out of the woodwork. And as the so-called “respect for the office” has dwindled, so has their courage deepened and become emboldened by the nasty rhetoric online and in the media.
In the past few days, I’ve seen a disturbing amount of internet comments calling people names, sharing clearly incorrect information to support their own worldview, and a lot of negativity. I’ve seen more than one Facebook friend post “Get it over it. Move on. It’s over.”
I don’t think a lot of people understand what was at stake for almost every minority in the US. Even if you’ve believed all along that the Republican who was running is a joke, never took himself seriously, and wasn’t taken seriously by the party, there are a great many people who believed what he said and plenty who barely waited a few hours to come out from behind the curtain and take over. And if you speak up or complain, you risk being threatened, harassed, and/or doxxed by the angry white people who just want you to shut up.
The whole “anti-PC backlash” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me since I think of “politically correct” as “trying to understand others and not be an asshole.” Yet, being an asshole is SUPER popular right now. You can’t turn around with out someone saying NO THIS IS MY OPINION AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT, even when it’s just an animated gif of a puppy taking his first bath. Someone will make it political or shit all over it.
I am glad to have more people than not in my life who are trying to find a way to work together and remain positive and provide help to those who feel under-served or fearful of their, their families’, and their kids’ futures. It probably won’t happen with safety pins or Facebook status updates. And it isn’t really about Trump so much as the anger he incited in others and his subsequent complete lack of interest in doing the job he was elected for. But there is something deeply disturbing about seeing a fellow human in tears while someone shouts to “Suck it up, buttercup” and spits in their face.