We all have those friends on Facebook who have always been conservative. In today’s polarized political climate we’ve all probably also unfriended a fair amount as well. Politics is one of those topics that can reach critical mass and send you screaming from that guy you’ve known since third grade who shares that stupid fake Barry Soetoro ID or that girl you had study hall with in high school who shares anything and everything Sarah Palin has to offer.
With the rise of Donald Trump, however, there comes a new trend: Radicalized Americanism. People who are enticed into the political arena by talk of “change” who have never ventured there before, only to be drawn into a quagmire of idiotic memes and conspiracy theories. Last month they were sharing pictures of a glass of scotch or a well-cooked ribeye; this month they’re sharing Blaze videos of Tomi Lahren and “proof” that Hillary Clinton murdered people in cold blood and refused to answer a phone call from Benghazi at 3AM that never happened.
When something like that happens, it hurts. I’ve been watching over the past month and today it finally happened. Today was the day I knew a good friend had been radicalized. Because we interact so often, I see a lot of his posts. Today he shared this:
The story itself enraged me. The narrative that people are upset about Donald Trump saying the word “pussy” is preposterous. It’s vulgar, yes, but the word isn’t the issue. The issue is that the man sexually assaulted women and admitted as much. I had no choice but to respond, which I’ve been trying my hardest to do with this particular friend:
I tried to be less trollish than I am with the typical right-winger because this friend has never been a right-winger. He’s always seemed to agree with me on posts about things like gun control and a woman’s right to choose. When he started posting pro-Trump, anti-Hillary memes and articles I chalked it up to where a lot of non-political Americans are right now: completely frustrated with the lack of action by congress. That kind of frustration is often aimed at the president.
Then it happened. The response came that made it completely clear that my friend was no longer the man I thought I knew. In what may be the worst case of mansplaining of all time, he justified Donald Trump’s Gropegate remarks:
All I could do was shake my head, let out a big sigh and move on. “The liberal media” is a key phrase for the ranks of the people who have radicalized him. I understand frustration and I understand the desire for change, but when someone who is not a stupid person, who used to work with me as a bouncer at a nightclub where people like Trump weren’t allowed to get within a mile of our waitresses and female bartenders, justifies Trump’s disgusting habits with “If they ‘let’ you do it it’s not sexual assault,” I know that another decent person has become a radicalized American.
I haven’t unfriended him, though I had to unfollow so I wouldn’t be saddened by more of these kinds of posts, because I’m holding out for hope that the insanity of this election season is just contagious and that come January some of the new Teahadists will throw down their anger and hate and return to their normal lives. I know…it seems like a lot to wish for, but I refuse to believe that the country I love and the friends I cherish are lost to me forever.