For the most part, I avoid political debates with personal friends and family members who I know aren’t very sensible. I’ve found that if you want to keep these people in your life, it’s best to avoid discussing topics like politics or religion. Especially over the last few years where Republicans went from people who I simply disagreed with politically to folks who seem to live in an alternative reality that only exists in their own minds.
That being said, every once in a while, for whatever reason, a conservative friend will try to engage me in some sort of political discussion. Let’s just say, usually these debates don’t go very well for them.
Such as today when, out of nowhere, one of my Republican friends decided to bring up the topic of racism and Donald Trump’s controversial comments following the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia.
I received this text early this morning:
“I know you probably disagree, but Trump was right when he said both sides were to blame for the violence,” he said.
A bit stunned that a conservative friend who knows what I do for a living, and my views on Trump, would randomly message me to defend him, I simply replied with the first thing that popped into my head.
“That’s bullshit, but it’s a sad day in this country when Trump’s reduced people to defending Nazis because they’d rather do that than simply admit he’s a racist and an embarrassment to this country,” I replied.
“So you’re telling me that the leftist radicals who showed up that day didn’t come armed for violence,” he replied.
Knowing who this friend was, and that there was no amount of factual information I was going to be able to present to him to change his mind, I evoked an analogy I had told to another friend who said that Trump was partially right in that some on the left were to blame for what took place Saturday.
In fact, I sent my conservative friend an exact copy of the analogy I used:
Yes, I’ll fully admit, some on the left were wrong for being aggressive to such an extent that they could have possibly been trying to incite violence. I’ll even admit that some acted out violently against these white supremacists.
Yes, that is true – but that’s not remotely the same thing. It’s completely disingenuous to compare people who respond to vile, deplorable parasitic groups like the KKK or Nazis with the bottom-feeding creatures who proudly align with those hate groups.
I never condone violence. I always tell people protesting is fine, but always conduct yourself lawfully and with respect to the values for which you stand. Don’t give those you oppose a reason to blame you for anything. If something bad happens, let it be because they caused it — not you.
That being said, in some instances, even though I might not condone violence, I can understand it.
Think of it like this: imagine if some revolting predator sexually assaults a woman, yet gets away with it based on some legal technicality, even though he was unquestionably guilty. Then one day the father or husband of the victim happens to run across this person out in public. As they make eye contact, the sexual predator, knowing who the other man is, smirks and laughs at the fact that he knows he got away with assaulting his daughter/wife. Overcome with emotion, that father/husband then proceeds to beat the hell out of this animal.
Yes that’s wrong and it’s definitely a crime, it’s called assault — but it’s understandable. That doesn’t make what the father/husband did any more or less “right” or legal, but I think most people would empathize with him.
If this were a true story, what that father/husband did was unquestionably wrong, at least from a legal standpoint, yes — but that doesn’t make them as bad as the f*cking rapist.
Then I added this:
Except that’s the argument Trump, you, and every other person I’ve seen using this rhetoric is trying to make. That those who show up to oppose white supremacists dressed in military gear, carrying shields, semi-automatic weapons, holding torches, chanting and screaming repulsive things — at an event these hate groups organized — are “just as at fault” as these racist mouth breathers.
Violence should never be condoned, I will fully agree with that. But to claim both sides are “at fault,” when one side was simply a response to a planned event organized by groups of people who I hesitate to even call human, that is complete and total nonsense. Without the public display of unadulterated hate shown by these white supremacists, these “leftist radicals” as you call them, people you think equally share the blame, never travel to Charlottesville to oppose anything — because there wouldn’t have been any need to.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, that is true. Though using your “logic,” you’re essentially saying that all crimes, regardless of why they occurred, are equal. Which, to repeat the first thing I said when you messaged me, is complete bullshit.
You’re ignoring all context of the events that took place because you’re simply too stubborn, or perhaps just too ignorant, to admit that the guy you voted for and support is the racist and bigot people like myself have spent the last few years saying he was. Except now, to avoid admitting that you were wrong, and Donald Trump is indeed a terrible human being, you’re telling me that you’d rather defend the KKK and Nazis.
Just to let you know, you can still call yourself a Republican or a conservative, yet reject Trump. You do know that, right? You don’t have to sell your soul as a person to keep defending someone who’s going to go down in history as one of the biggest embarrassments ever.
That’s your call. If you want to be remembered in history as one of the people who stood in the side of members of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis, cheering Trump’s comments about Charlottesville, then go right ahead. Just know that in your children’s history books, when they talk about what a shameful moment in our history this event was, you’re going to be on the wrong side of it.
For a few minutes I didn’t get a response. Assuming maybe he had gotten busy, I didn’t jump to any conclusions. Then after all I had said, he finally responded.
“I’m done talking politics with you. Nothing I say will matter. You have your mind made up. I’m done,” he said.
“Wait, you don’t have anything better to respond with to my analogy about the father/husband and the sexual predator?,” I asked. “You’re simply ‘done’ after I used an analogy you clearly seem unable to counter?”
“I’m done. Don’t send me another message about politics and I won’t ever message you about the subject either,” he quickly replied.
And that was it. As quickly as it began, my friend scurried away, refusing to address the points I had made that clearly debunked the ridiculous talking point he was trying to use to defend Donald Trump’s remarks.
Certain that my friend is much too stubborn to have changed his mind on Trump, I didn’t need him to tell me that I was right — the fact that he was essentially left speechless after I used my analogy and soundly debunked the talking point he was trying to use was enough for me to know I “won” that argument.
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