The Way I See It

Two in one day…….


When I began writing this, I did not think it would become a defense of people and ideas that I find to be derelict and deplorable. It turned out to be just that. I struggled with whether to post it, because everyone is so easily offended, and lately hostile, to anyone who’s mindset or opinions differ from their own. But I figure we haven’t survived 241 years of being the best country on the planet without our share of disagreement, conflict, and strife without being able to endure actions, opinions, and attitudes that we often find to be disgusting and just plain wrong. And unlike a lot of my ideological counterparts, I think the First Amendment is our Founding Fathers’ greatest gift to our country.

That said, I decided to proceed with this blog post.

I recently read an article in Vanity Fair written by John Sedgewick about the pending elimination of several all-male final clubs. These clubs apparently came under fire after Elle magazine published an article, written by a female Harvard alum who was present for and participated in, what the thought police see as lewdness at a weekend excursion. There was a nude ice sculpture and the party goers did things with it that may make people blush. Or lose their collective minds.

This debauchery, along with another club hosting a pajama party, and the ongoing nationwide unrest and panic concerning sexual assault on college campuses, has led to Harvard engaging in what I see as a Puritan-esque witch hunt for these final clubs.

Their first gripe was, of course, sexual assault. Which, it seems, has become Academia’s go-to primary bullet point when they desire to attack an institution or a tradition they want to wipe out. When the data didn’t fit their rhetoric (75% of Harvard sexual assaults occurred in their co-ed dorms) they moved over to the exclusion of women and how that was contributing to the fact that women are underpaid and under-represented in certain areas of the workforce.

Women are underpaid. Women are under-represented. Women are sexually assaulted. These things are true. Does the existence of all-male final clubs on the Harvard campus and elsewhere make a difference in this? Maybe so. Does it make a huge difference? In my mind, hell no.

The article goes on to talk about the various proposals and actions Harvard has taken to eliminate these non-inclusive, non-diverse clubs. It read like a description of some fascist propaganda slung around in the 1930’s or some McCarthy-era horseshit from the 50’s.

All of this led me to think about our current state of affairs. Did the dipshit at 1600 have maybe a slight point, when he referenced violence “on both sides”? Does the “New Left” exhibit some of the same characteristics that their “Alt-Right” counterparts do? Is violence and antagonism being met with violence and antagonism, hidden behind the shroud of First Amendment protections? Do these two extremes accurately represent what most Americans feel?

My answer to the last question is a resounding “NO!” There is no way that most Americans subscribe to the thought process of the Alt-Right nor Antifa nor any other fringe group marching around like savages in our streets, antagonizing their counterparts with their rhetoric, chanting, signs, shields, swords, guns, and cars. No way.

As for the other three questions: I’m sorry my fellow Libtards, but my answers are all yes. Although one side is, in my opinion, on the “right” side, their own aggressive, antagonistic actions are contributing to the escalation of the violence.

We have gotten to the point that we are outright abusive to anyone that doesn’t think the same as we do, including friends and family. I am guilty as hell of it. I’ll own that. I am overcome with rage each time I hear or read someone defend Trump’s words and actions. Or someone denounces gay marriage. Or displays a confederate flag. Or says something that I deem to be racist. I get furious. To date, thankfully, I haven’t taken to the streets with a shield and a can of Raid to protest a protest.

The right to speak freely and openly is, to me, the most important part of our country’s foundation. Without it, we become conformists and robots. We become sheep. Like the Borg on Star Trek. One big blob of the same.

I rather enjoy differences. I can even find some enjoyment in things I loathe. For instance, the movie Smokey and the Bandit has caused me to piddle in my pants, as has Archie Bunker. On the flip side, Schindler’s List and Roots reduce me to tears and vomiting.

But, what I see happening now, is not something I am comfortable with at all. The “outing” of Alt-Right wackadoos on social media reminds me of the “outing” of gays and lesbians in the 80’s and 90’s when things weren’t so friendly.

Our presumption of moral righteousness should not also afford us the right to be intolerant of what others see as their own moral righteousness. Have we fought for so long and so hard for equality and tolerance only to become intolerant ourselves? Have we become the mirror image of what we previously loathed?

I’ve never wanted to be a sheep or a robot, and I’ve refused for all my life to conform to anyone else’s ideals or morals, and I don’t aim to start now. But I damn well don’t think it is right to force everyone to think like I do. As I’ve gotten older, I have tried to remove myself from people and situations that cause my blood pressure to rise. I have not pussed out nor turned a blind eye to them, but I have learned a lot about how to pick my battles. And I’ve also learned that if a person is just an asshole, they will likely always be an asshole. No amount of Twitter or Facebook fury will change them. No debate, no argument, no protest, will change their mindset.

Years ago, those three things may have swayed folks. But, not today. Not right now. There are two very populous, very dominate, and very opinionated generations seemingly running the show right now. And while they like to fancy themselves opposites, they are very similar.

I can’t speak about the Boomers’ childhoods other than to say that polio and segregation sucked. And maybe that is why they’re so fucking angry and grumpy and stubborn.

As for the Millennials, I watched it close-up. Due to advances in technology, along with having disconnected late-boomers and early gen-xers for parents, they have been able to largely separate themselves from people they did not like, or were mad at, or disagreed with. On the few occasions that they were sent to the yard to engage face to face with friends, once someone became a bully, or the game changed to one they didn’t enjoy, or the temperature got too high, they were able (allowed) to socialize on media in the comfort of an air-conditioned home, surrounded only by subordinates (pets) or the unliving (toys). The art of compromise and negotiation was not practiced on the daily. The acts of facing and fighting through adversity was not required of them. If they got mad at someone online, they logged off or switched sites, games, chat rooms.

Both groups are now very idealistic. And they are both unbending. And whether they lean left, or right neither can begin to understand the “other side” of any damn thing.

And that right there is a lot of why we are the way we are right now.


About Gretchen Mashburn

I am a 1996 graduate of the University of Georgia with a useless B.A. in Sociology. I now live in the armpit of Florida, the capital city. I am a wizard of all things, especially financial management, and a fanatic sports fan. I love to listen to music, read books, and watch TV. I especially love to drink, so I quit.
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