Arguing with Trumpists is exhausting.

 

liberaltears

I should know better than to argue with Trump supporters on Twitter or anywhere else. Several other people were involved in this thread. I have called them Person A, B, etc. The Trump supporter is called “Trumpist” and I’m just “ME.”  This is the kind of twisted logic we are up against.

Thread Starter: With Trump’s base showing strong preferences for authoritarianism, and continuing to support a serial predator of children [Roy Moore], it’s time to look this problem in its face. 1/ (first post in a long thread)

Trumpist: YOU are the ENEMY… you are the bad guy. Christians like me are fighting progressives like you with all our hearts. We just want to live with our traditional values without scum like you trying to push ‘progressive” bs on kids like my nephew. 😡😡😡😡

ME: Well fine but then why are you evangelicals trying to shove your religious agenda down OUR throats. And that is precisely what’s happening. To your side religious freedom only means the freedom to enforce your beliefs on everyone else.

Trumpist: because GOD wants you to inherit the Kingdom which is Heaven but you can not do that with this Progressive agenda. LGBT is a sin, coveting one’s neighbor is a sin=jealousy of the rich,

ME: First of all, I think you are wrong. My God doesn’t operate that way (and I *am* a Christian). Second of all, we have FREE WILL and should have the ability to choose our own eternal fate, not under the duress of theocrats and authoritarians who want complete control.

ME (continuing): Also we are not JEALOUS of the rich. We see a few billionaire oligarchs taking everything away from average people and actively TRYING to make our lives difficult. They have NO empathy. Most of them aren’t even Christians. The Kochs are atheists, FFS. Greed is IMMORAL.

ME (continuing): I suggest you read the Gospels, esp. the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew to see how Jesus actually expects Christians to behave. You guys are the false prophets we were warned about. Twisting Christianity to support your own selfish, immoral, sociopathic agenda.

ME (continuing): Coveting your neighbor? How about ROY MOORE coveting underage CHILDREN? And defending the rapist of a FOUR YEAR OLD? Huh? Explain how that squares with your hate filled brand of “Christianity.” The party of family values, my ass.

Person A (replying to Trumpist): so, you essentially want the same as ISIS then?

ME (to Person A): The dominionists do. They have much in common with ISIS and the Taliban, just substitute Islam with Christianity and it’s the same damn thing.

Person B (also replying to Trumpist): What values? Pedophilia?

Person A: If you want a fucking theocracy, go live in Iran or Saudi Arabia and leave this country alone. We have SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE HERE. If you don’t like it, get out. (accompanying ISIS/GOP comparison meme posted)

Person C: You most assuredly have this backwards. Christians like you are attempting to require non-believers, and other religions to live according to your values because you are afraid that your belief system is so weak that it cannot hold if kids are exposed to other ideals. 1/ (beginning of a new thread)

Person D: Hint: allowing other views to exist is not “pushing” them on you. It’s what is required for a free and democratic society. This tweet right here basically demonstrates the authoritarian instinct the thread us talking about.

Person E: Why are you fighting progress?

Person F: So, “traditional” values like bigotry, hatred and supporting pedophiles? Good luck with that. You disgrace Christianity with every word out of your mouth and Jesus rebukes you.

ME: I just retweeted that hideous reply from TRUMPIST because it’s a PERFECT example of what’s wrong with America. The theocrats and dominionists want complete control and apparently do not believe in FREE WILL.

TRUMPIST (replying to everyone): gays are wrong, period.  Killing babies is wrong, period. There isn’t anything wrong with praying in school. WRONG! We want those rich people to invest in America since they have the means, we don’t want war, some sense of morality in govt, what rights have women lost since the election?

ME: You really don’t get it, do you? I give up. Bye.

ME: (not replying to anyone in thread, which I left): Why am I wasting my day arguing with Trump supporters and religious nutcases? It’s an exercise in futility and exhausting af. Now I have to take a nap.

someoneiswrong

I slept for about 4 hours after that conversation and then spent the rest of the day feeling depressed and deflated, no energy at all.  It’s amazing the oxygen sucking effect these zealots have on us. Of course, it might be more emotionally draining to those of us who suffered narcissistic abuse and who find Trump (and his apologists) personally triggering.   We have to be careful to take breaks and replenish. But sometimes I wonder, how are we going to win when there are so many people (like a whole third of the country) who simply deny facts and who logic, reason, and even a simple sense of right and wrong simply doesn’t work on?

I think I’ve figured out their obstinacy. There are a great many people in the United States who WANT an authoritarian president, who WANT theocracy and WANT to be told exactly what to do. They WANT draconian laws for those groups of people they dislike. It satisfies their hatred and fear of those who aren’t like them.  They don’t even care if those same laws hurt them too (which they will).   As long as they get to see the people they hate suffer. 

I’ve heard far too many Trump supporters actually gloat about how they love to “trigger the liberals.” They don’t care how morally bankrupt a leader is, as long as he is upsetting or threatening the “Others” they don’t like (who they see as the real threat).   They joke about “liberal tears.”  There’s something sadistic and even sociopathic in this mindset, which is common in people with authoritarian personalities who are drawn to other authoritarian types.   Conversely, I don’t know any anti-Trumpists who enjoy upsetting or triggering Trump supporters.  In fact, most avoid it.   If we argue with them, we’re just trying to get through, for all the good that’s going to do.   You hope you at least planted a seed somewhere.   But sometimes it feels like scattering seeds into the Sahara Desert.

There are also many people who find thinking for themselves and making their own life choices simply too stressful and/or challenging, so they prefer an authoritarian father figure who tells them exactly what to do and thereby removes the burden of having to make too many choices or do their own thinking.  It’s also people like this who are attracted to authoritarian leaders and authoritarian religions.  It’s actually comforting to them.   These people may have problems with codependency and don’t realize it.

*****

Further reading:

My Twitter Debate With a Trump Supporter

I also just read this peripherally-related, but VERY important, article about the death of Christianity in America.   At first I thought it was just another brainless screed from the evangelical far right, but it’s actually a very well thought out essay about how the alliance between the evangelicals and the far right is actually destroying real Christianity in our country.  The evangelical excuses (bordering on idolatry) for Donald Trump and now their defense of a child molester and sexual predator like Roy Moore is the end-game, at least for Christian evangelism.  They have sold their souls for political gain and power.

The Death of Christianity in the U.S. (Baptist News Global)

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My Twitter debate with a Trump supporter.

debate

I had an interesting evening on Twitter last night.  I’d tweeted to Bernie Sanders about something he had said about single payer healthcare, and soon got into it with a Trump supporter, who seemed belligerent at first.  It started off with this comment:

Medicaid is evil. It takes money from some who rightfully earned it to give to someone who didn’t. #freemarket#FullRepeal#capitalism

I refuted this tweet hotly, and before long, me and this guy were engaged in a heated debate that went on for over two hours and ran into hundreds of tweets.

I rarely enjoy debate, and I’m not the type to try to convince people to change their views.   I’ve never liked confrontation.  Perhaps that’s due to my lack of self-confidence.  I’d rather try to change minds by writing a blog post, even though it’s more likely all my anti-Trump posts fall into an echo chamber of other people who agree with me.   Many people who disagree with my political beliefs on my blogs tend to be too aggressive, so I usually either delete their comments if they resort to personal attacks or general abusiveness, or just let them stand without replying if I do approve them.  The safe echo chamber of yea-sayers is a lot more comfortable for me than a pitchfork-carrying army of scary nay-sayers.

Verbal political discourse and debate just aren’t my thing and I feel like it’s not what I’m strong at, even when I’m sure I have my facts straight and am certain my view is the correct one.  I’m the sort of person who likes to “live and let live.”  If you support Trump and his policies, I’m far more likely to accept that and ignore you than to argue with you.

But last night was different.  I stepped out of character and engaged in a heated debate with this Trump supporter for two hours.  Not only that, but I also had fun doing it.   Although the conversation was heated, neither of us resorted to name-calling or personal attacks.    I felt like my brain was working at its highest capacity and I was able to come back at him with snappy and factual refutations to all of his (what I thought of as) lame excuses for his wrongheaded beliefs.

Engaging with this Trump supporter was fun, but still exhausting.    His tweets came faster than I could keep up with and finally my brain began to slow down.   He wasn’t going to change his mind; he just wanted a debate, which is something I find unusual in Trump supporters.   He wasn’t a complete idiot, but for moral reasons I disagree with his no-government libertarian viewpoints, even if his rationale made a type of sense, and I told him this.  He seemed to respect my right to feel morally offended by his beliefs but he stuck by his guns.

What I did find interesting was that after awhile, there were long silences from him before he’d tweet his next refutation to something I’d said.  I took those silences to mean he was thinking about what I’d said, especially since his arguments became weaker over time (or at least it seemed that way).   I don’t know whether I planted a seed in his mind or not, but I decided at that point I’d had enough and told him I had to run.  I also thanked him for his time, saying I appreciated the fact he engaged in real debate without resorting to insults or aggressive rhetoric.   He responded in kind and said he looked forward to a future debate.

When I checked my Twitter account this morning, there were several more tweets from him, replying to other things I had said.  Seems like he wants more, but I’m not sure I’m ready right now.

This was a lesson to me that not all Trump supporters are idiots who can’t engage in intelligent debate or don’t want to have their minds challenged.    It’s never a good idea to resort to stereotype, because there are always exceptions.

The last thing he said to me last night was to suggest a conservative book he had read that he thinks will change my mind (I doubt I’ll read it).   Hey, at least he reads.  I told him I hoped he’d think about some of the things I’d said.   Who knows, maybe he will.

I feel like this experience was a boost to my self esteem.