View From the Cheap Seats – Life in the Bubble

I used to live inside what I will call the conservative GOP bubble. I was never in the Trump bubble because I was skeptical of his candidacy from the very beginning. The first warning signs I saw were at a family Easter celebration. We discussed the election, and two of my cousins, whom I love very much, started talking about what a good guy Trump was. He was so kind on “The Apprentice” He will make the right decisions that will break the Washington gridlock and finally make some progress. My wife and I sat with our mouths agape. Not wanting to start a spirited political discussion at a cherished holiday event, we both let it go with a simple comment about supporting someone else. I don’t believe I would have the self-control at this point to let that pass again. The stakes are too high. But, how did these good people get to this point? The Trumpism/Evangelical/Nationalist, White Supremacy bubble.

Some are no doubt White Supremacists and will readily admit it. Most don’t see it from that perspective. They voted for Trump because they believe he represents a return to a traditional America that existed back in the 1950s with good middle-class jobs for everyone. Where women, non-whites, and homosexuals knew their place. They see it as moral decline and the rotting of an America that never really existed. My father used to joke that the gestation period for all country girls for the first baby was seven months, and then all of the rest of their babies took nine months to develop. For those not understanding country humor, many country weddings not only included a pastor but usually a shotgun as well.

Now, in our sound bite and internet world where people no longer have the time to read a newspaper because they are perusing Facebook while listening to Fox News. We all know the problems of Fox News, and I do not need to rehash them here. However, Facebook has become a danger to our republic, and I would argue that it is much more dangerous than people give it credit. While we have been a divided nation for a long time, I would say that it has gotten much worse since Facebook became a constant in many of our lives. I have deactivated my account. I believe it is dangerous because of the algorithm that feeds you more and more of what you want to see. I have no proof, but I also think it is listening to our conversations, but that is another post entirely. If you’re going to see things that bolster your opinion and worldview, Facebook is the place to be. Of course, much of what you are seeing is misinformation spread by nefarious sources that mean our country ill will. It makes people feel secure in their world view and can happily bathe in their digital endorphins. I have seen many posts from people that I like and used to respect. When I see a good friend post a QAnon post and allude to it being a fact, I have to shake my head and un-follow that person. So, it is not only spreading false information but tearing apart our human connection. In the case of foreign operatives, that is precisely what these posts are designed to do. Here are some examples of posts from Facebook:

Stoking the fears of the Rubes
Doctored Image of CBS Report from South Texas

The first of the above posts are attributed to the Facebook feed of Dr. Steven Hotze, a hard-line big wig of the Harris County (Houston) Republican party. Others have written about him in this space about how awful he is. He is still suing just about everyone in Texas over the restrictions put upon us to slow the Corona Virus outbreak here in Texas. He is a holistic (Snake oil) pitchman. He has his own office, line of vitamins, pharmacy, etc. I am sure there is no conflict of interest there. The others are probably foreign operatives or hard right-wing propagandists working to keep Trump in office. On that last picture, I saw the CBS Evening News broadcast from the Rio Grande Valley, and it was real people suffering. Again, a blatant attempt to stir up the rubes. Before I deactivated my Facebook account, an LDS acquaintance of mine posted about not trusting mail-in ballots. He is from Louisiana, but I reminded him that Utah votes by mail almost exclusively. They are one of the most conservative states in the union. If it can work in Utah, why not Texas? The only argument he could come up with is, “I just don’t trust it.”

So, for now, I will no longer be on Facebook. We have a tough fight ahead of us. Those that are in power will do whatever it takes to maintain that power, and foreign entities who benefit from the downfall of the United States will help them keep it. There were many things I used to love about Facebook. I would share my BBQ pictures, my children’s milestones, and keep up with people who otherwise I would not have the time to keep in contact. However, I now see it as rending our society’s fabric and can no longer be a part of that.


  1. Great post Paul. I logged out of Facebook about a month ago until at least after the election. My last post was “Boycott Facebook #noprofitforhate” – I’ll ask my friends who are on FB if any of them saw it in their feed – I expect the FB algorithm will remove it.

    I’m more sanguine about social media than many of my friends. I look at it like any mass medium, it builds credibility, malign forces leverage that credibility, then the credibility evaporates, and most people become skeptical consumers.

    It was like this with broadsheets way back in the day, then newspapers. Radio and TV escaped until cable expanded the number of sources, but nobody with an ounce of sense believes anything that comes out of Hannity or Carlson’s mouths.

    I expect that Facebook will decline over time, and cliches such as “never believe anything you read in the newspapers” will be converted to “never believe anything on social media”. Social media sites will have to re-build their credibility from the ground up, just as a newspaper such as the NY Times does.

  2. Ha, I remember as recently as 2015 advising a friend not to be political on Facebook because it’s a public feed that employers etc. will look at. At this point that advice is like trying to empty the ocean with a teacup.

    Also I WISH I could get that bubble echo chamber people talk about. I block every political ad and every single political meme page that comes across my feed, report every instance of false news and bullying, simply hide each political post whether I agree with it or not, and unfollow all my friends that are 100% outrage porn all day erryday, and a brief glance of my feed this morning, half of it is still politics and much of the rest is politics adjacent.

    There’s a bit of a chicken/egg problem here. Has social media caused this extreme partisanship, or is my feed composed of undiluted political anxiety 24/7 because of extreme partisanship?

    1. Bingo.

      Hence my comments about abolishing social media. Think back, I dunno, 10, 15, 20 years ago. Try to remember the amount of disinformation and divisiveness in the world, or between friends, family, neighbors.

      I choose to believe that hate sites like oan, fox, breitbart, and a wealth of social media sites exacerbated the problem. The sheer volume of disinformation was NEVER what it is like today. Before, when we had a limited amount of “news sources”, the bulk of them were all staffed by professional, with editors that vetted their work for accuracy.

      Then along came fox, and the internet, and voila, everyone is a reporter and a valid source of facts.

  3. FB’s a major problem that needs a merciless intervention by the next administration. It needs to be broken up; it’s not a competitor in a market, it’s a growing monopoly and a tool of the Trumpian Right. It’s part of the reason why I’m holding out hope that Warren’s picked to be VP. If she’s in the WH next January, I’m confident she’ll be relentless in taking the fight straight to Zuckerberg.

    1. Actually Ryan, Facebook is a tool of both extremes. Trust me, I was labelled an Alt-Right fascist in one channel, because I was judged not ‘woke” enough.

      As I said a few days ago, ALL social media tools should be banned, including sites like reddit, 4chan, bitchute etc. That includes sites like this, which are collateral damage. But there is not a politician alive who wants to be re-elected who would do that. Of course, that also includes going after fox, oan, et al. You can imagine what would happen if someone tried that.

      And yes, screw free speech, when those lies lead to the situation that exists, all over the planet, today. The cost is just too much.

      1. When you’re indulging in ideas that would curry favor more with Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany than with Alexander Hamilton, you should take a long, hard look in the mirror and do some serious reflection.

        Respond if you wish, Dins. I won’t be indulging such godawful nonsense beyond this.

      2. “And yes, screw free speech, when those lies lead to the situation that exists, all over the planet, today. The cost is just too much.”

        Do you say this shaite to stir things up and get a reaction from people? If so then grow the fark up. If you mean it then I suggest you need to grow the fark up still.

      3. When you have people quite literally taking up arms, marching into legislatures, based on complete lies they picked up through Facebook, Instagram, Breitbart, Fox, the WH press office et al, and these people mean to kill legislators and possibly scientists and doctors, yeah, allowing the lies to be continue is madness.

        How many are going to die from this virus because of complete fabrications from hundreds of web sites, many run by foreign entities or domestic terrorists? Europe has had a number of 5G towers destroyed by the insane who actually believe that 5G causes the virus and other wonderful things. The lie machine did not create these insane people. But it certainly triggered them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.