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:
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.