Yesterday, after I responded unfavorably to some Boomer Facebook copypasta she sent me, my Mom unleashed a torrent of right-wing insanity, accusing me of being a communist, a Nazi, poor, lazy, greedy, and willing to execute her in a theoretical revolution. It was a lot to take in.
The Trumpification of our parents has always been a curious thing. After all, our parents are the ones who told us that college was the only option. The ones who stressed the importance of reading and treating all people equally. The ones who constantly warned us not to believe everything we find on the Internet. The ones who preached kindness and the necessity of sharing.
Broadly speaking, millennials have taken these values to heart, which in turn is reflected in the overwhelmingly progressive nature of our politics. Unfortunately, our ideological paths have dramatically diverged from that of our parents, who would do well to remember the lessons they preached to us for all those years.
My Mom was always a Republican, but not like this. This is something new, more dangerous; a radicalization on par with anything that happens in the Middle East. Her condition speaks volumes to the disturbing potency of right-wing propaganda, which has grown exponentially more intense under the Trump administration.
It is constant, pervasive, vile, and parasitic. Once infected, the host becomes incapable of individual thought, thus rendering their entire political existence subservient to the whims of the ruling elite, as dictated down through their spokespeople on FOX News and satellite radio. Once entrapped, the votes of the infected serve to sustain the oligarchy, which requires the widespread support of useful idiots to maintain their ironclad grip over this country.
How do they do it? They are peddling a singular product: Fear. Total, crippling, devastating Fear.
My Mom is not stupid, nor is she inherently a bad person. But like so many others, her mind has been drowned by the nonstop deluge of insane rambling by the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Carlson, and Hannity. Together, along with their fellow propagandists, this group has so thoroughly traumatized huge swaths of the country to the point that even the slightest hint of forward change is immediately processed by their victims as a matter of life or death.
The only safe path forward, it seems, is backwards. Make America Great Again. Can we get, like, Gone with the Wind back please?
It is a difficult, maybe impossible spell to break. Like many others, I certainly have tried. But Fear is a powerful motivator, and this is a Fear that is deeply entrenched; effortlessly capable of skirting past logic and reason. Using the sad case study of my Mom as an example:
It is a tragic thing, absurd and nonsensical as it is horrifying and painfully ironic. To her, I am the brainwashed one, blinded by my education and my friends and “the media.” The latter is especially hilarious, given that I support a candidate (Sanders) who is currently under an all-out assault by both the major conservative and liberal outlets.
I am the brainwashed one, even though this conversation was sparked by her sharing copypasta – poorly written, grammatically dysfunctional nonsense purportedly written by a college professor (if you are familiar at all with Boomer Memes, you know that they will share anything about someone in higher education standing up to the big bad liberal education system). Not that it matters. She is divorced from reality, and I am not aware of any reliable methods to reconcile this unfortunate disposition.
If I sound bitter and defeated, it’s because I am. That my own mother apparently believes I would execute her in some sort of violent revolution is disturbing and extremely depressing. That she voiced this belief in response to me pointing out the inconsistencies in a nonsense meme (“How does taxing the rich to pay for education and healthcare make poor people even poorer?” Etc.) is even more absurd and upsetting.
To her, I’m not just someone with a different set of beliefs and values. I am a murderous radical, a fundamentalist soldier willing to cut down his own mother just to advance his anti-Trump, pro-communist agenda. Limbaugh and Co. have done wonders, and I fear we are only just now beginning to realize the scope of their efforts. The image of the pansy liberal snowflake has apparently morphed into an armed revolutionary, Che and Lenin and Castro. How the victims of this brainwashing react to the new perceived threat level remains to be seen. I would imagine that not all of them are going to stop at accusing their children of being murderers over text.
What can you do? We are at a terrible, terrifying impasse. Oh well. Ride it out. Keep donating. Keep fighting the good fight. Keep creating, writing, painting, making music, whatever medium you vibe with. Things will get better, or maybe they won’t.
Lowly times, these are. Society is fracturing and I am not sure what happens next, regardless of who ends up winning in November. Sunday really is scary. Hopefully the mood improves on Tuesday.
Whatever you do, if your Trump-loving parents send you some bullshit meme, do not engage under any circumstances. Clearly, I have learned that lesson the hard way. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I will leave you with the same message I left my Mom before I blocked her on Messenger. Enjoy: