When people are placing politics over their loved ones it is a dire sign.
Most of us are familiar with the anger and contempt being hurled at us from previously unknown individuals or outright anonymous trolls on social media. We all deal with those episodes in our own methods, but there seems to be more evidence that these social conflicts are arising not from random individuals thirsting for some type of attention but from those within our own familiar bonds.
It is a sad state when our loved ones can be regarded as the opposition, and the rise in this type of friendly fire is a sign that there is an imbalance in the gentry. One recent example was the case of a woman who posted on Twitter the fact that her husband of 5 years voted for Donald Trump, and if he did not comport to her desire for Kamala Harris and her running mate to be elected a divorce was in the cards.
Now this could be chalked up to an arcane example of social media dysphoria. Dredge through any social platform deep enough and you can find this type of warped standards being displayed. But there are a couple of factors making this posting notable. First, over 50,000 people liked this particular announcement. That is a remarkable reaction, especially considering this account has a few thousand followers. This disturbing declaration not only struck a chord but was met with widespread approval.
The second item of note is this is hardly an isolated occurrence, from a source of little public traction. There is a growing tide of those working in media expressing these same thoughts. Author and journalist Ellen Hopkins was in a separate discussion when she remarked that her daughter was going to become uninvited to family events, due to the fact that she was a Trump supporter.
I have to agree. Unfortunately, that includes members of our family. I don't care as much about my in-laws (husband, of course, does), but I'm seriously considering not inviting my daughter, who lives three houses down, over to dinner ever again.
— Ellen Hopkins (@EllenHopkinsLit) September 24, 2020
This is a practice foreign to me, and certainly to most. Holding your own children up to a political litmus test for approval is rather unfathomable. It used to be that the bonds between parents and children were as unshakable as any; that an intolerance towards one man, and a politician to boot, can eclipse that love makes zero sense.
And Ellen here is hardly alone. Over at Medium writer Leo Guinan declared in print of his intention to cut his father entirely out of his life, and restricting him from also seeing his grandchildren. His father’s crime against the family — he put up a campaign yard sign for President Trump. There was a tremendous amount of reaction to this article, and it is clear Leo got more than he bargained for.
As a result Guinan has changed his tack on this entirely. He is now trying to sell the article as a thought experiment he was performing on society, something that feels more like a face-saving ‘’I meant to do that’’, type of offering. Except, for someone supposedly proud of this provocation he intentionally made, he is not exactly standing by his accomplishment. The original post is down and instead you now get directed to his altered version of events. Leo had also shut down his Twitter account not long after publishing, a sign he received a fierce blowback that was not expected, despite what he now declares.
He strains in his adjusted posting to suggest that it was assumed by readers his father was to be cut off from his children; ”I never said directly that I was cutting off ties, or that there would be no contact made ever. These were things that others injected into the story.’’ The problem; his headline to the piece said exactly that — Today I Gave My Dad A Choice: Trump or His Grandkids and His Son. That falls under the heading of ”said directly”.
Leo tries annotating his piece to reconstruct his intent, except in doing so he actually reiterates everything he claims to have done to provoke a reaction. He makes all of the accusations about Trump being such a vile figure that the mere presence of a yard sign is enough to alter his family bonds. He admits that he regards a ‘’Trump 2020’’ sign to be hate speech, and he still says he does not want his kids around this display. So his attempt to now wag a finger at all of those who reacted to his provocation is impotent, as he still admits to fostering that view.
This obvious attempt at reframing his ill-conceived piece is desperate, and it reveals the intolerance we see in our social fabric today. Guidan wants to make the case that he did this to expose the hate and intolerance — ”The amount of division being stirred right now is staggering. There is no path to healing through division.’’ The problem: In order to arrive at this alleged conclusion he had to be divisive himself.
Guidan did not expose some hidden undercurrent of intolerance in the country, he provoked it. He came out and declared he was going to be divisive, then he received a backlash from people telling him how wrongheaded this decision was, and he now wants to point and claim those people are the divisive ones. He essentially walked into a bar with the intention of showing how people are violent, and in order to do so he broke a beer mug over someone’s head, using the ensuing fracas as his ”proof’’.
Guidan is undone by a pair of realities. He admits to holding these very views he claimed to have first published only to get a reaction and, as the other cases clearly illustrate, he is in fact not fabricating an unreal scenario. His new stance that this was all a publishing laboratory experiment doesn’t hold up when we see others saying the exact same things. This is a common practice we have seen from the left, rising up in conflict and then accusing others of being guilty for reacting.
Our society is going through this on a daily basis, from violence in the cities down to people dining in restaurants being confronted by mobs. The disturbing aspect are these figures in the media promoting and provoking this mindset on a regular basis.