Yes, I had that conversation many of us dreaded today.
The, “There is no two sides to Naziism,” conversation.
I got to the pool ten minutes late (nobody is surprised by this ever) and was staying an extra ten minutes to just sort of run in place and make up the time, and I got into a conversation with another woman there.
And I heard it.
The reason media is so important.
First, the woman asked me what “catfishing” was, and I told her, which was fine–she was grateful, she didn’t understand.
Then, the conversation spun into politics–bots, hacking, false identities inevitably lead to the hacked election.
Which led to Charlottesville.
Which led to someone with a limited electronic sophistication buying into what the media had served her. “Well, the president did apologize. I liked that he said ‘many sides’.”
“Wait,” I said. “There’s really only one side to white supremacy, and it’s all bad.”
“But no–it’s important to hear both sides.”
“I had four grandparents (out of six, actually) who fought in WWII because white supremacy was the ultimate evil,” I said. “I’m pretty sure they weren’t interested in the other side.”
“But the president said–“
“He’s not my president. And there is only one side to good and evil. Peaceful protesters were hurt, a woman died, because the evil guy got into a car and drove them over. By saying there’s two sides, the shitstain in the White House says the victims deserved it. That’s not the country I want my children to live in.”
And she just looked at me, mouth working, like she’d never heard this line of reasoning before.
Well, she probably hadn’t.
I have my rarefied Twitter bubble, my comfortable FB world, where these opinions are everybody’s opinions. But this woman had no idea what “catfishing” was, and she wouldn’t know those places.
She would know what the fascist government is trying to feed her.
We parted pleasantly enough–but I wondered. Did it make a difference to have a real person say, “No, I reject what you’ve been told. This is a bad thing.”
I didn’t yell or scream or say she was stupid–or say she was a Nazi. Did I alienate her further? Did I maybe change her mind? Did she maybe look at things differently?
Now, I do know my rarefied bubble–a lot of people would say this one woman, late middle age, not too up on her tech, is not worth it. Her opinion can’t be changed, and even if it could be, who cares? Middle aged white woman. Move on.
But she voted–or, in this case, refused to vote because the only media she’d registered was “but her emails”, and I don’t know if one other person she knew personally would give her a different opinion. An appalling number of middle-aged white women voted for the shitstain in the White House–what if they’d talked to someone, just once, without their husband’s point of view?
I know that there are a surprising number of women in that pool who are liberal as hell. But they talk to each other sotto voce, because they don’t want to offend the conservatives. They don’t want to start anything.
I also know there are other women who think I’m loud, obnoxious, and crazy as a tuna fish, as well.
Well, that hasn’t changed from pretty much the rest of my life. I’ve finally come to terms with it, made my peace as it were. Hopefully I can do some good as a crazy tunafish. It would certainly be a comfort the next time I have to talk about Nazis in the pool.