Politics has turned me into a mess

Cindy Claveau

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I've always been opinionated, and for the most part I've considered that a strength for myself. It enabled me to climb the corporate ladder a bit and then start my own business. I married a man who respects my opinion (and vice versa) even when we disagree.

But now, for some reason, the political landscape's intense toxicity has seeped into my own life, family and happiness. Ever since Dr. Ford's testimony before the Senate committee, I've felt my grip on serenity and happiness slipping bit by bit. I feel as though I don't even want to watch the news any more as every day brings one more shitstorm from the White House or the Republicans. I'm becoming what I used to look down on: a disconnected apathist.

It came to a head over the weekend. My brother and I got into it over Kavanaugh. He, a right wing fundamentalist gun lover, started trying to draw false equivalencies between the Republican tactics as they push the nomination through and past behavior by the Dems. He knows I don't call myself a "Dem" strictly speaking - I'm actually a progressive who votes mostly Dem because I detest the Repubs. He threw all kinds of baloney at me about Bill Clinton's behavior towards women (which I've never condoned), dug out a number of other minor tidbits from Fox News that I easily refuted, and just kept at me. So I finally blocked him on FB completely. I've unfriended him in the past, but this seemed like a better solution since we cannot see each other's posts. (I realize some of you hate FB, and I understand that, but it does keep me in touch with family members I actually like).

I told my husband that I am now officially disowning this asshat. I don't care what he says or thinks. I don't care if he lives or dies. I won't be going to his funeral and don't really want him at mine. My late parents would roll over if they knew, but since we cannot agree on a single thing I see no more point in communicating with him. This isn't good for my blood pressure.

And this morning, I was browsing the page of a dear friend of mine who shares my feelings on the Orange Monkeyturd. Some stranger (amorphous name) chimed in again with the same sort of false equivalency. I had to check the user name since it sounded so familiar. Where do these people get the idea that "whataboutism" is a valid debate tactic? What leads them to believe that those of us on the liberal side of the aisle ever loved Bill Clinton as much as they try to claim? It's a non-starter argument but it angers me that more people fail to grasp the most rudimentary tenets of political debate.

All this has effected my health. This week my acid reflux is back in full force, despite my doc's latest Rx, and I'm not enjoying being unable to even keep my lunch down.

Again, this is all Trump's fault :) I mean, really, may as well blame him since I don't remember ever feeling so on edge and upset under any other Republican administration in my life. What the hell has happened to us? Tell me I'm not alone please! I'm hovering on the brink of homicidal insanity lately!
 
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It's not just you. I've been a little bit of a trainwreck recently. I'm tired of endlessly having to correct adult human males who should know better about things like the rates of 'false allegation' reports of sexual assault vs. successful prosecutions of rapists and untested rape kits and so on. I'm going to need our male allies to get them together, because I'm clean out of emotional labor for this.
 

Dillon Levenque

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You're certainly not alone, and there's no question in my mind that Trump symbolizes the reason we feel this way. The very fact that one our of two major parties even accepted him as a candidate speaks volumes, but to put him forward as a standard-bearer? Unbelieveable, yet that's what happened. That he won the election is (at least in my opinion and that of plenty of more knowledgeable sources) a result of two things: unusually apathetic turnout on the Democratic side and a surge of Republican support from normally apathetic voters encouraged by Trump's apparent validation of racism, misogynism, and bigotry as a viable political platform.

The Democratic voters have to vote. I don't worry so much about the bigots. Yeah, it turns out there are more of 'em left among us than I'd thought, but as a voting bloc they still don't have the numbers; they aren't big enough to just take over. Yet.

I'm still optimistic, maybe because anything less would lead so quickly to absolute despair. I think this thing can be stopped. What's going to happen to political parties in this country is anybody's guess, but I have to believe the fascists won't prevail.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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... I'm not a violent person, but I'm to the point now where if someone, to my face, tries to equate how Kavenaugh is being treated with actual rape, I will punch them in the god damned face.
 

Isabeau

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I put the Trump threads on ignore just recently. I hope no one takes offense here if I completely bypass US news. It isn't because I'm not interested about what you're dealing with, or don't have empathy, but I already follow US news through my own local news and Twitter. I don't need any more convincing that this administration and all who continue to support him are greedy I've-got-my-own pussy grabbing racists. I really don't think that it's healthy to concentrate on things you have no control over.

I realise that it isn't as simple for many of you since all that is happening is directly affecting you (or eventually will at some point). Also, at times, people just need a place to let out steam, but post after post of isn't he and the Republicans horrid and disgusting isn't adding anything that most here already know. Again, to be clear, I understand the need for collective OMGWTF, but I just can't anymore. I already hear/read about all that is happening every day. One can't get away from it even if one wanted to. Bad news sell...

One way to counter this may be by posting more about all the positive things happening. All the women going into politics. All the grassroots movements. All the people fighting back. Black Lives Matter. Nazis being puched :giggle:, etc. Too much focus is on Trump and the 35%(?) of people still sucking his dick. That leaves 65% of people who may not all agree on everything, but are much stronger.

I'm sorry about your brother, it's hard to cut ties with blood even when toxic, but Cindy, we need you and your strength, along with your thoughtful posts.
 

Cristiano

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It has had a similar effect on me. I go from rage to despair to feeling hopeless on a pretty endless loop. I try to avoid reading about stuff because I feel so fucking helpless while all of this horrible shit keeps happening. It's like we are living in some bizarro world where evil is prevailing and I just want the fuck out of it. I distract myself and find stuff to make me feel happy, even for a little while, because the alternative is so fucking grim right now. I've never felt this way in my life.
 

Bamboo Stick

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Unfortunately politics brings out the worst in people at time. I have learned my lesson previously and I just don't discuss politics with family or friends anymore. I have seen friends go at it on FB. To me it is just not worth it. Even my family makes comments that I question, but really at the end of the day they are due to ignorance.

Like others have stated here, I try to stick to good news and I quickly go over the bad news of the day :LOL: . The news can be pretty depressing at times.
 

Lianne Marten

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Your own mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being come first no matter what. It's not your obligation to keep up on the news or argue with people or anything like that if it causes you distress to do so. You already seem more well informed than most other people in the country, so there's no harm in taking a step back and disengaging for your own sake.

Ultimately that's the problem with being on our side of the political spectrum. We care too much, about everyone, and when confronted with the other side's not caring at all it messes us up inside.
 

Aribeth Zelin

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Almost got into a physical altercation with a housemate this weekend. After complaining how rude it was that a [female] member of our friday game group didn't pay attention to [male] writer housemate [brother from another mother - mine], when I tried to start a conversation about the Kavanaugh thing and how the 80s culture made it alright; not with movies like Porkies and Revenge of the Nerds, but with movies like 16 candles, he blew me off and just changed the subject - and then after fuming for a few moments, I said calmly why I was upset and he ran away to the bathroom, rather than just apologizing.

And this is a friend, and nominally a progressive, but we have gotten into it before, with him believing some of the BS about tax cuts and shit.

He was mad because I was 'ruining his childhood', but that was my teen years and a movie I like, though not as much as most Hughes movies [because it does seem to normalize that behavior. I'm mad because I am a survivor. Something that -has- affected my whole life.

Anyway, rambling way of saying I know how you feel. The only thing keeping me going is stubbornness and the minor victories that sometimes come our way, politically.
 

Beebo Brink

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Both my wife and I are political beasts, but she's always had more tolerance for abusive news cycles than I have. Sometimes we both go "I can't listen to this anymore," at the same time, but the rest of the time I'm probably her worst nightmare. One minute I'm glued to the TV set, the next its "I'm going in the other room, I can't take this anymore" then I'm back in the room for another segment, then I storm off again. I emotionally buffer myself by playing solitaire or jig saw puzzles on my tablet as I listen to MSNBC, then protest when she changes the channel because she assumed I wasn't paying attention. Other times I play games to block out the TV and when she pleads "Can I please change the channel, I can't bear to see Trump anymore" and I'm all "Please change it! I'm trying not to listen."

I'm giving up on people right and left. Well, people on the Right. Okay, a few on the Left are annoying me, too, to be honest. I basically just don't trust people anymore (never my strong suite to begin with) until I have some verification that they're not a Trump lunatic. Because at this point, there isn't any excuse. None.

So yeah, crazy times.
 

Eunoli

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I made the mistake of taking a job which required me to move to a very conservative part of the country last winter. I was depressed about the political situation before that. But, since moving, its been a constant struggle to remain quiet about my political views and concerns and to smile and say non-committal things when otherwise pleasant co-workers casually mention their right wing views. One of the people I interact with the most is very nice, and also doesn't believe in evolution, climate change or most other "science things". I dread every minute of interacting with otherwise perfectly friendly people for fear of what they might say and for knowing what they really think. I've never hated a job like this before - and there's not really much wrong with the job.

To get away from it last week I took a break and went down to what I assumed was a "typical liberal coffeehouse" nearby. Just then a report came out on the Kavanaugh issue and the trendy looking girl brewing my drink sighed and said "that poor man". By the time I got back in the elevator I had crescents in my palm from how hard my hand was clenched (without me even realizing it)

It affects me physically, as well - most noticeably with insomnia. I never realized how much I appreciated and needed having like-minded people in my immediate vicinity. I don't want to feel snobbish or arrogant. But, I /do/ find myself inwardly cringing and/or fighting not to roll my eyes when I hear many of the casual things said around me. I think I will be moving back somewhere more centrist or liberal when I am able.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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This is a difficult topic... what happened to the public discourse is more or less this, what British actor Tom Walker ranted in his role as Jonathan Pie when Trump got elected:


And now the right wingers have learned those tactics, and are using those with pleasure to fight back their inventors, who were and are mostly unprepared. Kavanaugh is just the latest example of this, but for sure more will follow.

The thing is: if its really affecting your health, then it is most likely not worth it to get into these discussions, so just stop it. If you sometimes though might come to the conclusion that you cannot bare it any longer to stay silent, better think about it thoroughly and be prepared.
 
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It is toxic. I wasn't up to it and put SLU / PRS on ignore for six months and mostly ignored the news. When it comes down to it, the only thing I can do to change things is to vote. Beyond that means getting actively involved spending hours of each week helping good candidates or something and I'm just not up to it.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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Again, this is all Trump's fault :) I mean, really, may as well blame him since I don't remember ever feeling so on edge and upset under any other Republican administration in my life. What the hell has happened to us? Tell me I'm not alone please! I'm hovering on the brink of homicidal insanity lately!
You're not alone. It's hit close to home for me because most of the people in my high school graduating class are Republicans. I've never had any problem with them, and we got along nicely. Then Trump happened, and - although some of my Republican friends are going "WTF is going on here", most of them have become rabid, slobbering Trump supporters. So, now, my connection to my high school class is pretty much severed. I don't know if that will ever be undone.
 
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I'm largely a loner without a lot of friendship or family ties. My family now consists of three step sisters and brothers, and their husbands and wives, and a couple of their children. And my three or so friends. None of them are orange supporters. I feel blessed for that.
 

Nika Talaj

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I am very lucky in being an older woman who has returned to the place she grew up in to be a family caregiver. In addition to freeing me from any concerns about income (as in, I have none!), I'm freed from much of any concern about what people think about what I say. I don't know a lot of folks in this city anymore, and I don't work. There are zero consequences if I offend strangers, and most people are strangers! Remarkably, my staunch-Republican brother has turned his back on Trumpie, so I'm lucky there too.

It has been a huge relief to me to simply contradict lies when I hear them, and then walk away. Calmly, but with some backup info to put the final nails in the coffins of these bogus arguments I hear everywhere. I used to think it was difficult to debate with conservatives, since so many of them were armed with bewildering facts. But nowadays ... William F. Buckley these people are not.

I think that if I weren't able to release the tension by standing up, in my small way, I'd feel bludgeoned by the news cycle as well.
 

Pancake

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You should probably put the Kavanaugh thread here in VVO on ignore here as well, for similar Clinton equivalency reasons
 

Shiloh Lyric

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See, I've become a news junkie. I HAVE to know what's going on. Due to things in my life which have happened, I really, REALLY hate feeling blindsided. So staying on top of Trump's latest antics, helps me feel 'safer' in some ways. I don't actually listen to Trump, though. Like...ever. Because just seeing his face or hearing his voice makes me...well...it doesn't give me nice thoughts.

However, I have learned to liberally use 'block' on Social Media. I'm deliberately not attending my high school reunion this month because I have about 20 of those assholes on 'block'. If they piss me off that much on Facebook, I really don't think we should be face to face. I'm pretty outspoken, and I'm literally out of fucks to give. So, yeah, I block. I mute, I unfollow...whatever.

When they start with the 'whataboutism', I don't even engage. I literally post nothing but a copy/pasted definition of "whataboutism" and exit THAT conversation. Ninja style. Hit and go. I DO NOT have time to neither debate nor argue with people who are so dishonest about wanting an actual discourse. Besides, if your only defense of 'your guy' or 'your side' is to attack other people, I already won, you lost, and let's not waste our time, bye.

As for my frustration and really intense rage that I've felt ever since 2016, but which has worsened in just the last 6 months, and pretty much doubled last week? Well...I'm going to walk it out. I'm going to use it to energize me for the 6, possibly 8, canvassing shifts I just signed up for last night for the Jess King campaign. Because in a district which went 22 points to Donald Trump, which has NEVER sent a Democratic representative to Congress, in a state with 18 congressional delegates and 2 Senators NONE of whom are either women or a POC, a progressive Mennonite-raised working mom married to a Mennonite pastor is polling within single digits of the Republican incumbent.

Here's some hope for you. Last night at our GOTV House Party (one of over 20 in the area attended by over 600 people which were held in various locations, but the main gathering with Jess was livestreamed to the rest of us), we had about 50 people in attendance. Now, keep in mind, I'm in a small town in a very red area in Lancaster County, PA. The Group facilitator asked how many people were or used to be registered Republicans. 1/3 to 1/2 of those there raised their hands. To the applause of the rest of us. I've only canvassed 3 times so far. Once with a *previous* "lifelong" Republican, and another time with a currently registered Republican, although I'd say he's actually an "I", but registering as an "R" helped him get on the Boro council. And we're not just knocking on Democrat's doors. I've had some good conversations with Republicans. When we start talking about 'values' and that Jess is running on what she feels are values we all share, we find out they're at least open to listening.

I will say, from my view on the street, campaigning Republicans are getting a lot wrong. I mean, some are NOW starting to lie and say they care about protecting pre-existing conditions, but it's too little, and probably too late. They wasted time bragging about an economy, which is really only benefitting some of us, and a tax break which is benefitting even fewer. Meanwhile, most average people (who aren't frothing mouth fools...we avoid those), are concerned with several things, but the two main things are healthcare and corruption/money in politics.

I guess what I'm saying, is that I think there's light ahead. Some days feel so dark, and sometimes I only log into SL to feel lost in fantasy for a while, because I need to. But there ARE outlets.

In fact, unless someone is physically unable please get as involved as you can. If you can't walk and knock, or just aren't cut out for that, you can phone bank. You can text blast. You can send postcards. You can help campaigns recruit volunteers. Jess's campaign isn't the only grassroots campaign going. They're all over. We can sit around feeling the darkness, or we can fight it every way we can. That's just how I feel about it.
 
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