Conservative Friends: I’m Still Curious

Saturday morning, I posted a query to “my conservative Facebook contacts”, accompanied by a link to a Washington Post article called Trump Appears To Promote Violence Against CNN With Tweet:


Washington Post Story
A screenshot of the Washington Post article in question.
If any of my conservative Facebook contacts haven’t yet “unfollowed” me, I’m curious about your thoughts on this. Do you find it acceptable? Normal? Does it make you feel like the U.S. is on the right track? Is it making us “great again”? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, I am genuinely interested in your reasoning.

This morning, our president tweeted a video (an actual video from one of his “pro wrestling” appearances) of himself slamming a man to the ground and repeatedly punching him about the head. The video had been doctored, with a “CNN” logo superimposed over the victim’s face.

Based on other interactions (or lack thereof), I suspect that many of the most conservative have “unfollowed” me, so they didn’t even see this post. If they did, I really do wonder what their answer(s) would be.

Perhaps one of them will see this blog entry, or my link to it on Facebook or elsewhere. Hopefully, someone will answer my question(s). In my mind, the lack of responses is (and will be) telling. I think they are questions that need to be asked, and answered. I need to know that even traditionally right-leaning voters (at least those in my circles) aren’t condoning this sort of behavior or accepting it as the new normal.

A lot of pundits and politicians have spoken recently about quitting the “violent rhetoric” and working together, so I think my questions are fair — can we indeed “come together” as a nation if multiple sides won’t interact with each other? And one side can’t propose solutions that the other side will accept, if we’re so divided that no one can tell what the other side is thinking.

Comments from other people (strangers) on the internet indicate that at least some conservatives actually do answer “yes” to some or all of my questions. But many, even within the Republican party, want the president to “stay focused” on his agenda and quit mouthing off on social media. I don’t know any of those people, so it’s difficult to know whether they’re bots or trolls. I was hoping at least one family member or conservative friend would respond.

Perhaps obviously, I think the correct answers are “no”, to all four questions. If there is a “yes” answer to any of the questions, I am still interested to know why.

(As for my non-conservative, non-regressive readers, who seem to be the only ones I have left, I welcome any guesses as to what the right is thinking about this.)

***

EDIT, 2017.07.05: I’ve reworded this post to use less divisive language, due in part to Michael’s comment below. I think he was correct that my original wording was not representative of my desire for open dialog.

17 Comments
  1. I know that this is your blog and you alone control the content, but in the past you’ve been much more careful with your language. “…don’t have a good answer”, “…the other side”, “The correct answer…” And while I agree with you, I’m not sure that your communicating your openness to dialog by calling out the wrongheadedness of those who disagree with you. Just sayin’.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Point(s) taken. Thank you, Michael.

      In my initial post on Facebook, I think I was “more careful with [my] language”, but I wasn’t here. I suppose I allowed emotion (frustration, mostly?) to push me toward a stronger, perhaps even “baiting” tone.

      I can do better.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      I’ve reworded most of this entry. While a few of the phrases you quoted still do appear, hopefully the new context will read less divisively.

  2. Dana says:

    Frankly, I’ve given up wondering or caring. I’m long past hoping that someone from the right would stand up for what is right.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      I’m sure I would be in that exact same boat if it weren’t for my knowledge that at least *half* the people I’m related to are still voting Republican.

      I suppose what I really want is for SOME of them (or at least one of them) to respond, one way or the other. I know most of them, in their daily lives, are generally “good people” (kind, honest, law-abiding, courteous, etc.), and so I’m trying to dig out of them either a yes or no answer here, for my own peace of mind.

      If they would simply respond with a “no”, at least I could sympathize that their decisions to continue to vote Republican isn’t an easy one. Maybe that would mean there’s an opening.

      If they would respond with a “yes, this is all fine by me”, then I want to know what method they’re using to justify this to themselves.

      Call it a goad, or a bait, or whatever. For several months, I’ve been on the edge of a knife, wondering if they are still the “good people” I once knew, or if all of that was just a brilliantly evil facade.

  3. Dana says:

    So why not just ask them directly? Send them a text or an email…

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      That’s a good question, Dana. Perhaps I’m reverting to passive-aggression and/or fear of direct confrontation. It *feels* better to make a generalized, blanket statement, in the hope that someone will rise to challenge it, rather than feeling like I’m making the challenge directly. I guess it’s the difference between “anyone?” and “you!”

      Sigh. I’m still working on myself, I suppose. :-)

  4. Dana says:

    I don’t think it’s that’s confrontational to say, “I’m genuinely curious; I know you’re a life long Republican and I’m not trying to question your personal politics but how do you reconcile your political beliefs with some of Trumps more outrageous actions – for example…”

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      LOL. Good point.

      Maybe I’m afraid of their actual answers, so I post in public where I assume they won’t respond. :-)

      (I’m not always the best at parsing my own motivations…)

  5. Dana says:

    Well, given that the President’s rating is at an all time low (36% according to some polls), I think it’s safe to assume that a fair number of Republicans are, in fact, unhappy with the President’s behavior.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      That 36% is still astoundingly high to me… I wonder, if he raped and killed someone in front of Congress, would it drop to 34%? 32? How bad does it have to get for them? (Rhetorical question.)

  6. Dana says:

    I think they would have to find out that he was really born in Kenya before his approval ratings hit rock bottom.

    I think that as long as he stays out of Congress’ hair and lets them carry out their conservative agenda, they don’t much care what he does. If he starts to become a hindrance to their agenda, then they will be much less tolerant of his shenanigans. Until then, they just turn a blind eye and deaf ear to it.

    • Wil C. Fry says:

      Perhaps so. I also assume their chosen news sources are very unlikely to report certain behaviors. And when they do report on them, it’s very brief with a lot of “alleged” phrasing. And it’s never the top story. And it’s gone from the website within hours, buried under a bunch of PizzaGate speculation (or something).

      This is just a guess.

      I used to check Brietbart, Fox, and other conservative-leaning websites *occasionally*, just to see what they’re getting, but doing so very often made me sick to my stomach. :-(

      • Dana says:

        Just to follow up on this – this article from the NYT “Trump Keeps His Conservative Allies Closest” seems to echo what I was suggesting above – as long as he’s not interfering with their agenda, they’re happy with him. Both the ban on transgender individuals in the military and the reduction of the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country are concessions to conservative lobbyists.

        Here’s the link: https://nyti.ms/2hpwVQI (warning, paywall after 10 free articles/month)

        • Wil C. Fry says:

          Yes, I agree. And THOSE are the top stories on Fox, Brietbart, etc.: “Trump holds prayer meeting in White House – First in 100 years” or “Trump supports traditional marriage”, etc.

          Any stories about him that don’t fit the conservative agenda are buried or phrased poorly. Instead of “Trump Sounds Like Vacuous 4-Year-Old In Phone Transcripts”, it’ll be “Sessions On The Hunt For Transcript Leakers — Promises Death Penalty!” Instead of “Trump Promises Discrimination Against Soldiers”, it’ll be “Military To Be Restored To Former Glory”.

          Also, any time you’re outside the “Coastal Elite” region, switch to AM radio and scan the dial. Here in Texas, 24/7, you can find a conservative talk show praising Trump and his administration, admiring his “many achievements” and “how quickly he’s restoring the reputation of America”, how he’s rescued the stock market, singlehandedly saved the economy, gave everyone giant 401K accounts, and is clearing out the liberal trash from our nation’s schools. I’m not exaggerating. If anything, I’m being kind here. Marline didn’t believe me, but a few days ago, she finally accepted my challenge and listened to one of these shows on her drive home. She arrived home in tears, knowing that millions listen to these folks.

          • Dana says:

            I don’t have to escape the “coastal elite” region to see this. Just this morning, as I took a break to walk to the farmer’s market to pick up some fresh summer produce (something we coastal elite like to do) I came across a table declaring, “Support Trump; Help Defend The President Against the Fake News Russian Witchhunt.” More shocking was that there were quite a few people at the table (including non-whites, and lower income folks).

  7. Wil C. Fry says:

    Just this morning…

    Wow! It’s incredible how insidious this misinformation campaign has become.

    (And I didn’t mean to imply anything negative by “coastal elite”; I meant it ironically, to make fun of the way Trumpets use the term. :-) They seem to believe that all liberals are holed up in a few coastal cities and universities that no conservative has ever visited, and are always offended and angered to learn that some of us live and walk among them… I follow my local and state government officials on Facebook, and any time there’s a comment that doesn’t straight-up toe the GOP line, angered regressives immediately respond: “Go back to California, libturd!” or “we don’t want you coastal commies here in Texas!” It’s fairly depressing to read those posts, as you might imagine. Texas’ lieutenant governor, for example, uses his official Facebook account to regularly quote scripture and “praise God”. Any comments complaining about this are usually deleted within minutes.)

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