Aunt Sally

Depending on which [old white] guy they voted for, around 70,000,000 (give or take a couple million) of your fellow Americans voted for the guy you despise, the one you think is any number of the worst qualities ever to be exhibited in one human being. A good percentage of you truly believe that anyone who would support such a person does not represent America, American ideals, American principles or American values (as though the good ole US-of-A invented virtues such as liberty, equality, opportunity and such — please…). Indeed, I have seen many of you, hiding behind a veil of quasi-anonymity from the safe distance of the Internet, armed with your trusty keyboard accusing your fellow Americans — and, indirectly your own friends and family — of being un-American for daring to vocalize support for anything that ventures outside of your own tiny world view.

Based on… what? Your own extensive study of the history of our nation? Your own philosophical inquiry into the work of Hobbes and Locke and, the Articles of the Confederation and the Federalist Papers prior to the contentious drafting of our Constitution? Is that it? Is that all it takes for you to unleash your shotgun blast vitriol on groups of people that contain your own friends and family who happen to think somewhat differently than you? Oh, you didn’t mean “them.” Well, you’d better add a disclaimer list:

“You’re all libtards! Except you Aunt Sally, I didn’t mean you ~heart emoji~”

There will be a winner of this presidential election soon. He will have won the number votes necessary — just like Trump did four years ago. When the dust settles — and it will settle — all your friends and family members are going to remember what you said about them. Yes, we know you were not naming names, you did not “mean” Aunt Sally, but that’s the thing about shotguns — you don’t aim them — you point them. And there were a lot of shotguns pointed indiscriminately at a lot of Americans. You might not like Trump or Biden — you might even despise them, and you might not understand how anyone could vote for one or the other, and you might not think much of those who do — you might even despise them, but if you do, you have cast the same judgement on HALF of the electorate, around 70,000,000 Americans. A lot of them are your own friends, family and neighbors — even if you don’t know it. Every time you denigrate supporters of the “other guy” as being any of the derogatory terms on the hit parade today, you are saying it to Aunt Sally — and no amount of disclaimers will take that back.

Chew on that.

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Michael Althouse

Lecturer/professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento. www.michaelalthouse.com