Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Help Fight Anti-Abortion Jackassery

It began, like so many terrible things, as a Facebook comment thread. I know, I know. You can't tell me, because I already know.

I made a pro-gun control post on my own page. Gun control. Own page. Keep that in mind; it's the "Marley was dead to begin with" portion of my tale. My old friend, let's call him Dan, strongly disagreed with gun control. I knew Dan from 20 years ago, when we were both spoken word performers at the Nuyorican in Manhattan (I know, I know. You can't tell me, because I already know.) Anyway, Dan had moved away from New York and at some point he became the kind of person who speaks fondly of Sarah Palin. We change.

Anyway, the discussion went on and on. It lasted more than a day - I would go away, do other things, assuming it would just peter out the way these arguments do. But sooner or later, he'd be back at it. And he kept flying off the topic, hitting all the NRA talking points. He was posting from every website that sold gas masks and gold bars. And he was bringing in God, the Nazis, and abortion. Especially abortion. "How can you talk about dying kids, when every day in America we kill so many more, because..." You get the idea.

I pointed out that he wasn't addressing the issue. He didn't care. I don't like blocking people who disagree with me, but he wouldn't stay with the subject. I should have just shut it down. But I didn't. I tried mocking his crazy grab bag of right-wing issues:
And the abortion doctors in the Democratic party are in charge of the fluoridation program that's being run out of the mosque at Ground Zero!... Of course the fluoridation program is only cover for the REAL story, which is the insertion of a secret Muslim strike force at the highest echelons of the federal government to take over after the Rapture comes and the Beast of the Apocalypse reveals himself to be... a reanimated Vince Foster!
Then I got to the point:
You want to engage me on abortion.. but I ain't playing... I'm totally going to give $5 to NARAL for every off-topic abortion post you put down starting now.
It seemed perfect. You think abortion kills people. If you keep shooting your mouth off, I'm going to increase my support for that horrible thing. You gain nothing except the satisfaction of hijacking a Facebook comment thread. You do harm to a cause you say you believe in. You say it's about saving lives. How could anyone continue? He posted some video he found. The thumbnail showed a fetus.
Is it more important to you to spout crazy, or to save the babies? Because I am writing the check today. Seriously. I'm a feminist. How much do you want to pay NARAL?
But he just kept posting those damn videos. $10. $20. It didn't matter to him. I told him he wasn't really pro-life, that he was just "pro-winning-the-comment-war." I wanted to make that clear. On some level I honestly thought that would, in the end, dissuade him. I knew I should quit, but I couldn't. I was like a dog with a severed deer leg. It seemed so unfair. We're not going to talk about your issue until we talk about mine, and I'm just going to outshout you. I told him that when we got to $50 I would make this public. I would go ask for money elsewhere. I'd try to raise funds.
Yes, I was clearly insane. But I couldn't get over the fact that he claimed to be a pro-lifer - so much so, that I couldn't have a discussion about a completely unrelated issue without him taking it over. He was a bully about it. He was sure he was right, but he didn't mind raising money for pro-choice groups just so he could continue to comment.
The dollars keep coming, but not so strangely, the answer to why it is ok to kill a child in the womb does not. 
$40. Because. This post. Is about. The 2nd. Fucking. Amendment. 
We got to $45. There was a long pause - maybe because he was away from his computer. By this point I was sitting at my screen just waiting. How far would it really go?
Please, I wrote, don't come to your senses now.
And he didn't. At $50 I blocked him, called my wife, and told her I wanted to make a donation to a pro-choice group, because of something that happened to me on Facebook. She made a sound halfway between a chuckle and a sigh, and asked to speak to the kids.
I learned several obvious lessons. You probably already know them, but they bear repeating: 
  • Anti-abortion people are less concerned with saving lives than they are with winning arguments on the internet. They are sure they are good and right, and they love that feeling. It makes them odious. It's one thing to try to transform this country into a Handmaid's Tale-type dystopia. But you don't have to be rude about it.
  • Facebook helps you stay in touch with people you shouldn't, and it helps you discover the worst person you can possibly be.
  • I need more supervision.
Having said that, I want your help. If you have dealt with tools from the anti-abortion movement - people who don't respect others in big and small ways - please consider giving money to the STFU Fund, which I just made up. Donate a small amount to NARAL or Planned Parenthood. Then write back and tell me about it.

I'm going to keep track of how much money we raise. I think it will send a message to the Dans of the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Message To The NRA From Robert E. Lee

Guys, it's been done. Really. This whole argument you have about how ordinary folks need their AR-15s to protect their rights from the government. And someday the authorities might try to round all your firearms up, but you're going to fight, and...

Totally did it. We took that little notion about as far as it could go. How do I know this? Because I'm the poor son of a bitch who tried it. And as they say, things went south.

What do you think the Confederacy was? It was the largest, most well-organized American militia group that ever tried to take on the US military. And they went after us like a pack of pitbulls going through an old folks home. It was not pretty. And when your time comes, you and your camping buddies from the real estate firm are not going to last anywhere near as long as we did, okay? You'll get a million views on YouTube, they'll pop you into a federal prison, and nothing will be any different.

Why does this matter? Because a main argument you gun nuts use to fend off regulation is that you act as a powerful check on tyranny. You do not. I know it, the feds know it, and even you know it, deep down.

Right now there are rightwingers filming TSA agents and sending it to Drudge. There are leftwingers tracking CIA black sites. People across the spectrum are hassling their representatives and planning demonstrations. Many of these actions are pretty pitiful to be honest. But all of them are much more effective than your stupid game of Weekend Apocalypse. You might as well become Civil War reenactors. And believe me, admitting that is unspeakably painful.

Stop playing soldier, stop preventing common sense gun control laws, and take some responsibility for your government.

And by the way, NASCAR sucks, Carolina barbecue is overrated, and Lynrd Skynyrd are from Florida, which isn't even part of the South. I'm done here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Message To The NRA From The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

Hey, guys.

Pestilence here. The other riders and I are pretty busy lately, but we wanted to take a moment and make something clear. In the days ahead many of you will be deploying some pretty stupid arguments against gun control in this country. The whole "cars are deadly, knives are deadly, Nazis started this, and anyway, what about abortion?" kind of dealie. God, it makes our heads hurt just thinking about it. When you write this stuff you make the internet even more stupid than it already is. Instead of wading into this nonsense we wanted to just address one very specific notion you'll be sharing with your friends on Facebook.

You really think gun ownership protects you from the government taking your rights.

This isn't even an argument at all. It's a poorly-conceived Red Dawn fantasy. You say things like this, because in some ugly part of your brain you want to see yourself fighting the globalist army after the collapse of our country. And you have that particular dream because you're old and white, and you're afraid of the way this country is changing. The guns give you a feeling of control.

Okay, well, first of all... when the balloon really goes up you're certainly going to die very, very quickly. It won't be like the movies, trust us. You will lumber down into your basement to start the generator, and you will trip, cut yourself on a rusty lawn mower part, or maybe just have a massive cardiac, because you're overweight, and the only thing you stand a chance against with that AK-47 is a deer. There's a whole political party devoted to telling people like you - the most soft and privileged and pampered members of this wonderful country - that you're some hardy band of rebels fighting oppression. That little fairy tale will evaporate before Glenn Beck collects his gold chips.

Secondly, there really are people fighting against government tyranny. But they're unarmed. They're reporters, and lawyers, and human rights weenies from Europe. They try to make politicians and bureaucrats accountable for the terrible things they can do. Sometimes they even succeed. Occasionally there's a subcommittee meeting, or a scandal, or a change in the law, or a politician loses his job or even goes to jail. Once upon a time, a couple of commie reporters helped remove a sitting president of the United States. You and your camping buddies playing soldier in the woods have never even come close to that.

Say what you want about guns... just don't act like it's about defending freedom. You're not defending anything. Your stupid game prevents us from ending a threat to public safety, but it is utterly irrelevant to the struggle for liberty in 21st century America. You want to do something real, start researching campaign donations, make FOIA tougher, call up a Congressman and bitch. Right now your biggest enemy is not a fleet of UN helicopters. It's an Olive Garden breadstick basket. Cut down on the carbs and grow the hell up.

Either way, it's not really our problem. Be seeing you.

(NOTE: If this article got to you, please consider joining the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. It was founded by that leftist from the Reagan administration. Thanks to PS for this link.)
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