So my friend Julie has a 23 year old son who shared a text-meme on his Facebook page that went like this:

“Aside from Trump being an asshole and Joe being a bumbling idiot trying to repeat phrases being beat into him by his coaches, the main difference between the two is this: Trump says what he believes.  Biden says what he thinks you want to believe.  I’ll take the asshole with 3 years in politics who has done exactly what he said he would do over the spineless politician with 47 years who tells you what you want to hear and does the opposite.”

Pretty tame, in my opinion!  The strongest pejorative in the whole thing is directed against Trump, despite this being a pro-Trump post.  So Julie’s niece, the first cousin to this young man who originally posted, replies with this:

“Outside of the fact that you understand absolutely nothing about politics, you act like a complete joke.  I could write up some long post explaining the faults in this post and every other racist, misogynist rambling piece of trash you throw up on this page.  However, it’s not even worth it.  You have no right to act the way you do — out of touch, disrespectful, and racist — you have had better role models.  You have chosen to profit off the generosity, love, and support of your liberal grandparents and family members your ENTIRE life, all the while you disrespect them and act like a child.  Grandma would be so disappointed in you and I am wildly disappointed that I am related to someone who should know so much better.  As many of your posts have asked, I will be removed myself from your page and successfully distancing myself from anyone who acts like you do.”

Perhaps the biggest shocker is that people in their early 20’s still use Facebook.

Perhaps the second biggest shocker is that any of us still use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, in light of the full blown censorship of free speech and factual information that is happening wholesale on those platforms.  The social media censorship started out like a lamb, and is now roaring like a lion — a perfect example of the totalitarian tiptoe.  Oh you wanna share a legitimate media news link about Hunter Biden’s laptop or 372k Pennsylvania mail-in ballots being rejected?  Surprise!: no.  It gets less and less surprising every time, unfortunately.

Why don’t we all leave?  Because we have very few other functioning news sources.  I don’t know if I’m representative, but I had the moral fiber to leave Netflix right away over the cuties thing, once I ascertained to my own satisfaction that diabolical manipulations were, indeed, taking place.  I want to leave social media — it’s an outrage for any of us to stay, under these conditions — but in the absence of a functioning free press, or worse, a press that acts as an actual organ for the DNC, I’m frankly not sure where to get my news, if not social media despite its increasingly obvious compromised state.  I mean, those guys have already crossed the rubicon on blatant censorship; they’re in for a penny, may as well be in for a pound.  I’m one of that sort who thinks there will be reveals, in the near future, that will make this shit look tame, and other than Fox News and Tucker-freaking-Carlson, I…don’t know what to imagine, in terms of the actual transmission of news occurring.  It’s seeming increasingly problematic, right?  Like, at some point there might be some news we literally ALL, left right and center or whatever is passing for those exponentially polarizing positions…need to know.  In an environment where journalists won’t do their jobs, tech platforms won’t do their jobs, and large swaths of the American public aren’t even on-line as reasonably sentient beings.  Like, they’re not even functioning.  I used the above example as my example because it’s so representative of the enormous intellectual damage that’s been inflicted on a major segment of our population.

It puts me in mind of the Hunger Games novels, when Peeta was brainwashed by agents of the Capital to loathe and fear Katniss, through the use of negative imagery and tracker jacker venom.  One of Katniss’s staunchest allies has been actually weaponized against her.

It’s obviously obnoxious to read the example of what’s happening all over Facebook and all over social media and all over, indeed, America, but beyond being obnoxious and utterly unfounded, it’s super dangerous.  Our staunchest allies — our friends, our families, our coworkers — have been weaponized against us.  And as Google’s shadow ban of Hawaiian Democratic Senator Tulsi Gabbard has proven, it’s not simply a partisan weaponization, unfortunately.  It’s much worse.  It’s ideological warfare waged at a level designed to manipulate the emotions.  I mean, they may as well be strapping people down, injecting them with tracker jacker venom, and showing them horrible, vile, and violent manufactured images of us, the collective us.  It pretty much goes without saying that I and everyone I know who’s kept some kind of grip through all this have been labeled racist, misogynist, bigot, disgusting, all the words.  All the ugly words.  And if you deconstruct the young cousin’s comment, it’s utterly conventional and expected, unfortunately.  Straight to the personal attack; labels I’m assigning you; I would set you straight but why bother; emotions emotions emotions, shame shame shame.  This new chestnut is getting old real fast.  Worst of all: “You have no right to act the way you do…” — this fundamental misunderstanding of “rights” as things that can be dispensed with, depending on who’s offended and how much.

This commenter, by the way, is the leader of the Young Democrats club at NAU, whose website describes their organization in this way: “The Young Democrats of America is the official youth arm of the Democratic Party. The NAU chapter of the Young Democrats seeks to empower students to pursue the ideas of liberty, justice, and freedom for all through the support of the Democratic Party and its ideas, ideals, and candidates.”  And this chick is running it.

So.  As always, you know, I find this kind of thing appalling and obnoxious, but this morning it’s on my mind in a deeper way.  In the Hunger Games, we all knew Peeta was a wonderful person, and his mental and emotional hijacking at the hands of the Capital represented a terrible injury — worse than a wounded leg or a collapsed lung.  To intentionally damage someone’s psyche is unforgivable; to intentionally damage millions of people’s psyches, literally in order to weaponize them against their friends, families, communities, and nation, is…pretty smart, actually.  Props.  What’s shocking to me, and what I never seem to get over, is that it works.  It works on dumb people, it works on smart people.  It works on uneducated people and people with degrees.  It works on poor people and rich people.  Black people and white people.  (Latinos don’t seem to be having it lol.)  Overall, it works really well; I mean, look around.

And I guess, for maybe the first time this morning, I’m realizing: we’re in the middle of a mass casualty incident, here.  We love these people.  We’d never walk away from them, laying there with a sucking chest wound or a fractured arm.  But they’re weaponized, and they truly can’t see us, can’t hear us, can’t feel us, through the calculated overlay of their tracker jacker trauma.  They are dangerous, most of all to themselves, but obviously to us, and to everything, as well.  With Peeta, at least he could be strapped to a bed, right?  To prevent him from killing Katniss, while unfortunately the advantage of him as an ally was thoroughly negated.  I mean, what the fuck do we do with them?  We’re barely grasping the enormity of how they became weaponized in the first place; we’re a long way from understanding how to diffuse them.

That’s not a question I have the answer to.  It’s astounding to me, though, that a massive segment of the population could be so conditioned to, with zero self-consciousness, offer a series of pejoratives in response to a trigger.  Anything in the neighborhood of Trump is obviously the trigger, but as you’ll observe, the pejoratives are immediately personal, and no prior relationship or intimate knowledge of the target AS a person buffers the process.  I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t happened to me to, half a dozen times from people I know well, and many more than that, from casual acquaintances.  Peeta sees Katniss and tries to choke her to death, period.

This is a mass casualty incident.

Well, I love these people, as surely as Julie loves her niece, and I guess all we really can do is stay in love, as Michael Jaco always recommends, and release from our lives as needed, for whatever duration.

One of Nick’s best friends came online as a sleeper agent just the other week.  They were out at dinner with two other people, and the subject of election fraud and mail-in ballot problems came up.

Again, pretty tame in the scheme of things, right?  You would think.

Nick’s friend followed the formula exactly: massive, immediate offense.  Straight to the personal attack.  Additional facts and clarity only added fuel to the fire.  It actually escalated to the point where not only conservative Nick but both of the other friends — a Democrat and a centrist, in broad terms — were begging, literally begging, this person to first of all stop yelling in the restaurant, and second to please drop the subject or at least talk about it later, in private.  To no avail.  Tracker jacker venom induced dissociative state was full blown, and Nick’s entire relationship with this person, their years of not only friendship but having gotten sober together — a bonding experience second only to, like, dudes sharing in a fox hole — became entirely negligible in the face of the incomprehensible mandate to attack, attack, attack.  Attack the source of the trigger, which in this case was Nick.

He was frankly rattled by it.  So was I, hearing about it.  So am I, recounting the above exchange, with which I introduced this blog.  So have I been, in my own numerous tete a tetes with people who know damn well my character, or should.

This is an astounding, broad scale incapacitation of our nation’s human resources.  Everyone I know is either experiencing this or has themselves fallen prey.  This is a real life zombie apocalypse.  It makes negotiation and compromise impossible — I mean mechanically impossible.  Look, in your mind I’m *already* an x y z — all the cardboard concepts your broken brain inserts in place of actually seeing me, hearing me, feeling me.  There’s nowhere to go from here.  There’s no way to appease you.  There’s no way for me to salvage the esteem I had nothing to do with you losing for me in the first place.  It’s a dead end.  I don’t know how you got there, but I certainly can’t fix it.  Reason can’t fix it, facts can’t fix it, the news can’t fix it, reality can’t fix it.  And frankly it has nothing to do with the election, although that’s the meta-context in which this mass casualty event is occurring.  I mean, by the time they had Peeta so twisted around that his first, last, and middle impulse was to choke Katniss to death on sight, do you think a win from the Capital would have appeased him one bit?  No!  It became personal.  Brainwashing is intimately, disgustingly, enduringly, personal.

Teal Swan says that, because we are geared to survive, and our human survival is inextricably linked to societal approval, that our prime directive to be seen as “good” is so powerful, and so dominant, that we will reorganize everything in our minds to support belief in our own goodness.  Like, it just doesn’t matter what that has to mean.  2+2=5?  No problem.  The sky isn’t blue?  No problem.  Whatever math works out to us being seen as good, by ourselves and others, that’s the math.  Period.

I think this insight, delivered not in response to anything lately but just as a basic tenet of her whole approach to spiritual self-development, holds the key to understanding and perhaps even healing this mass casualty event:

“The ultimate form of competition that takes place in an insecure ego is this:  I have to make you bad so I can be good.  As a result, we do not recognize or take responsibility for the things we are saying and doing and the way we are acting and the impact it is having on other people…The safest person in the world, and also the most awakened, is the one who intimately knows their own ‘badness’ and who sees their own shadow. This is the only kind of person who is capable of creating a world that is conscious, authentic and harmonious. The most dangerous person in the world, and also the least awakened, is the person who is convinced he is good to the degree that he can say or do anything and spin it into the idea that saying it or doing it makes him good.”

Ring any fucking bells?

I guess it’s kind of endearing, when you look at it that way.  COVID: a bunch of people became so frightened that they themselves might represent a vector of harm to their loved ones, or the vice versa, that they became the Gestapo — they fucking became it, I saw it happen — in order to prevent this uncomfortable thought from gaining any momentum.

Race war: a bunch of white people became so frightened that they themselves could represent a vector of harm to people of color, or god forbid vice versa, that they became the Gestapo, in order to prevent this uncomfortable thought from gaining any momentum.

It was an emergency of belief in one’s own goodness, in both cases, and of course what should be entirely disconnected mass experiences — pandemic vs social justice movement — are diabolically and inextricably linked, and have been from the beginning, because they’re not about what they seem to be about, they’re about a manufactured environment of fear and control.  THEY don’t have to be the Gestapo; they make YOU be the Gestapo!  And you do it with no complaint!  You insist upon being the Gestapo!  It’s brilliant.  God forbid, GOD FORBID you yourself might be “bad” — a vector of transmission, a carrier of white privilege.  Anything but that.  Anything but inherent badness.  Cockroaches, scurrying beneath the counters when the light comes on.  WHO’S BEEN BAD?!

I think, in this day and age — an ideologically teetering America, a nation of tracker jacker venom trauma induced zombies, it takes a pretty strong constitution — pun intended — to say, “You know, I might be a fuck up in some ways?  But I’m pretty sure I’m not that much of a fuck up.”  In so many of these environments in which people operate, though, academia being one certainly but really anywhere that collective opinion solidifies to collective fact, regarding any individual’s relative goodness or badness, people get jumpy.  I totally understand.  If I’m in an environment where, if I say one wrong word or share the wrong opinion, the whole room is going to point at me and label me a [whatever], and my whole career or income depends on it, I’d be jumpy too.  The best defense is a good offense.  It wouldn’t be a fucking idiom in our language if it wasn’t also a deep psychological truth.  I need to believe myself to be good in order to survive, in a literally neurologically hardwired fashion; my belief in my own goodness has been threatened in the face of [pandemic] [race war] [orange man bad]; therefore, my survival has been threatened on a level I’m not even prepared to understand or analyze; my best, fastest means to reestablish my own goodness is to point out your badness.  And the earlier I recognize your badness, and the more vigorously I censor it, the better I am, demonstrably.

And here we are.  This Young Democrat club leader chick’s relationship with her own cousin is *nothing*, less than nothing, in the face of her biological mandate to survive, to believe in her own goodness, to perform her own goodness, in a political and social environment where the stakes have never been higher.

Being banished from the kingdom, though, really ain’t half bad.  Like in Game of Thrones — peasants and nobles alike put up with all the terrible monarchical bullshit in Westeros because they’d been terrified all their lives of the Wildlings who live beyond the wall.  Lifetime servitude and drudgery and endless war and powerlessness and pain was far preferable to the prospect of an existence with actual savages, north of the Wall.

Turns out, the Wildlings called themselves the Free Folk.  Their “country” was, among many other things, ground zero of women’s rights.  Ygritte put it best, much to Jon Snow’s amazement: “A man can own a woman or a man can own a knife, but no man can own both.”  Lest she cut his throat in his sleep — an unthinkable solution to a woman’s problems in Westeros proper; a perfectly valid strategy, north of the Wall.

Look — and I know anyone reading this far is a choir that doesn’t need preaching to, but here I go anyway — we Wildlings, north of the Wall, banished from the kingdom of bullshit, have the freedom to stand, arms outstretched like an enormous Jesus, and say: Come at me, bro.  Call me a racist.  Call me a misogynist.  Call me tone deaf.  Tell me my grandma would be disappointed in me.  Julie’s son, the original poster in this situation, is, by the way, a 23 year old working diesel mechanic, being chastised by a college co-ed whose parents bought her a house next to campus so she doesn’t have to pay rent, and has more time to lead the Young Democrats onward, to their next level of woke.  If that’s not a brain injury, I don’t know what is.

And this is what so many people are finding out, fleeing the sinking ship of the so-called Democratic Party in droves.  Come on in; the water’s fine.  You don’t have to be scared of the labels over here.  Motherfuckers be spittin’.  Leave Westeros, it’s dead.  On this side of the Wall, we’ve got diesel mechanics, politicians, teachers and celebrities and gay people and black people and religious people and atheists and business owners and stay at home parents and landscapers and CEO’s and everything, everyone you could ask for.  Best of all, guess what: everyone is mostly good.  And everyone’s a little bad.  And the safest person in the world is one who sees their own shadow.