Alt-Right messaging has become rampant on the internet
In fact, in my community there are many atheists that are a part of the larger Alt Right community. The Alt-Right community has a good portion of trolls. They successfully derailed concerns about Donald Trump’s blatant misogyny, racism, and sexual abuse by projecting faults on to Hillary Clinton. Though she has faults, they are not the same as Trump’s –not even close.
When it’s not about dialogue
Though I have been wrong myself, I am an ex-Creationist, it isn’t simply that they are wrong. I have erred too often on assuming good faith. Trolling is often the more likely explanation. Perhaps even, unintentionally allowing someone to derail the conversation. In effect, using my space as a platform for their misinformation and sometimes even disinformation.
People who didn’t come to your space to be reasoned with. People who were often not even friends with me on FB. I have seen these people openly tag each other to join in. Non-friends and some pseudo-friends especially dominating the discussion are a sign of dogpiling.
When it’s time to part ways
However, I am still friends with people that are not helping to move equality forward. Even sometimes in small ways whether intentionally or not because they have bought poorly reasoned ideas. The kicker is how unreasonable some are in discussions and derailing conversations with often Alt-Right talking points recycled often from Right Wing Propaganda.
Let’s have a look at how far the rabbit hole goes
Although not typical trolls, paid Russian trolls are defending Trump. And our homegrown Alt-Right trolls are plentiful and well evidenced. Look at the cesspool of disinformation that is Breitbart. Look at how their head troll Steve Bannon now is Trump’s Chief’s advisor.
Who should we blame for Alt-Right Politics?
I am fed up after this election which couldn’t have been a more blatant display of racism and misogyny after being gaslit for years that these aren’t really problems. And still, these same talking heads including ostensible liberals who want to blame minority identity politics and have us understand white identity politics as the cause for the whitelash in this election.
The real reason people are unfriended
Anyways, bad faith actors have exhausted and abused my patience. For example, a bad faith actor calling me a racist for pointing out systemic racism. I have no time and patience anymore with the willfully ignorant. I still have patience for the reasonable and misguided or people that can convince me I am wrong in a respectful, good faith manner. The decision to stop engaging and giving my platform to unreasonable people and trolls with repellant Alt-Right ideas is not ultimately about politics. As Jennifer Sullivan succinctly wrote about in The Huffington Post:
“Why are people unfriending others over politics?”
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard (or read) that question these past few months, I’d have enough money to bail out the Trump Taj Mahal.
The individuals posing this query usually chalk the decision up to a lack of maturity. To an abject refusal to entertain countervailing beliefs. To a matter of mere partisanship.
And you know what I have to say to those people?
No, really. Enough.
I am so tired of people feigning shock and outrage over others not wanting to remain friends with those who are directly or indirectly fueling discrimination.
Unreasonable creationists, who close down discussions, have convinced us as atheists that we should never even block someone who is blatantly insulting you or venting vile hatred. Like calling blacks the n-word in comment sections, for example. However, I would say that we don’t have to give the same respect to unreasonable ideas than reasonable ones. At the end of the day, that is how to deal with the hatred this election brought out –by rejecting it. Especially after how unreason reigned in this election.