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Politics by the People

One of the people who likes to pop in on one of my political comments from time to time, to just engage in name calling and baiting, did so again recently and so I decided to go to his Facebook timeline and start fact checking all of his meme posts. His timeline was almost nothing but meme posts from conservative propaganda content websites.

After leaving comments with links to credible sources, he started deleting my comments, so I posted them back. He then started to delete posts altogether to avoid me explaining to him and his followers how these points were wrong and inaccurate. 
 
Soon, he and his followers then began to leave comments, all of which:
 
  • Attack the sources (none were biased)
  • Attack my credibility (I must only watch liberal media)
  • Attack me personally (looks, intelligence)
  • Attacking my alignment (never stated my political alignment)
  • Attack my service in the military (apparently I faked my service or I was a disgrace to the uniform)
  • Attack my masculinity (“sweetheart” was thrown around a lot)
 
The last resort that was used to gaslight me was “I’m living in your head, rent free”. Except, I was literally just posting fact based comments and he, as well as his followers, were going out of their way to attack my character for doing so. His college aged son even got in on the mockery, well after things had died down a bit. I didn’t want to pick a fight with a kid so I kept my replies short. 
 
And let’s be clear, I don’t care about the insults, I literally have no care if someone on the internet doesn’t like me, but the escalation of this just because someone dared to say “You’re wrong, here’s why…” is worth noting in today’s culture. People are willing to tear you apart and lie about your character on the internet, rather than simply say; “What you said there makes sense, maybe I’ve been wrong, I will look into it some more.” Or even a neutral “I disagree” and leave it at that. That attack you to try and intimidate you so you will leave.  This is the same tactic I have found from trolling Facebook sites like Breitbart. Leave a comment, get personally attacked. This is a trained and learned behavior. They are told to ignore the devient liberals, and if you start to think like them, or question our positions, we will do the same to you.”
 
Again, while being berated with childish name calling, I stuck to the facts and called out the childish behavior of their reactions. Shame did little to nothing to people who claim to be normal hard-working adults. The effort of shaming them made them dig even more in. Eventually the guy suspended his account, which “wasn’t related to me whatsoever” (He signed back on and tagged me in a post to make that clear). He said it was to “think about some things” and for what it is worth, I hope he’s taking stock in “that’s not the kind of engagement with people he wants to do”. I could tell that this guy tries to be a nice guy, but he’s learned this behavior in his tribe and he’s conflicted on how it affects his identity. I hope he figures it out. 
 
To be clear; it wasn’t my intent to see this guy shut his account down, I simply wanted him to see he’s taken an extreme position, abandoned fact checking his own beliefs, and at this point just enjoyed the meme posts simply because it called the other half of Americans different from him, stupid. It made him and his friends feel smarter, by using memes that were false in facts.
 
I feel like the Dunning-Kruger effect should be taught in schools as a necessity in today’s internet-social culture.
Maybe if people had the knowledge of their own cognitive bias, they would be less arrogant in engaging with other people about things they don’t really understand. 

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