I have a few Facebook acquaintances, I guess I should call them, who don’t seem to like me all that much. But what they do like, very much, is to post items they think will upset me and others whose philosophies and politics are similar to mine. When I object to the meanness of their postings, I often get the accusation that I lack a sense of humor.
Maybe that’s true (I don’t think it is), but that’s beside the point when I just can’t muster up a grin as I gaze at a post that depicts Michele Obama as a man. They label her as “Mike” and gleefully go on to describe her as a fine body-building specimen of manhood. As always, I began my research, since I don’t feel comfortable having an opinion or, even worse, writing a news piece without being informed. But, I then abruptly stopped when I realized that I didn’t care if I found out there was truth in the Mike and Barry expose. I decided that if Michelle was a man it wouldn’t influence my trust in her or my respect for Obama. I couldn’t see that the president living with a transgender seemed to have in any way influenced his governing our nation or his dealings with the rest of the world. Power on, boys, I wish nothing but good for you.
Now, that brings us to the matter of Dr. Rachel Levine. Here the haters have us normal people by the gizzards. Dr. Levine is a four-star admiral and since March 2021, has been the United States Assistant Secretary of Health. Admiral Levine was born a male, but in 2011 she transitioned to female. Rachel, nee Richard, is 65 and in 1988 married Martha who gave them two children. They divorced in 2013. This person has so many honors and accolades that if I listed them I would exceed the word limit I was given for this article. Suffice it to say, she is more than worthy of being named USA Today’s 2022 Woman of the Year!
Now, here’s the rub. Our Facebook haters have found a treasure trove of very, very very unattractive photos of the admiral. And they are having so much fun maligning Levine and posing the question that our president must have been out of his mind to appoint this creature to a government position as esteemed as assistant secretary of health. Forgive me, but creature is how these haters choose to view our national cabinet member. Because if they saw her as a fellow, as a human just like them, well, then how could they be so mean? How could they deliberately bring pain to one just like them? To fight the enemy it’s best to see them as “the other.”
And that brings us to another member of the cabinet: secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg is an acknowledged homosexual and proudly displays pictures of himself with his family; husband Chasten and adopted children, Joe and Penelope. The man is fearless and he is good. Nonetheless, those Facebook haters have chosen to post a widely shared meme of Pete wearing an over-the-shoulder device that holds milk and allows him to breast feed one of his kids. It’s well-crafted and appears real. Real enough that our Facebook acquaintance generated responses from his legion of followers, one of which said, “Wow! Bro, this made me laugh. Then felt disgusted and now just sad.” This responder did not perceive the photo as fake. On the contrary, they saw it as real and it made them feel disgusted.
More recently, Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, was attacked in their home by an intruder who has stated he went there specifically to break Nancy’s kneecaps in order to put her in a wheelchair that when seen in the Capitol would be a warning to others who thought like she did and must learn that there were consequences to actions. OK. So the intruder hit Mr. Pelosi on the head with a hammer, requiring him to undergo hospitalization and surgery. But what a firestorm ensued from this incident.
Anyone who held a disliking for Nancy Pelosi (because I seriously doubt that many people knew Mr. Pelosi well enough to form an opinion), felt a need to express a negative view of the proceedings. And these opinions were expressed by the people without public notoriety all the way up to a past U.S. president. All those Negative Nellies were of a like mind. Could the Speaker of the House be married to a pervert? On Nov. 5, The New York Times printed an article headed, “How Republicans Fed a Misinformation Loop About the Pelosi Attack.” The article then goes on to name 21 elected officials, candidates and other prominent figures who spread misinformation or cast doubt on the attack. Among those 21 are ex-president Trump, Elon Musk, Tucker Carlson and so on.
If you have read this far, you may see where this column is heading. Yep, you’re right. But before I state the obvious, I must say that I had to stop typing and reflect. I pondered, “Could I be wrong about the far right abusing the Democratic Party in social media?” And, “Is the same thing happening from the opposite camp?” So I researched it. You’re right. Those dastardly Democrats are making fun of many in the Republican Party. They are going so far as posting memes of Marjorie Greene dressed as a clown. They make fun of her when she mentions in a speech that “American dollars should not go to foreign countries like Guam,” displaying an ignorance that Guam is an American territory.
And what they have done to the reputation of Donald Trump is certainly a shame. But I could not find many outright lies. And the cruelty was gentle compared to what the Right dreams up. Vicious. And, oh yes, if you look at the overriding theme of the above incidents you’ll find that the right is overwhelming afraid of that which is not just like themselves. Homophobic much my right wing acquaintance?
Gary Boone is a Hillsboro native and resident.