We're all snowflakes now

Each new week seems to bring with it a headline or development more depressing than the last for those who play the masochistic game of paying attention to politics, and the last few were no exception. I don’t even know where to begin.

           

By a margin of 45 to 20 percent, Republicans responding to a recent Economist/YouGov poll reported that they favor using courts to “shut down media outlets that publish biased or inaccurate stories” (cc: Erika Allen), and, while upsetting to people like myself who value the freedom of the press, it’s entirely unsurprising considering that the leader of the free world awakens in the wee hours of the morning from what must be haunting nightmares to launch angry Twitter missives against FAKE NEWS. If he has his way, we’ll all be rotting in prison cells next to the leakers soon and paying every cent of our exorbitant journalist salaries in legal fees.

           

But liberals don’t have much love for the open expression of ideas and free speech either now that the people fighting the hardest for those principles are angry men’s rights Internet trolls instead of hippies and nudey magazine publishers. Police departments in the UK have even taken to social media to warn citizens that all “hate speech” should be reported and will be prosecuted, and left wing icon Lena Dunham apparently launched an American Airlines investigation into two employees over allegedly transphobic comments made on her flight. I haven’t gotten around to reading “1984” yet, but from what I’ve told on both sides of the spectrum, we’re already living in some version of it.

           

Perhaps the saddest trend in all of this is that we’re losing the ability to disagree politically and still see the humanity in each other, and our once revered governmental institutions aren’t doing much to set a positive example. “American Psycho” extra and noted free speech believer Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci is out as Trump’s communications director after less than a week, and the president who marched into D.C. with a pitchfork and a blowtorch ready to incinerate the entire town is learning a cold hard fact: it’s darn near impossible to get things done in this day and age. The Donald’s supporters must be having a hard time keeping track of which one of his former allies they’re going to be forced to turn against come next week.

           

And at this point, we all know that it isn’t going to get better. The Democrats, in what should be a moment of unity against Trump heading into 2018, are imploding at the seams over the same infighting that plagued them during the last election cycle. Bernie supporters still want Bernie, and anyone not named Bernie isn’t liberal enough—namely, recent rising stars like California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

           

The DNC’s attempt to unveil a new slogan for 2018—“Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages”—was met with all of the petulance and faux indignation we’ve come to expect from the modern online liberal outrage brigade: how dare you insinuate that we don’t have skills? How dare you tell us we need better jobs? Our lives are horrible and impossible and Nazi-esque under Emperor Trump, but how could you possibly suggest that we improve them?

           

Republicans, though they still can’t seem to accomplish anything in Washington, can at least claim that they’re succeeding in Des Moines, never mind that $2.2 million lawsuit they just lost. On the bright side, supervisors meetings here have been quiet and uneventful lately, and I now know better than to write about them in my column. We all remember how that turned out.

           

I’d like to believe that here in Grundy County, we’re still mature enough to engage with people who may not vote for the same candidate as us, discuss ideas without screaming “MAGA” or “Fascist!” and appreciate the value that said dialogue contributes to a (somewhat) enlightened society.

           

But if not, we might as well just embrace the insult that was once reserved for coddled campus social justice warriors and face it: we’re becoming a nation of snowflakes. So lock yourself in the house, turn up the AC (unless you’re on Alliant, because they just jacked up everyone’s rates) and avoid human interaction at all costs: after all, we wouldn’t want to hurt each other’s feelings.