Political discourse

When Conspiracy Theorists Become Bullies

by Bill Brenner January 16, 2013 Political discourse

Conspiracy theorists usually don’t bother me. Hell, I even subscribe to the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald had help assassinating JFK. But a new breed of conspiracy theorist has emerged in recent years. They make threats and act like the schoolyard bully, and they make my skin crawl. Mood music: [spotify:track:0JhAglbb3Ca9Cp2OflPKPi] The clowns who argued that 9/11 was an inside job are one example, though to my knowledge they never actually threatened anyone. Now there’s…  [Read More]

Comparing Politicians to Hitler Is Stupid

by Bill Brenner January 10, 2013 Political discourse

The debate over firearms is bringing out extreme levels of stupidity in people. Right-wingers who think gun control means taking away everyone’s right to bear arms are comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Left-wingers did the same to President Bush over his war policies. It’s the lowest common denominator; the dumbest of the dumb. Mood music: [spotify:track:4AlIvHv7kHmhi8aDvn2ctK] On the Drudge Report, Obama’s picture was lumped in with images of Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin…  [Read More]

Defending Joe Biden (Updated June 1, 2015)

by Bill Brenner January 4, 2013 Political discourse

Updated June 1, 2015: The Vice President, who has suffered a lot of loss in his life, has more character and depth beneath his outward image of buffoonery than most people know. With news that his son Beau has died of brain cancer, I’m remembering the post below, originally written in 2013. I also recommend this column from Ezra Klein on Biden’s grief perspective. I’ll surely get a boatload of criticism for what I’m about to do: defend Vice President…  [Read More]

Partisan Politics Is a Mental Health Threat

by Bill Brenner January 3, 2013 Political discourse

Like everyone else, I’ve watched the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff with a combination of disgust and anxiety. I can’t remember a time when the nation’s economic health was so threatened by political partisanship. Mood music: [spotify:track:309o3PJag8FugLJTRTZa77] It threatens our jobs and our ability to feed our families. And it’s a threat to our mental health. I feel fortunate that this shit is happening now. Up until a few years ago, this type of…  [Read More]

Politics, Facebook Friends and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner November 20, 2012 Political discourse

After all my blogging this past election season about how friends and family shouldn’t become enemies over politics and how we all need to knock off the conspiracy theories and name-calling, I’m reviewing my Facebook friends list in search of damage. Here’s my final analysis. It turns out one person unfriended me. I considered her a solid Facebook friend. We went to high school together and shared many musical tastes. We both post a lot…  [Read More]

The Election’s Over. Now What?

by Bill Brenner November 15, 2012 Political discourse

I’ve been very much out of it since Tuesday morning, when I woke up to a fever, chills, a blistering headache and exhaustion. It was so bad that I wasn’t able to sit up long enough to email my boss until nearly 1 p.m. Yesterday was better, though I couldn’t do much more than lie on the couch. I’m trying to get back into my writing groove this morning, but it’s not going well. I…  [Read More]

Five Takeaways From Election 2012

by Bill Brenner November 7, 2012 Political discourse

It’s no surprise to see my friends’ reactions on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Obama supporters are elated; Romney supporters are bitter. One person lamented that “things will never be OK again!” Mood music: [spotify:track:5Qy0zLjQy3czoj0yZ7DFkk] I feel for those who wanted a different outcome. This election season was particularly heated among friends and family. I saw a lot of relationships tested and damaged. Some were accused of hate speech, bigotry and conspiracy-spinning. That certainly happened in…  [Read More]

Election 2012: A Disney Production

by Bill Brenner November 1, 2012 Political discourse

There’s a lot of anxiety in the air. Many people are biting their nails over next week’s presidential election. Just as many are freaked out because George Lucas sold his Star Wars franchise to Disney. Disney taking over Star Wars? Among true sci-fi fans, it’s cause for major depression. As for the election, half the population will be proclaiming the end of the world this time next week. Mood music: [spotify:track:7Kho44itYaCQZvZQVV2SLW] Yet the American and…  [Read More]

Another ‘Crazy Mike’ Facebook Page? Jerks.

by Bill Brenner October 30, 2012 Political discourse

Last year, I found a disgusting Facebook page making fun of someone with a serious mental illness. The site was taken down, but now there’s a new page dedicated to the man locals call Crazy Mike. I want the creator and those who like the page to know something. By embracing such a page, you are making a much broader statement: either that you don’t understand the suffering a person experiences from mental illness or…  [Read More]

Political Rants on Facebook Are Annoying, But…

by Bill Brenner October 25, 2012 Political discourse

A lot of people have complained about all the ugly political comments and memes coming from their Facebook friends from the left and right. Some days it gets to me, too. But I’m going to take a moment to defend the practice. Mood music: [spotify:track:08yfTLT6ei3j15382V1foN] There are some comments I have no patience for, like when people resort to outright name calling. I unfriended one guy recently for telling another of my friends to “get…  [Read More]