On any political or news article there seems to be a "peanut gallery" of armchair pundits that take any opportunity to rip into Obama, Democrats, liberals, and anything else that they don't like. I have sparred against these people many times, presented the truth and debunked the lies, but my experience has left me wondering...
Is it worth replying to any of these people?
More after the orange thinga-ma-jig.
I don't think its worth my time to even try to debate these people anymore.
I have had plenty of experience dealing with right-wing trolls. I once spent months on a certain activist forum, thinking that by beating the trolls back with facts that I was doing some good. My main goal was to fend off the trolls so that the forum could be used for its intended purpose of activism. No matter what I did or said (I once asked for mod rights so that I could clean up the forum that the admins didn't have time to do...) there would always be more attack threads bumped to the top of the page every morning. Eventually I left that site and peeked at it again a few months later. It turns out that any of my efforts were futile: The same BS threads were clogging up the forums. Nothing I did mattered!
These trolls are everywhere too! Any news site is filled with them, and even benign forums have topics filled with this drivel. I'm sick of it! I'm tired of the lies and the hatred and the bigotry disguised as "traditional" or "religious" or whatever feel-good verbiage that the haters choose to use this week.
I highly doubt that anything I can say to these people will magically cure them of their bigotry, just like nothing they say to me will make me think Socialist is a bad word (Er... The top 5 happiest countries according to surveys are all Socialist. How terrible!)
So why do I do it? Why do we all end up in these time wasting debates when we both know that they will amount to nothing? My theories:
1. We want to feel like we are doing something.
There is so much going on in our lives that it is hard to find time to get out and physically help a cause, which makes "armchair activism" an enticing preposition. We can't all just take the day off from work and go canvas a neighborhood, and protesting seems to be more of a privilege than a right these days. Getting online and debunking yet another "Death Panels" idiot makes us feel like we did something, but have we really accomplished?
2. We want to be "right".
We all want to be on the winning team. Politics feels more like a sport than a clash of ideologies, especially when I catch myself reading the daily Poll wrap-ups and cheering for my "team" (Obama aka anyone BUT Mitt) when they are ahead.
It is the same way with comments. Whenever I see a list of anti-Obama comments, I feel an urge to post away and show that our side is "right" and their side is "wrong." I'm sure that they feel the same way as well.
3. I want to balance out the hate.
Personally, I feel bad when I look through a comments section of a website and I see four anti-Obama comments for every one Progressive of Centrist comment. I feel like I have to balance out the attacks with my own input.
4. I want to debunk obvious lies.
There are so many lies being spewed in this election, it sickens me. If I see one of the big lies being tossed around with no one calling them out, I feel like I have to jump in and force the poster to back up their lies. They can't, or they will change the subject, or produce a straw man. A few will post links to crackpot websites as "proof" and then lie when confronted about it. This seems like a good thing, except that the next day the same lies will be posted again, and again, and again. Aargh!
The worst thing about all of this is that I KNOW I am doing no good by engaging in these fights, but its like an itch that I have to scratch. I want to help the better candidate win, but I don't know how. I don't even know where my local Democratic campaign office is located, and whenever I go online I feel like I am alone in a sea of hate. That I am the odd one for believing that, yes, the ACA IS a good thing, for example. It is a feeling of helplessness that no matter what I do, I can't make a difference.
What does the DKos think about all of this? Have you fought against conservatrolls on other websites? Do you feel that it is worth doing, or is there something more productive that we could get involved in? What should I do?
This is my first DKos diary! I'm looking forward to posting/doing more in the future :)