Punch Line Warfare

The other day on Facebook, I was reading a thread on the news feed of one of my American friends from youth. We’ve known each other since our teens, but I’ve never been super close. He posts a fair number of political messages, and I am never whether he is posting in full seriousness, or in jest. I don’t know many people in my life who are far on the other side of the spectrum from me. Some of his posts seem absurdly conservative, almost like Stephen Colbert mockery. I try my best to continue to have respect for him, but his Facebook posts paste him as a conservative straight line believer. He loves his guns and less government, and hates Obama… or I’m just not getting the joke, and he’s toying with us.

I have always had a hard time taking conservatives seriously. I somehow feel they’re all mocking themselves. I feel better if I believe nobody can really believe the shit they come up with. It must be a joke. Maybe they feel the same way about me.

This particular post is just like so many of his messages. It quickly gathers a lot of comments from both sites of the story, re-hashing the exact same arguments they did in the last 6 posts. One side says blah blah blah, and the other side says LA LA LA I can’t hear you. They’re just talking at each other, unwilling to listen – or believe. Neither can believe the other side can actually believe what they’re saying. It seems absurd.

The media seems to be the same. It shows us that the United States has two sides. Red vs Blue or right vs left. We are lead to believe it’s almost binary. The country is either one or the other. Crazy on one side and crazy on the other. The extremes are what they show us. My friend seems to be one of them, at least in Facebook world.

I’ll admit it. I like to play. I don’t mock so much, as throw in some humour. I am punch line guy.

I enter my reply: I don’t trust any white people.

A non sequitur punch line I throw into the mix without setup or follow up. A blanket statement added between a reply about how we’re all evil gun stealing regulation happy, and they’re all hicks with pickups or nutcases who have become addicted to the feeling of guns.

Oddly, I wasn’t expecting it, but the punch line ended the debate. People stopped. It was a thread killer. Nobody replied after that. They didn’t even rebut my remark with more ramble. It just stopped. Perhaps everyone realized they were being silly, and calmed down, retreating to their oposite corners awaiting the next fishing lure post by the same guy next time.

Sometimes a punch line can stop a war.

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