On the Worlds Behind the Words

As my circle of political friends and acquaintances grows wider, particularly on Facebook, I’m not only struck by the ideological variety, but by the diversity of idiosyncrasies. We all have our bailiwicks and pet peeves, but what makes the distribution so fascinating is its unpredictability and varied intensities. On my wisest days, I don’t only see left-wingers arguing with right-wingers; socialists with liberals, or identitistas with classistas. I see people from vastly different—or quite similar—backgrounds and persuasions navigating and reacting to shit that happened to them on an elementary school basketball court, in a high school bathroom stall, or about some drunken main street or posh side street two or three decades ago. What I mean to say is that I see passionate and confused souls (myself included) litigating their life’s greatest regrets, humiliations, or perhaps achievements within the narrow and always deceptive parameters of ideological combat. This doesn’t make that combat any less worthwhile or excusable, but it does add another (maybe even more healthy) prism in which to understand the arena in which we stand.

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