I psychoanalyzed a facebook racist
I am a poet and a prosaist. Journalism is in my blood inherently as my father was one of the young men who tried to fulfill their Rum Diaries-esque fever dreams and had a good career working at the San Juan Star until it went kaput and forced him to go work for Wall Street (as these things go), but I never have written an editorial piece before.
Well, not until now. Actually, I never have felt as compelled to write an editorial as I do now. The following had been brought to my attention countless times and i’d tried to avoid it, yes, but one can’t in this election season. A friend of mine on facebook shared this post on facebook (in a let’s-ridicule-this-guy way) and I never realized I could even write one of these until I scrolled through this man’s facebook. Because when I have opinions, it seems to me like they need to be shared- this is one of the reasons I write. And trust me, did I have opinions about this piece!
Michael Poage is a middle aged man with a wife and (what I will assume) are two nice looking late-teenaged kids from Woodward, Oklahoma, pop: 12,000.
He’s also a vicious racist. Let’s deconstruct the post I linked earlier line by line.
“I took down my rebel flag”
First red flag, no pun intended. I can’t recall a time I ever saw someone refer to the Confederate flag as the “rebel flag” objectively. It’s almost always with affection.
“[Which you CAN’T buy on ebay anymore]”
No, this isn’t going to be an inspiring tale about how someone realized their truly disgusting ways. Sorry.
“I peeled the NRA sticker off my front window.”
The only part of this post, context removed, that is actually pleasant to read.
“I disconnected my home security and quit the candy-ass neighborhood watch.”
That’s okay, Mike. I hope you’re safe, putting your life out on the line like that in the dangerous free-for-all city of Woodward, Oklahoma.
“I bought two Pakistani flags…”
Ok?? There is a Pakistani diaspora, you know. People are allowed to buy and hang up flags of their native countries. Do you want a certificate? I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at.
“Then I purchased the black flag of ISIS (which you CAN buy on Ebay)”
*bzzt* Wrong, Mike. I’m sorry. You actually can’t buy the ISIS flag. A search for ISIS flag on ebay brings up a bunch of poorly thought out and quite frankly embarrassing t shirts (“I am the infidel Allah warned you about”? What are you even talking about? You’d think t shirt designers know how to use google translate or even google. For Christs-sake.)
the rest is all BS about how the CIA and etc is watching him now, and he feels safe, but the final lines are the sprinkles on the shit sundae.
“[I wear a burka now] and if security wants to pat me down and sees i’m a man, i’ll just tell them I feel like a woman.”
It’s almost as if he was almost done writing it, realized that he hadn’t been transphobic yet, and immediately grasped for a bizarre straw.
My conclusion from scrolling through this man’s facebook is that he, in the words of one of the commentators on my friend’s post: “His world is dying and slipping through his fingertips and there’s absolutely f*cking nothing he can do to stop it and he sees his powerlessness and he’s scared.” The more I looked at the more I understood.
This is a middle aged guy who, according to his facebook, was raised *on Saturday cartoons, playing in the dirt, getting [his] butt whipped with a belt, the pledge at school,with 5 channels on TV, playing in the creek, recording top 40s from the radio on a cassette*, among other things. His entire life right now consists of a subconscious yearning for the old days, which is the 1970s in, I assume, Oklahoma. This is a guy who was raised like a good ol’ boy, saw his parents cheer on the police when they would break up civil rights riots on the news, and most importantly, to never question authority- especially the most important one, the constitution.
A guy with two children who cheers on Black Lives Matter protesters getting the shit kicked out of them by rednecks with nothing better to do. I wonder if his children are a little more liberal than him. I can only hope. I think, along with the countless others like him, that he is terrified. Living in small town Oklahoma i’m fairly confident he’s met only a handful of Hispanics and Middle Eastern people or even Black people (Woodward is 91% percent white).
Suddenly he sees all these topics on the news. He shares conspiracy theory websites because they feed into his fear and give him a grasp of what’s going on in this changing world. It’s a common theme throughout history. The Marines are a godlike figure to him until he realizes there’s Muslim marines, and then it’s suddenly like there must be a conspiracy going on, that the dead marine’s father is secretly Al-Qaida is this is a manipulation tactic. It’s the face of a man who is terrified of change.
I don’t mean to pick on you Michael, since unfortunately you’re not the only one. But you should’ve made your posts private.