Let’s mind our memes

By Ashley Bean Thornton

I follow my Texas State Rep, Doc Anderson, on Facebook. Most of the posts on his page are non-controversial:  mentions of community events, patriotic pictures, a bit of history here and there, funny animal pics, the occasional Bible verse.

Every now and then he posts a political meme poking fun at liberals, for example, a recent one was a picture of Kermit the Frog with the caption “Can someone update me on what’s offensive Today.  It’s hard to keep up!”  Hardy-Har-Har!  They are pretty lame, but they usually rate more of an eye-roll than any real aggravation.  Political teasing is part of what makes the whole game of politics fun!

The other day though, I came across a meme he had posted that pushed me past eye-roll, into shaking- my-head and even a heavy sigh.


Doc, Doc, Doc – tsk, tsk — I know you don’t really mean that!

I am a Biden supporter.  Do you really think America would be better off without me?  Do you think Waco would be better off without me?

I don’t mean to get all braggy, but I do have a few redeeming virtues!

  • I’m a hard worker. I’m retired now, but I worked for 20 years at the University in town.
  • I am a homeowner, and a tax-payer, and a voter.
  • I have adopted three stray dogs from the Humane Society.
  • I work in an afterschool program helping little kids learn their math.
  • I go to church.
  •  I donate to local charities and patronize local businesses.
  • I pick up trash when I see it.
  • I organize “Waco Walks.” (Thanks for sharing about our upcoming Tornado Remembrance Walk on your Facebook page, by the way.)
  • I make really, really good cookies!
  • I’m good at hugs!
  • I advocate for Whataburger to bring back the jalapeno cheddar biscuit!

Surely, I am not such a drag on the good old USA that you dream about me leaving the country?

I’m picking on Doc because I saw the meme on his Facebook page, and because…OK…I do expect my State Rep to do a little better! Of course, I am well aware that mean memes come from every part of the political spectrum. Most of them are just mildly irritating — I mean, really, who has time to get mad about some dumb meme?

I do feel strongly, though, that this particular variant of the “mean meme” epidemic – the “I wish you would just go away” variant – is worse than most.

People are more than their politics.  As long as we remember that we can still figure out ways to like each other and maybe even do some good work together.  If we forget that, if we lose our appreciation and empathy for each other, I think we make it very difficult to do democracy together productively.

And I really want us to keep on doing democracy… because I like it here… I don’t want to leave America.

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