Can we discourse any more?
I am disheartened right now.
The memes mocking people taking Ivermectin for taking "horse medicine" are driving home some of my exhaustion with the discourse in America that I have felt since my return.
Briefly: Ivermectin is a powerful anti-parasitic which is used to treat many human infections. In many ways it's a wonder drug for certain conditions, with a decent side effect profile. Some research is showing that in some contexts it helps with Covid. Some research is showing it doesn't do anything. I don't know. It has a horse version which has binders in it that are toxic to humans, so people shouldn't take the horse version, and some people are.
I'm not here to talk about whether it works.
This post is not about Ivermectin.
When people call it "horse medicine", they are trivializing the ongoing scientific process of discovery before our eyes and some of its very real results, and mischaracterizing this powerful drug for a cheap, tribal joke. That's anti-science.
I get it. Others have made some really bad decisions that have seriously fucked things up. It feels good to think people we fear or who threaten us are stupid. It feels good to mock them. I get that we are exhausted, weary, and traumatized.
But I AM WEARY of the idea that our exhaustion and trauma allows us to mock, demean, and dehumanize other people.
I am weary of the cognitive blinders employed to draw all conflicts into black and white.
The meme stash we moderate has become 80% tribal anger and it's disheartening.
Can we discourse while acknowledging what we don't know or where we may be wrong?
Can we discourse without calling each other idiots or sub-human?
Can we discourse without jumping into a foaming rage, throwing around in-jokes and crass hot takes that other each other?
Because if we can't, we need to look at ourselves.
We need to sit in a room and cry about how scary all this is...
until we don't need to project our fears of collapse onto others.
Your anger is not helping. It's just not.
Your anger will not vaccinate the world.
If you are making in-jokes with your friends about how everyone who thinks differently than you deserves to die, news flash: you're in a religion too.
Your hardened battle lines make our country more brittle.
Your refusal to take a fucking exhale is making things WORSE.
And before you jump in with accusations of both-sidesism, diatribes about how it's their fault because they're the ones killing everyone and not you...just take a breath.
Edit: some people are pointing to studies that Ivermectin doesn't work. That's outside the scope of this post, and my issue is with the tribal discourse around it.