Triggering – it happens even to a straight white male


It turns out it didn’t take much for me to finally sit down and write this article. After consuming, and briefly commenting on, the politically charged 2016 and subsequent 2017, I barely feel as though more commentary is needed. At the simplest click of a button from a device within our pockets, there is nothing we can’t share with this all-consuming world.

My trigger was the status that got me typing this – a simple status from Facebook! Can you believe it? My passive-aggressive belittlement of the snowflake liberals and their ability to get ‘triggered’ was always largely amusing to me, and somewhat irritating to my peers. Yet here we are. What you are reading is the result of a white man getting ‘triggered’ by a post from a distant acquaintance on social media. Let’s make it a good one, shall we? Behold, the trigger:

“It’s amazing, in 2017, that women are still being silenced.”

I considered this thumb-stoppable content since the text I read shot up through my arm and pierced my brain harder than any other content I had seen that day. Nothing on my channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instapaper, or Snapchat – had caused such a burning feeling behind my right eye. This simple statement lead to a harrowing feeling running down to my spine, splitting to reach all 10 of my toes – seemingly bypassing my penis, realising the symbolic impotence it now represents.

There was not one thing that immediately upset me. (I use the word ‘upset’ here, not to describe my personal feelings but more like my attitudes towards society as a whole).

First, it was no doubt referring to the recent silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Senate by Mitch McConnell.  My understanding is that she illegally broke the floor rules and was told to discontinue.

Though her shameless tactic of reading out letters from Martin Luther King Jr. frustrated me, the most frustrating was the clear oblivion in her ability to see it for what it was.

First, it was on a free social media platform, available to every man, woman, and child in the western world. Second, she was referring to an event whereby Senator A, silenced Senator B due to illegal activity. Third, and perhaps most importantly, she was attempting to find some loose thread of comparison between this heinous violation of democracy and her villainous president voted in by an act of democracy.

Quite simply, this girl has never had it so good would be nothing more outrageous or scandalous than me drawing a comparison between her statement and the fact the sun will rise tomorrow.

My fourth point on this matter was the fact that this girl was simply upset that her preferred candidate for presidency didn’t win. Hillary Clinton was the most successful female presidential candidate in American history. Democracy spoke, and Donald Trump beat her to it. The fact that he got there with the help of Kellyanne Conway, the first female to ever orchestrate a successful presidential campaign, only adds to her idiotic and unwarranted status.

In a moment of nostalgia, I recalled all the times I would become too vocal, too opinionated, and too aggressive on other people’s internet timelines. I thought about the destruction I would cause her emotional wellbeing if I articulated these facts and invaded her safe space like the disgusting white man I am; committing the horrifying act called ‘mansplaining’ – an equally sexist term brought upon me.

So, I did the noble thing and unfriended her. I don’t need that negativity in my life, and I don’t need the raised heartrate.

The sadness in all of this is when I realised that by respecting her right to freedom of speech – a right she has embraced with all her uneducated force – I no longer felt like I could express myself. I know friends and family who’ve lost friends over dinner-party conversations regarding Brexit and Trump – did I want to run the risk of losing any more?

I have always valued the idea of freedom of speech and our right and duty to engage in thought – provoking discussion. However, it must not go ignored that the longer we continue in this liberally-controlled state of panic, the more we all face to lose through our newly found dedication towards not hurting any feelings. What happened to “keep calm and carry on”? What ever happened to “charity starts at home”? What ever happened to the idea of loving yourself before your neighbour?

My trigger was finally pulled that day. Not through offense, or through noble action, but through the defeatist approach of letting the liberal babies have their bottle. I have not experienced such a dangerous turning point in my entire life. This is, perhaps, how many people felt before we got to this moment – It isn’t much fun!

* James Spiro is a British libertarian and contrarian. When he is not writing on politics, he is most likely re-watching The Thick of It.

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  1. I did not like the references to “liberal babies” and “snowflake liberals.” The author could make his point in a more respectful way. Libertarians include people of diverse thought. It sounds like this author is of far right political views and not a true libertarian.

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