Well, this is your day. Now is your time. Your great uncle who’s been posting ten anti-Obama image macros a day on Facebook — rub his face in this: the repudiation of his entire worldview! His beliefs are a sad anachronism, right wing extremism blooming in the dark soil of ignorance, racism, and religious fundamentalism. Yes, tell him that! Oh, and also that you love him because he’s family and a sweet wonderful person, blah, blah, blah, whatever — post the photo of Obama hugging Michelle on his Facebook wall! Do it now! Show him your liberal arts education has made you superior in every way. Will this make for an awkward Thanksgiving? Might he feel you don’t respect or even like him after heaping so much disdain on his Facebook? Could this lead to a terrifying confrontation by the broccoli casserole in which fingers are waved dramatically under noses? Perhaps, but alas, this is the sad cost of being a smart educated young person in a sea of obtuseness.
And remember when your grandmother emailed you a list of similarities between Obama and the Antichrist? Now’s the time to call and tell her that, though it may be kicking and screaming, she and the rest of the country will be dragged into a glorious future of solar powered laser force fields and cybernetic implants that allow telepathic communication with cats and dogs. Let her know her terrifying vision of a fascist theocracy has been thwarted, that she’ll die knowing the America she knew and loved is washed up on a beach, dead, putrefying, oozing necrotic juices onto the sand. Yes, tell her! Also, you should ask her about her day, tell her to see a doctor about that ache, maybe say you love her, etc., and so on. But definitely let her know she’s dumb, you’re smart, and now that Obama’s reelected, your opinions have been validated by the electorate, while hers are obsolete relics like paleolithic fertility totems or VCRs.
And your dad, he’s always forcing you to watch Rick Perry speeches and has an autographed photo of George and Laura Bush on the wall by the back door. He wears polo shirts and khaki shorts, sandals with socks, and football jerseys. How embarrassing! How completely out of touch! Post the video of Obama’s reelection speech to his wall with the caption, “It’s a great day for America!” underneath, and feel the superciliousness flow through you like a hot chocolate river. Let yourself think the thought, ‘If all these old people were dead, the world would be a better place. Furthermore, I would sacrifice my own parents for this aforementioned utopian society, would cut their throats myself on this hypothetical Grand Purge Night, though it would contradict the core democratic principles of compassion and fairness.’ And after you think this thought, be sure to thank your dad for paying for your college; for without his hard work and sacrifice, you would be an Albertsons cashier.
You’ve always loved being right. Sometimes, you invite friends over to watch movies you’ve already seen, tell them you’ve never seen these movies, and then make predictions about the plot as if you’re a cinematic master of deduction. “Oh my God, how did you know he was a ghost the whole time?” “Oh, I spotted clues throughout the movie.” You play Trivial Pursuit for Kids against your little cousin and think, ‘I am so smart. I’m so smart, it’s bananas.’ You love to discuss issues with common sense positions: racism (it’s bad!), sexism (bad!), gay marriage (awesome!) — and pat yourself on the head for being so superior to people who watch Fox News or Two and a Half Men. You lecture your friends with the patronizing disdainful tone of a Salon.com editorial, as if you’re not preaching to the choir, as if you’re actually surrounded by imaginary Ann Coulters instead of kids from your women’s studies class.
Our monkey brains are still hardwired for tribal warfare, for hyperemotional Us vs. Them battles for supremacy. When you scroll through Facebook, clicking the Like button next to the mournful statuses of small-town conservative friends, you’re fulfilling the genetic legacy of your monkey ancestor, the one who tore off another monkey’s head and then humped the neck hole, shrieking horribly into the primordial night. Your groupish self-righteousness drives you to demonize the opposing side without using critical thinking to interrogate your own. You use your gut rather than your brain to form political opinions — as do we all, according to studies. That’s why I know you’ll do the right thing and post something smug and snarky as your Facebook status.