Arguments for *Sometimes* Taking the Low Road

Arguments for *Sometimes* Taking the Low Road

So over the last few days, we've had a few friendly folks criticize our heavy use of sarcasm and ridicule to combat ignorance, disinformation, and bullying--both online and within the MAGA movement in general.

We've gotten some "take the high roads" and a some "when they go low, you go highs," along with "I can't support a beer company that doesn't treat everyone with respect(s)..."

Of course we believe in all these "golden-ruley" cliches, and agree that they should be applied in polite society 100% of the time.

We also believe, however, that within the made-up world of social media, and within the siloed walls of the MAGA movement, there is no longer such a thing as polite society.

Society has learned that you can practically say whatever you want when anonymously typing it out on a keyboard, and Trump's cult following has learned from their leader, and from America's kid-gloved handling of him, that one is rarely held accountable when saying the most vile things imaginable or lying repeatedly on a global stage.

So at this moment in America, we live in two worlds--a world in which you have one set of rules when talking to people in person, and another set of rules when engaging with them online or when a camera is rolling.

We're quite sure that the trolls who come onto our page daily would never say the things they say to us if they actually met us in person, but alas, we also know those days are behind us.

As vile as this online world is, it is also the least expensive and most effective tool for small companies to advertise to potential customers--thus a necessary evil.

On social media, we've regressed to a place much like an elementary schoolyard, where unsupervised children are left to test power structures, see what they can get away with, and look for positive emotional feedback loops, no matter how undisciplined or "naughty."

And what you learn immediately in the schoolyard is that you have four choices when bullied:

--Run away and hide.
--Maintain your dignity by not fighting back as you get pummeled.
--Implore an adult to help stop you from getting beaten up.
--Punch back hard enough so you are left alone.

Throughout our existence as first a brewpub in Minocqua and now a beverage company distributing throughout the Midwest and the entire US through mail-order, we've tried all of the above. Here's what happens:

--When you run away and hide, you give them the power to hurt you again, and you also have to go to bed at night knowing you did nothing to stop those that are trying to hurt you and your community.

--When you maintain your dignity and let yourself get pummeled, you lose--1) because you get fake negative reviews that potential customers think are true, and 2) the algorithms on social media are designed to enhance conflict, not reward soft-spoken wisdom--thus choosing grace is also choosing to disappear from your least expensive and most effective advertising tool.

-When you ask "adults" to intervene online, like FB, IG, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google Reviews, you're ignored.

--When you ask adults to intervene to protect Wisconsin or America from MAGA political bullies, like AG Josh Kaul or AG Merrick Garland, you quickly realize that the system that put those "adults" in power is a system that rewards ambitious politicians who care more about their careers than their duty to hold liars and traitors accountable.

So as a matter of course, we are left with the 4th option--to FIGHT BACK.

And the way to fight back on social media is to punch hard with words, to both teach online trolls that there are consequences to anonymous dickheaded-ness, and expand your audience--because boldness is rewarded through increased engagement.

And to fight back against MAGA politicians harassing us at both the local and state level, we have chosen to ridicule them for their ignorance and hypocrisy, as well as (a little less frequently) post thoughtful arguments as to why they're such wrong-headed and terrible leaders.

Now, these choices might not suit everyone, especially the faint of heart, and we're ok with that. We apologize if we've offended the more peaceful among our tribe. We do have that peaceful side but more often embrace it in person.

We also realize that until social media companies put up more guardrails to trolling, and until our society--including mainstream media--put up more guardrails to lying and deplorable behavior among MAGA politicians, there needs to be more progressive folks like us willing to roll around in the mud with these jerks.

Or maybe we're wrong and need a little more worldly experience or wisdom to help us see the light. We're willing to acknowledge that we're wrong and also acknowledge that in the heat of battle, we too have crossed a few lines we're not proud of. We hope that eventually, we can get to a place in society that negates our perceived need to brawl.

But that's not gonna happen today, nor in an America where Donald Trump still has a chance to become president again. Until then, we ain't gonna change a thing:)

Thanks for reading, and thanks for drinking our beer and humoring us while we get into "good trouble."

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