This Is Every Single Online Debate I’ve Ever Had About Russiagate:

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Me: [Writes something skeptical of the establishment Russia narrative.]

Russiagater: Oh! Hahaha! Look at this crazy Russia-denying bitch! Are you just an idiot, or are you a Kremlin bot?

Me: Go away.

Russiagater: So I guess you’re just in total denial about [insert this week’s plot-hole riddled “bombshell” story from the New York Times or Washington Post]?

Me: That’s not a thing. In a couple days you’ll have absorbed some arguments from outside your echo chamber, you’ll realize this isn’t the smoking gun your television told you it is, and you’ll calm down.

Russiagater: Oh my God! You people are impervious to reason! The highest level of our government has been infiltrated by a hostile nation!

Me: There’s zero proof of that.

Russiagater: What are you talking about? There are piles upon piles of evidence! You just refuse to look at it because you love tRump Trumplestiltskin Orange Hitler Putin’s boyfriend tRump tRump tRump Blumpf!

Me: Dude I’ll literally fly to your house and suck your dick right now if you can prove it to me.

Russiagater: There’s too much smoke for there not to be fire. The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. The Trump Jr. thing, the Flynn thing, the Manafort thing. Look at this graphic of Russian oligarchs with red lines connected to Trump campaign staffers!

Me: That is not even a tiny bit remotely close to proof.

Russiagater: You’ve got your head in the sand! What will it take for you to admit you’ve been wrong about this Russia stuff?

Me: Proof. Like, any. After the lies we’ve been told about Iraq, Libya and Syria in the last few years I’m going to require a whole lot of proof before I believe anything the US power establishment says about Russia. Currently there is none. Zero. At all. Not for the Russian hacking, not for “collusion” with the Russian government to hack the Democratic party, not for treason, not for any of it. Not one single part of your narrative is backed by hard, verifiable evidence.

Russiagater: They said that about Watergate. It took years to see Nixon removed from office!

Me: Watergate began with a real burglary that actually happened. They ran mug shots of the perps in the paper. Russiagate is comprised entirely of unsubstantiated claims spoken in authoritative tones by the same establishment loyalists who told us Saddam had WMDs.

Russiagater: Robert Mueller!

Me: Oh here we go…

Russiagater: It’s an ongoing investigation though! These things take time. You don’t know they won’t find anything!

Me: See? See how that happened? You entered this conversation making bold, confident-sounding claims that the White House has been taken over by the Kremlin, and after a brief back-and-forth you’re mumbling something about an ongoing investigation that might maybe lead to something someday. Why did you do that? You guys do that every single time. You start out loud, confident and assertive, and after a few exchanges you’re telling me the investigation is ongoing and I don’t know what they will or will not find. Why not just begin the conversation with the posture you’re ending it in? Why not wait until they do find something? Wouldn’t that be infinitely more honest than beginning the conversation with claims you know you can’t substantiate? Why are you helping to advance a completely unproven narrative?

Russiagater: So are you an idiot, or a Kremlin bot?

Me: Go away.

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I write about the end of illusions.

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