A male stick figure in red and a female stick figure in blue hold hands


The ‘Bob and Sally’ politics meme is being mocked yet again

'You shared this unironically?'


Siobhan Ball

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 2, 2020

The Bob and Sally meme, which is about being friends despite holding different political beliefs, is an old and frequently derided one. On Monday, one Twitter user decided to bring it back with such an astonishingly bad take that it actually went viral as people rushed to dunk on it.

Twitter user Diana S. Fleischman used the meme to open a Twitter thread, in which she shared her position on bipartisan friendship. Fleischman, an evolutionary psychologist, started her commentary with what seemed to be a reference to the much-mocked article encouraging Democrats to sleep with Republicans, saying, “And yes, sexual interest is very helpful when it comes to improving your tolerance of diverging views — it’s one of the only motivations stronger than tribalism.”

And yes, sexual interest is very helpful when it comes to improving your tolerance of diverging views- it's one of the only motivations that's stronger than tribalism. But rather than imagining their stick figure coitus, I like to think that Bob and Sally just like to cuddle.

She followed it up by framing an unwillingness to be friends across the aisle as a matter intolerance, sarcastically saying, “Oh! You’re tolerant of other viewpoints?! It must be because your viewpoints are THE WORST!”

OH! You're tolerant of other viewpoints?! It must be because your viewpoints are THE WORST!

She finished her thread by pointing out that Trump’s daughter and grandchildren are Jewish, that some LGBT+ and Black voters support Trump, and that she herself had voted for Biden.

1- I voted Biden 2- Trump the Nazi has a Jewish daughter & grandchildren and put his Jewish son in law in charge of a middle east peace deal. 3- Millions of Black, Latin, Gay and immigrant Americans are Republican & voting for Trump. 4- Hate tweeting won't make anything better.

Naturally, Twitter had some quippy and angry responses to all of this.

You shared this unironically?
He's running concentration camps, Diana.
gif of a white person's hand holding a microphone out over a bin with the text 'anything else?'

Some people pointed out that it’s unreasonable to expect them to stay friends with people who think that they personally don’t deserve rights because of some aspect of their identity.

Why do I have to be friends with people who don't think I deserve rights
“Bob wants to take away Sally’s rights. Be more like Sally, who’s fine with it!”
Few things depress me, really defeat me, like these 'Nazis need wuv too!' capitulations. 'Sure, my neighbor voted for people who revoked my suffrage and my agency over my body, but we say hi every morning so I think the moral victory is mine.'

While others pointed out that having, and even loving, friends or family members from a minority groups doesn’t preclude racism, homophobia, or anti-Semitism.

I can't be a misogynist, my wife is a female.
I am the dad of a female daughter!
It’s 2020 and you’re still making the “he has [insert minority] friends and family so he can’t be a racist/Nazi!” argument. How embarrassing.

One Twitter user even shared the extreme example of members of his wife’s family surviving the Holocaust because a high-ranking Nazi official was willing to make an exemption for his own pre-Nazi friends, while still participating wholeheartedly in the mass murder of their people.

My wife's Jewish grandparents got out of Nazi Germany because a high ranking family friend warned them they were going to be rounded up next. That Nazi saved his Jewish friend. He then worked to kill millions more. Don't ever use Trump's family to pretend he isn't a Nazi.
I remember when my White Supremacist grandmother told us mixed-race grandkids that she loved us but we had to understand that our place in the world was serving the White race. They have always been fine with minorities in subservient positions as long as they are obedient.
Storm Thurmond had a black daughter. There are many white supremacists in interracial relationships. So what?

There was a lot of commentary on the fact that politics isn’t a matter of abstract philosophy but something with serious real-world consequences for marginalized people.

You can't be tolerant of intolerance. When this happens in leadership it always leads to fascism. As much as you may like someone in other circumstances, if they support evil they cannot be tolerated. Holding their hand will not make things better. Just the opposite.
Well. I don't know Bob or Sally. But as an employer I can't see hiring Bob for any job that might put him in contact with women. Or in any way allow him input into employee evaluations of subordinates who are POC. Cause Bob is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
'This is you' Cartoon of a KKK rally with a sign saying 'We want to kill Black people' facing off against a civil rights march with a sign saying 'We want our rights'. A white man with a smug smile stands between them with a sign saying 'compromise?'

It’s easy to be friends with someone whose beliefs are different from yours if those beliefs don’t impact you personally; it becomes an abstract topic for debate that you can ignore when it’s convenient.

Sally must not have any chronic medical conditions she treats with medication, which has been covered by a threadbare ACA policy since she was laid off earlier this year due to the pandemic, said policy now being in jeopardy pending the SC's next ruling on the ACA.
Picture of two stick figures, a man in a red top and a woman in a blue top with text meant to look handwritten that says 'This is Bob. He voted Republican. This is Bob's friend, Sally. Sally votes democrat. Bob and Sally are polite to each other at cocktail parties because Bob and Sally understand that regardless of who wins their material well being won't change. Bob and Sally are rich. Eat the rich.'
Bob knocked Sally up one night when they got wasted. Bob insisted Sally carry the baby to term, but Sally had an abortion instead. After all a woman is not a vessel; her body her decision. So Bob joined a pro-life group and pickets women's clinics, and Sally dates democrats only.

But as many were keen to point out, remaining friends with people who actively support policies that harm other people is a tacit endorsement of those policies—or at least the validity of them as alternative political positions within society.

Yikes, you know what you call someone who stays friends with (or votes for) someone you know is a white supremacist? A white supremacist. This meme has been out of date for at least 12 years
Male and female stick figures with the republican elephant and democratic donkey beside them and text saying 'This is Bob. He voted Republican. This is Bob's friend Sally. Sally voted Democrat. Bob wants to put many of Sally's friends in concentration camps. Bob is still friends with Sally because she's white. Sally is still friends with Bob because she is a coward and challenging white supremacy makes her uncomfortable.
You absolutely represent part of the problem, and viewpoints like the one you're presenting is absolutely part of the reason why 2020 ended up the way it has. Normalizing the Proud Boys by implying that it's just different points of view is part of the problem.
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*First Published: Nov 2, 2020, 7:36 pm CST