The way I see it, is that there are two ways you can find yourself in a barfight. One is by being the aggressive asshole who started it, or exacerbated the situation. That’s what most of the men bragging about being in them are talking about.
The other way you can end up in one is being caught in the middle. Maybe you were ignoring or trying to reason with an asshole who wouldn’t be reasoned with. Maybe you ended up in a bar full of assholes, and the fight is on all around you.
That last sentence is probably the perfect metaphor for not only the US, right now, but the world. Your pool cue doesn’t need to be literally made out of wood, but stop worrying about being polite, about defusing the situation, because it’s too late for that.
Maybe it’s because it’s Thanksgiving Weekend here, that I am thinking about this, because that’s the opposite metaphor, the one where we all try to play nice with Uncle Joe who keeps spouting the racist, sexist, --ist Fox News talking points, and everyone tries not to start a fight. Maybe if more of us stood up to him (not “debate”, but flat out opposed or denied him the right to all the air in the room), or even just his enablers (“sorry, Mom, but if Uncle Joe is going to be there, I’m not”), others might start to get the message. “Don’t talk about politics at the dinner table” was started by the same people who started the idea that you should never talk about money: those with power trying to squelch opposing voices.
And if it’s not safe for you to speak up, either physically or mentally, I understand, and I hope you can find somewhere that is safe, soon. Because if it’s not safe for you to speak up, it’s not safe period.