My Day on Twitter, 10 September 2020. A Response.

By Michelle Railey

One of these days I will learn to shut my mouth. Today was not that day.

Where our relevant part of the day on Twitter began was with this tweet by the American president, Mr. Trump:

To which, I, without meaning to provoke, did so:

Just for fun, Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2,868,686 ballots. [1] And, just to say, I don’t actually dislike the President because he lost the popular vote. A couple of the very many reasons I feel distaste for him are because he calls other Americans “losers” [2] and because, of a war hero who withstood five and a half years in a prisoner of war camp, he said “I like people who weren’t captured.” [3]

And, then I got some feedback. My responses to each tweet are inelegantly placed in bold beneath each embed (yes, on this site. Not Twitter. Because 280-odd characters and such. Plus, I needed footnotes. And who doesn’t?).

I do understand the Electoral College. I simply believe in an age of modern computation methods, we really can accurately choose a president by direct vote: one person, one vote. And this seems important precisely because I don’t want states, including California, or any other group or clique or sub-section of the population carrying an election. I want more democracy in our representative democracy, not less. The Founders expressly did not wish there to be direct democracy in choosing a president. But they’re not here anymore. And I choose to vote for a president with my vote and not state-based electors. [4]

Note: Sir Jazzy Doo is his own thing. We’re replying here to Mr. @rfigg5. The “Media” is neither left-wing nor right-wing. The “Media” is not any one thing at all. It is simply a broad collective noun to describe those who express their thoughts in public media. What is true is not true for all and caveat emptor always applies when anyone is trying to sell you something, even if it’s a free bit of information or opinion. The beautiful thing about “media” is that you, the consumer of, can compare and contrast and think critically. You can even disagree with it. Aside from that, of course, without media (those who tell you things), how would you know about anything outside your immediate sphere? You heard about The Media from the media. And, call me crazy, but I don’t think any reporter, writer, “media elite” small or large actually gives a shit what “I” believe. Or what you believe. They may want power in swaying opinions or actual power through association or money: they do not want and can never control what any individual believes or doesn’t. You, grasshopper, are responsible for that.

Watch, read, view, listen to whatever you like. That’s your business. But here’s the thing: how do you think about, evaluate, and understand your media (or whatever you call it if it’s not “left wing”)? (This is an honest question; I’m not being flippant. What is your method?) Do you consider whether the source has been reviewed, fact-checked, edited? How do you define a source worth listening to? Are you willing to listen to a variety of sources, viewpoints, and formats? And if you don’t consume media with a little consideration, how can you honestly critique it? How do you know what you know and who you can trust to tell you what you should know if you only listen to one voice or no voices? How do you know media is left-wing or worth listening to if you haven’t consumed it to decide what it actually is? Did someone tell you that? Then they were probably media, too. You heard it somewhere. Just not Fox News or MSNBC, apparently.

Mark Levin is The Media (books, radio, podcasts, social media). He is not a member of the Democratic Party. He is an opinion-maker, not a fact-checker. Not an academic. Not a student of, representative of, or knowledgeable consultant for the Democratic Party. What authority does he have, what evidence does he produce to convince you of his honesty or the rightness of his opinions? How do you know the Democratic Party is corrupt besides the word of one man who is, admittedly and profitably, NOT a Democrat? How can you judge what anything is based on one side of the story? [5]

But here’s the thing, the media, the president, Twitter aside, I am “the Left” if by “the Left” you mean one who leans toward liberal Progressive views. And I love my country. I admit I am “leftist” in my thinking, for the most part. But just like you, just like anyone, I am not any one thing. My views have weird contradictions, conflicts with themselves; they are not static, they are not unified. They are mostly left-leaning (very much so) but I have independent streaks, even conservative streaks. Different ideas and policies are practical at different times, sometimes less and sometimes more so. The country, my ideas about it, how we or the government solve problems, is a constantly moving, shape-shifting thing. It’s a Rubik’s Tetrahedron with a zillion interchangeable parts. And I’m not special. Most people, if they tick off a list, don’t fall cleanly in “Left” or “Right.” A lot of people just know they want problems solved. And all of us are Americans and we all love our home, even if we’re not always proud of it, even if we disagree with it, even if we’re members of the “corrupt Democratic Party” and even if we listen to Mark Levin but not Fox nor MSNBC.

None of this alters the fact that, yes, Donald Trump lost the popular vote in the 2016 election. To you, to some, he just won. Undeniably, he did win: he sits in the Oval Office. But, equally undeniably, he also lost. Conflict is in everything, in everyone, even facts, but it doesn’t have to be between neighbors, between citizens, between Twitter users.

Conflict is uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to define us; it should not define us. Not even on Twitter.

Respectfully, et cetera, et cetera. To @rfigg5, whom I know in person (full disclaimer) and even to @realDonaldTrump and Sir Jazzy Whatever, I just disagree. But it took more than the allotted characters to say so. [6]

Besides, footnotes.

Notes:

1.) Clinton received 48.2 percent of the popular vote (65,853,514 votes) compared to Trump’s 46.1 percent of the popular vote (62,984,828 votes).

2.) This includes the disabled, refugees fleeing violence and poverty, American soldiers who have been prisoners of war, missing, injured, or killed in action. It also includes regular Americans who aren’t wealthy, fact-checkers and Americans who write, critique, and/or think differently from himself.

3.) There have been 1,774 Americans who have been prisoners of war beginning with Vietnam: 1,642 in Vietnam, 126 from the Cold War period, 23 from the Persian Gulf War and 6 from Iraq and other recent conflicts. Are these losers, too? (Sources: The Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office, The Pentagon. Reported in The Atlantic, 2014 and nps.gov)

4.) See The Federalist Papers, Numbers 10 and 68. Also factcheck.org

5.) Definitely a millionaire, which means a little less than it used to, but still. His financial interest is in his opinions: according to The Internet (a quick search of several sources), Levin is worth anywhere between $5 million to $44 million. But money is a better proof of popularity than of accuracy, verity, or authenticity. And Levin has a financial stake in not examining his own views if they veer from what his public “wants to hear.”

6.) And R Figg, I respect you. Just please, please remember, we live in the same community and I am as American as you are. Maybe especially when we disagree.

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