A lot of people on Twitter are complaining about the people they follow talking politics. I get it to some degree; they want Twitter to be a place to hang out and talk about the one thing they care about in life. On the other hand, I mostly don’t get it. If you choose to follow someone and not mute them, you’re probably going to get their thoughts on a lot of topics.
If you’re thinking, “yeah, but they aren’t well-rounded and it isn’t a lot of topics, because all they’re babbling about right now is their political views”, yes, it’s true, and there’s a simple reason for it. This past week has been a bit of a stunner in terms of the incompetence and unconstitutionality of both the contents and implementation of Trump’s1 Muslim ban. You’ll have to forgive us if we find it alarming that Bannon chose to override all legal guidance on the bill, and that the white house followed that up by then ignoring the court’s order to stay action against incoming immigrants. There’s very little use for a judicial branch if the president is just going to ignore it.
If you follow me, you know I have a lot of interests. You also know that, yes, I am guilty of ranting about “politics” basically since before the election and continuing on until now. It’s just that for me, separating what’s being done to our country, the one that many of the people who are tired of hearing about “politics” live in, from the rest of my life isn’t possible. Politics doesn’t live in a bubble, and it’s not something that a special group of people should care about and the rest of us should never have to hear about. That’s not how it works. We don’t keep our freedoms and our Constitution unless the people benefiting from them actually care.
America is a diverse group of people, even if it’s hard to tell because unfortunately we all seem to be waving either elephant or a donkey signs, with very little concern for nuance or thought that we’re just following the party line. But still, even a dualism disguised as diversity is enough to result in people following other people on Twitter whose political views they don’t agree with. It’s easy to get angry when someone holds a strong opinion on something you either don’t believe or that your tribe (political party that you were born into) doesn’t believe, and the natural response is to want to tell people to stop talking about politics and focus on iPhones or cricket, or whatever topic you think you followed that person for. But that’s a screwed up point of view.
When we follow people on Twitter, that’s just what it is: US following THEM. We don’t get to tell other people what they’re allowed to talk about, just as they don’t get to tell us what to talk about. Exceptions, of course, are hate speech such as racial slurs or calling people “bitch” and “whore”, for example. Those can and should be reported, and I have spent a lot of time on Twitter lately reporting really hateful people, and I’ll keep doing so.
If you happen to follow people who care about the current very real Constitutional crisis in America as the white house pretends the judicial branch doesn’t exist and is almost certainly violating the legal rights of people all around the country, be glad that they do care. Understand that it’s easy to let anger and fear over the bad things being done in the name of national security rile them up a bit, and if you can’t take it, just mute them for awhile. You can do that. What you can’t do is tell them to stop being a human being with concerns and opinions.
Speaking only for myself, I find it hard to be very interested in people who only think about one thing anyway. If your response to everything is “shut up and talk about Apple (or whatever)”, whether it’s in response to someone you follow talking about baseball, politics, or homemade pizza, consider that life just may be about more than the iPhone, or coffee grinders, or your favorite Unix command.
- It’s really Steve Bannon’s. Trump is no match intellectually for Bannon. He really doesn’t have a chance. ↩