Over the long weekend, I checked into Twitter many times, like I always do, and caught that story about the kid from Covington High School in Kentucky. I showed the video to my family over the dinner table on Saturday night. I believed the false narrative around the video. I did think that the kid was being an asshole and harassing the nice old Native American dude.
But I still thought that the reaction on Twitter was insane. Grown adults, with professional jobs in the media, said that they wanted to punch this 14-year old kid in the nose. They relived their own traumas from high school bullies. They doxxed the kid and his family and tried to get him thrown out of school and forever barred from college and work. They made blanket statements about ALL white people and ALL boys.
I tweeted out some mild commentary about forgiveness and perspective, but I didn’t say too much because I didn’t want to get destroyed by the mob. Over the dinner table, we explained to Ian what “tarring and feathering” was, and then got sidetracked with a discussion on Huckleberry Finn and the Royal Nonesuch.
I have to say that I’m deeply ashamed of my side. Smart people should behave better. Leaders on my side didn’t quell the insanity. Enough people aren’t apologizing and admitting their they were manipulated and misled. Even now, I’m reading commentary that says, “okay, they weren’t guilty of X, but they were probably guilty of Y, so it’s okay to hate them all and destroy them.”
Steve’s convinced that hatred levels are so high that we’re going to start to see riots.
When did thing get so crazy? Yes, it’s mainly Donald Trump’s fault for elevating insanity and creating a toxic climate, but social media itself is an excellent highway for craziness.
I almost walked away from it all this weekend. I almost deleted my account, because I didn’t want to constantly be bombarded by hatred. Hatred causes wrinkles.
But I need Twitter. I’m absurdly connected to my virtual friends and our inside conversations that we’ve been having since the early aughts. We’ve moved from blogs to Facebook to Twitter and continued our same silly conversations for over 15 years. I can’t walk away from that. So, I used the mute function to hide the most annoying people, who keep showing up on my feed, because my friends “like” their remarks or because Twitter think I’ll like them. And I’ll keep looking for solutions and supporting people who refuse to join the mob.