Most of us like to freely express ourselves through Twitter, mainly because it comes with little consequence.
There have been plenty of historical examples of people taking their anonymity for granted, only to see it backfire in their face. But for us average joes, whose followers consist of our close friends and Internet bots, we can pretty much tweet on — as long as we don’t say anything really stupid — and not worry about too much.
It’s only when you become famous when you immediately go back and delete all of your insensitive tweets.
Our tweets are there to offer a little bit of humor, maybe some political commentary or just some unmitigated expression of emotion based on recent developments in our life. But they really carry no weight. Our tweets aren’t going to change anything.
But what happens when the person who possesses the most powerful job in the world is a reckless tweeter?
That is currently what we are dealing with. A man whose Twitter account was actually taken away from him at one point by his own campaign, and now, whose tweets can actually be viewed as potential policy shifts for the country that we live in.
What a time to be alive, folks. What a time.
This is the quandary that we find ourselves in now. How seriously do we take Donald Trump’s tweets? After all, while they sound just like any generic rant from your commonplace Twitter troll, the reality is that they still serve as a declarative statement by our nation’s leader.
It’s especially problematic for journalists, who are currently tackling the question of whether they should even bother spending time and resources reporting on Donald Trump’s tweets.
When Donald Trump tweets that flag burning should be illegal, do we take it seriously that he may actually infringe upon our First Amendment rights?
There’s been a couple of interesting schools of thought on this topic. In a New York Times article about this, the editor of Politico said they must report on each one, but at the same time it is their responsibility to inform the public how realistic Trump’s tweet really is to potentially be put into action.
Trevor Noah tackled a similar subject on the Daily Show, insisting that when Donald Trump says something outrageous, whether in person or through social media — like that “millions voted illegally” in this year’s election — that instead of fact-checking it, they need to push Donald Trump harder to prove it with evidence, which he inevitably won’t.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that, by making this statement, Donald Trump is actually questioning the validity of an election that he won.
Again, can’t make this stuff up.
Others think Trump is just doing what he does best: saying ridiculous things in order to distract us from the obvious truth, like the fact that his immense conflicts of interest involving his business make it nearly impossible for him to make a domestic or foreign policy decision without him having a personal stake in it.
But don’t worry, he’s putting the smartest people around him to make those decisions. Like an attorney general who was once blocked from becoming a federal judge for making racist comments; a national security adviser who once said Islam is not a religion; an education secretary whose advocacy for more charter schools in Detroit has resulted in the city having the worst school systems in the nation; and a secretary of health and human services who, if he had it his way, would prevent millions from having affordable healthcare and women’s health resources.
Maybe his next appointee will be better though.
Like … Sarah Palin?
God help us.