Self censoring your social media posts to keep “inconvenient” stories out of the hands of Trump supporters who might use them against us is an exercise in futility.
To defeat Trump, we need to know the whole story. We also need to hold true to our values.
Sadly, these days many people get all of their news from the Internet. Sadder still, many only read news stories after being directed to them by their Facebook friends. Because of this, I take great care when posting a news link on Facebook to make sure I’m linking to the best source I can find.
I also take great care to make sure I’m not linking to stories with exaggerated importance — the type of story that makes a mountain out of something rather meaningless that Trump and his minions has done or said that really doesn’t matter. Desperate or greedy websites publish plenty of this type of story as clickbait, eliciting a knee jerk reaction from us. We Trump opponents can be easily seduced by those who flatter us by pointing out how smart we are.
The trouble is, Trump isn’t as stupid as we like to think, and he uses our vanity against us. As perhaps the most dangerous homegrown political figure in the history of our country, Trump is doing enough real damage that we don’t need to harp on meaningless small slips. It makes us look petty, which he uses to his advantage.
By the same measure, I never refrain from linking to an important news story because it might be respun by Trump and the Trumpets to suit the Orange One’s agenda. I did so about an hour ago when I linked to the Washington Post’s story on last night’s disturbance — the media’s calling it a riot — in Stockholm, Sweden, which came on the heels of Trump’s confusing remarks about “terrorism in Sweden” at Friday’s pep rally in Melbourne, Florida.
Minutes after posting the link, I received a disturbing private message from a dear friend I’ve known since before there was an Internet:
“Christine..I realize that good journalism is reporting the truth but I chose not to post anything about the Swedish riot simply because it will fuel the Trump agenda and make him look valid. They won’t read the details…only the headlines.”
I didn’t think that she was trying to censor me — she’s since made sure that I know she wasn’t — and I fully understand her concern that Trump and his Trumpets will turn this into a see-he-was-right moment. Indeed, I had almost hesitated a moment myself before clicking the “Post” button.
What bothered me was that she would censor herself out of fear of what the opposition may think and how they might respin the story. I’m certainly glad the Washington Post didn’t feel the same way. Our efforts to force our current king from office — which is our only logical goal at this point — won’t matter, even if we succeed, if we don’t remain true to the values we are seeking to defend.
It’s also a futile effort, for as much as we like to convince ourselves that Trump is a mindless idiot (see above), the evidence is otherwise. The man and his followers will jump on everything we do, to belittle it and turn it around to the Trump mob’s advantage, no matter what. In a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation, you might as well act and do.
We know this going in — and should realize that it’s only Trump’s attempt to set the rules of engagement. We’re not going to be able to beat Trump by playing by his rules.
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