Short Takes: Divisiveness & Rudimentary Arguments

Are Democrats currently being more divisive than Donald Trump?

One of the big criticisms of the president by prominent Democrats is that Trump is divisive. I would say this is true (though I doubt they and I would agree on which times he has been divisive). However, I would also say, if you are going to launch that criticism, you better not be divisive yourself. No stranger to hypocrisy, prominent Democrats fell hopelessly short of the low bar they set for themselves. After the storming of the Capitol building, the message coming from Biden and Harris (yes the soon to be Presidential team) was claiming that the rioters experienced white privilege and that the police reaction would have been different had the rioters been black. Not only is there little evidence for this claim, but the preponderance of evidence points to a standard police response.

  1. Death Toll – In all of the BLM protest and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death no demonstrators were killed at the hands of law enforcement. In the storming of the Capitol, a woman was killed by law enforcement while trespassing with an aggressive crowd.
  2. Police Resistance – Contrary to the initial media narrative, the Capitol Police staunchly defended the Capitol Building until deciding that their officers were in too much danger and had them stand down. In the scuffling, 56 police officers were injured, and one was killed. There is video of protestors being pepper sprayed, struck with batons, and tear gassed.
  3. Arrests Made – Only 13 arrests were being reported on the first night, but there have been dozens more in the following days. Investigations have been launched and people are being arrested in their homes.
  4. Appeasement/Celebration – After the BLM riots, Washington DC painted “Black Lives Matter” in giant bright yellow letters on a street that was renamed after the movement. I suspect it will be a cold day in hell before Washington DC makes a MAGA street.

I have not heard, nor do I expect to hear, the president or the Vice President walk back their claims.

Nancy Pelosi is currently pushing to have Trump impeached before his term is up as she claims that he is a danger every day he remains in office. However, Nancy Pelosi has stated that Trump is too dangerous to have access to the nuclear codes, obviously implying that Trump might fire some nukes in the next few days. Does Nancy think this is going to bring people together? I doubt it and if she does, then she is about as out of touch as one can be (which she actually might be). She is trying to justify the expedited impeachment which is clearly just political theatre to her. Want evidence of that? She said Trump was a danger every day he remained in office but decided to wait until Monday to impeach him. If an evil dictator is about to blow up the world, and only you can stop him, you probably shouldn’t clock out on that Friday.

Argument Against Twitter Bans

There is an argument to be made about the specific banning of Donald Trump, but that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about Twitter’s ability to ban people. I rarely tweet or interact with people on Twitter, but last night I responded to someone who was in favor of the permanent ban of Trump’s Twitter account. The mind-numbing argument that is plastered all over Twitter is that Twitter is a private company and if you do not follow their Terms of Service, they have the right to ban you. I agreed and provided some nuance to that discussion, but I awoke with 32 replies to my reply, almost all of which merely repeated the argument of the Tweet I was replying to.

Twitter is a private company, and in most cases, private companies should be able to offer their service as they see fit. The exceptions come when those private companies operate in ways that infringe upon the liberties and dignities you are entitled to as an American. I would guess that the people who replied to me would not be in favor of a business that had two sets of bathrooms labeled “Whites” and “Colored”. Oh, wait a moment, but it is a private business and they can do as they please! No, in this situation they cannot. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits racial discrimination in accommodations in the workplace and thank god it does. So, what service does Twitter provide? A platform for speech and freedom of speech is granted in the First Amendment.

That brings us to our next lazy argument: The First Amendment only protects you from governmental restrictions on speech. Again, this is true, that is how the First Amendment is written. However, it does not take much contemplation to understand what the authors of the amendment were concerned about. They saw freedom of speech as a basic human right and they sought to protect that right, but they did not imagine a world in which there was an evolved platform for speech that was controlled by a private company and thus did not account for such a scenario in the amendment. Or perhaps they did imagine such a scenario…

The United States Post Office! Did you know that the United States Post Offices role is defined in the US Constitution? In the Federalist No. 42 James Madison speaks of establishing postal roads: “Nothing which tends to facilitate the intercourse between the States can be deemed unworthy of the public care.” If we extrapolate Madison’s favor to “facilitating intercourse between States” to also mean intercourse between individuals, then internet communication would fall under this umbrella. I truly believe that the founding fathers would find it troubling that we trust a private company to solely provide a unique type of internet communication and then allow that company to ban people from their platform at will.

I think the debate lies in what we should do about this, not whether or not it is a problem, but alas that is where discourse on Twitter is stuck and chips away at my sanity.

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