For you parents out there (including dog lovers), how many times did you take something
away from your child and have his or her conduct improve instantaneously?
Self-destructive behavior is a funny thing (well, not to the people who must put up with it). All of us at one time or another engaged in habits or activities that were contrary to our well-being, which drove our guardians, spouses, teachers and friends crazy. Doctors tell patients that they’d best lay off the booze or cigarettes or that extra package of Oreos to live better lives. Still, it’s a choice everyone makes whether to quit cold turkey or seek assistance from a professional.
Religious folks rely on prayer, which many consider the best therapy of all.
Yet oftentimes we can’t help ourselves. Being human goes with our DNA. Then there are environmental factors, stress and outside influences to contend with. In politics, a tendency to lean too heavily on moral weaknesses can get one in serious trouble. If you don’t believe it, just ask New York Gov. (for now, at least) Andrew Cuomo if he still thinks it’s a good idea to mention certain ethically taboo #MeToo subjects to women half his age (or younger).
But in one particular man’s case, having a privilege taken from him turned out almost entirely beneficial. I’m talking about former president Donald Trump and his fondness for Twitter and social media. It’s not likely everyone would agree, yet it seems clear that the tech barons’ unilateral and unconstitutional ban from their platforms noticeably improved his standing with the public.
Watching the live crowd respond to him on stage at CPAC the other day, it was as though Trump hadn’t been seen in ten years’ worth of Sundays. It wasn’t just the mere sight of the man and hearing his voice, either -- it was the fact he hadn’t really been heard from since he left Washington (or more succinctly, since the evening of January 6). Just as bone dry desert ground soaks up water from an afternoon flash thunderstorm, CPAC’s conservatives appeared renewed by Trump’s presence and characteristic speaking style. He’s back!
Numerous commentators, myself included, argued Trump could’ve spared himself a lot of agony -- and boosted his approval rating -- if he’d only scaled back (not end, just tone down) his Twitter habit while in office. How many times did his enemies sermonize that a prime reason to vote for his opponent was to silence the constant tweets from the Oval Office? Trump’s personal communication was a petty concern to say the least -- no one forces anyone to read them, after all -- but still the issue was there.
If Trump had weaned himself off Twitter long ago -- or been kicked off it by the liberal cancel culture oligarchs -- would it have made a difference in the outcome? Some claim the election hinged on the subject, and now assess what we’re stuck with instead. In a piece titled, “The Important Thing Is No Mean Tweets,” Kurt Schlichter commented at Townhall:
“Donald Trump has been successfully banished by means of the most honest and legitimate election ever, according to important and smart people who would never lie to you and who have zero personal interest in reinforcing the power and position of their garbage Establishment. Gone along with him, thanks to the brave help of the social media overlords, is his ability to tweet. No more mean tweets people – think of it! Savor it. And forget everything else that is going on.
“You know, there have been legendary epochs in human history before now where everything changed for the better. The Age of Pericles. The Pax Romana. The Renaissance. The Obama years. And now joining these fabled eras, is the era of No Mean Tweets.
“What a time to be alive!”
In his unmatchable style, Schlichter makes a salient point. Our supposed betters in the media and political establishment tell us we’re much improved now that Trump isn’t sending out electronic thoughts at all hours of the day. In fairness, Trump was his own worst enemy in a good number of ways. He admitted it himself in the latter part of last year’s campaign, that the reason his poll numbers weren’t higher was because some people simply didn’t like his relentless tweeting.
It was true. Liberals and #NeverTrumpers were repelled by the mere sight of him -- and his tweets. The more common way to describe the phenomenon was Trump Derangement Syndrome. No policy victory or goodwill gesture would bring these boobirds onboard with the successful president and his MAGA agenda. When Nancy Pelosi arose from her seat thirteen months ago at the 2020 State of the Union address and ripped her copy of Trump’s speech to shreds, she sent a signal to her minions that the “resistance” didn’t give a hoot about anything he’d said.
Perhaps she didn’t approve of Trump’s tribute to Rush Limbaugh. Bitter grapes, huh?
But taking away his Twitter and Facebook accounts hasn’t had the disastrous (to Trump) effect that the smart set predicted it would. Without providing the establishment media its hourly dose of vitriol to keep their mindless anti-Trump zombies satiated for a little longer, the talkers have actually been forced to offer up replacement filler. And judging by the post-Trump presidency cable ratings, no one cares about the fresh look of Grampa Joe Biden and his gal-pal sidekick Kamala Harris.
You can put lipstick on a pig, but underneath… it’s still a pig. You can dress up Grampa Joe in a clean pressed suit, but he’s still the shoulders massagin’, child repellin’, hair sniffin’, nude swimmin’, sexual assault denyin’, lie tellin’, nuclear code relinquishin’ loser he’s always been.
By the same token, Trump would never concede that he’s better off without Twitter. But Trump must feel liberated to some extent. Instinctively reaching for his device and concocting a short message doesn’t take a lot of energy but it does use up time. Today’s public discourse requires adherence to the new technologies, though for a lot of folks, it rapidly turns into a slavish addiction. If the powers-that-be only recognized that allowing for completely free speech would make their own jobs and lives easier, the world would be fortunate, indeed.
Here’s going out on a limb: Trump’s post-election resurgence has been fueled by Twitter. It just hasn’t been in the way they figured it would be.
There’s never been an instance where too much political speech has been a bad thing, which is why the Founding Fathers worked hard to protect it against government intrusion. But having the ability to say anything you want doesn’t mean you should abuse the God-given right to do it. Donald Trump’s is one case where not having the opportunity to tweet has worked in his favor.
Let’s not allow stifling speech to become a habit, shall we?
Trump Twitter ban
Trump CPAC Speech