The New York Times recently published a series of questions for its readers (for a pending story by Sarah Lyall) asking how we feel about Donald Trump’s absence from Twitter. Well, of course, we Times readers hate Trump (the Times readers who love him have long-since let their subscriptions expire), and we’re glad glad glad to have his voice silenced.
What about free speech? Well, Twitter has no obligation to give anyone a platform to spout lies or encourage violence.
Still, many of us may be experiencing emotions other than just pure, unadulterated relief. I probably speak for many of you, but I am brave enough to admit it.
Did you follow (or block) Trump on Twitter?
No, I didn’t follow him or block him, but when I read about some particularly egregious thing he did, I would always look, so that I could feel outraged and read the comments from other outraged citizens, some of which were entertaining.
Every once in a while I would just take a look at his twitter feed just to see what he was saying, and more often than not there would be some misspelled, ungrammatical rant that was just outrageously diabolical enough to give me a little enraged thump in the chest, along with blip of reluctant admiration.
How did his tweets make you feel when you saw them on Twitter, or read about them afterward?
Of course, I was appalled and angry.
I’m not proud of that reaction, which is juvenile and short-sighted. This was about the future of our country and the world, it wasn’t a TV show.
But at this point, if Americans started working together cooperatively for the good of the nation, we probably wouldn’t be able to stand it. In our great American drama, when Joe Biden proposes a Covid relief bill or an infrastructure bill, we gear up for an appalling and villainous reaction from Mitch McConnell. We brace ourselves, hold our breath … and … and there it is! The adrenaline of hatred gives you a mid-day fix, your heart skips a beat, and you feel a little pleasantly woozy.
Wouldn’t you be a little subconsciously disappointed if it were otherwise?
Have you noticed his absence from social media platforms since January? Do you miss his voice, or are you happy not to hear it anymore?
During the 2016 campaign, I am not proud to admit that during the day, I would get an intuition that maybe Trump had done or said something crazy that would really rile me up, and I would have to look.
More often than not, yes, there would be something truly terrible that he had done!
When the election of 2016 approached, and Trump was not expected to win, I even mentioned to some friends, probably in October, that I was ashamed to admit that I would miss Trump a little bit, I’d miss the little rush of outrage that he gave me.
Still, four years of it was too much, it was like drinking coffee all day, every day.
Today I feel as I might when I am on vacation, weaning myself of of my four-cup-a-day coffee habit.
I feel relaxed. My heart feels healthier. Little-by-little, I am getting used to the calm.
Image by Burak Kostak / Pexels.