A Twitter Panic Attack In the Age of Nationalism

Artwork by DonkeyHotey

Reprint from May 17, 2017

What were once simple Twitter choices bear subtle nuances in today’s political climate.

Our world is rapidly changing, and not particularly in a good way.  A few years ago I was sitting in my home office chatting with a friend. We were discussing a wide variety of issues from trifling to weighty. Then, our talk turned to Tea Party politics. Simultaneously we realized that even in the privacy of my home, we’d lowered our voices to near whispers. Why? It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision. Yet, on some level two intelligent business women were subconsciously fearful of speaking about a controversial sect that we believed to be a danger to our way of life.

That was then. This is now. I’m a tweeter. Yep I engage in social media via Twitter – to the tune of nearly 16 thousand followers. I hearkened back to my above story when I received a follow request from @IranPlus. I looked through the site and discovered it to be a photographic site showing Iran in a way that I’ve never imagined. I started to hit the follow button and then the adrenaline shot through me and I hesitated.

In light of today’s political environment I asked myself, “Do I want to be seen following a Twitter site about Iran? Could someone use that against me as I begin to speak out more and more about my concerns for our nation and the fitness of our current president to hold office?”

We live in an age where Russians hack into and influence our elections. At the same time our government  continues to attempt to gain access to our social media accounts, two-way televisions are within our grasp. (Read George Orwell’s  1984 and you may well decide this is a luxury you should forgo.) We live in a time, when the President’s annoyance with mainstream media leads him to declare that he’ll merely change the libel laws and has labeled mainstream media as “Fake News” — twice in the past 24 hours alone. On February 17, 2017, Trump tweeted,

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing , , , , ) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

trump smileyIn a February 24 meeting with conservatives, Trump again calls the media the enemy of the people and threatens to take away the long-held right of the press to not name its sources — a right that is supremely critical to getting to the truth.

As Trump systematically sets out to destroy America’s faith in its journalists, it troubles me that he has chosen this particular catch phrase — enemy of the people — as it seems to be a favorite of noted dictators from early Rome to today.

  • Hugo Chavez of Venezuela refers to a TV station as “enemies of the homeland” and proceeds to later shut them down by declining to renew their license — an overt attack on freedom of speech in that country.
  • Artists and politicians labeled enemies of the people by Joseph Stalin of Russia, were sent to labor camps or executed.
  • Lenin used the term to create distrust among his people — virtually ostracizing those that did not agree with him.
  • Hitler used the term “enemy of the people” as well. He was referring to the Jews.

These threats and aspersions against mainstream media are not as simple as yet another presidential  tantrum. If Trump is willing to thwart the role of the media, by changing laws and the very way in which journalism is conducted, and creating a climate of distrust; how can one not conclude that the next step will be to take action against any organization or individual who disagrees with him.

It’s no wonder I hesitated. It’s clear to me that our democracy is at risk. But, do I want to live in a state where I make choices based upon how they might be used against me in the future? Do I want to live a life where I lower my voice — or don’t speak at all — in fear of gaining another’s ire? Oh! Heck no!

Being an active participant in the global web community requires that we run what we’re reading through a fine mesh to throw off the chaff and ascertain the truth. Indeed, it is our individual responsibility not to perpetrate lies by blindly passing things along because they arouse some emotional response within us; whether it be on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media outlet.

So, keeping that responsibility close to heart, I continue to engage in this vast community of ideas. Did I follow @IranPlus? I did. And I want to thank the site owner for showing the faces of his people and landscapes that I didn’t realize existed. Iran is not just a pile of sand folks.

A climate of growing fear and distrust can be changed by each of us taking individual responsibility for our actions and reactions. Learn the language of state nationalism and fascism so you know when it’s slip sliding into democracy.  Fascism arises when individualism dies.

Respectfully submitted,

Kylie Addison Sabra

 

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World Leaders – Keeping Them Straight

Reprint from May 29, 2017

World Leaders – The Cast on Our World Stage

It can be daunting to juggle the names and titles of leaders in today’s stormy political climate.  The graphic is up to date as of May 27, 2017. The goal here is not to include every country, but rather those that have become focal points in today’s news.

Mind mapping helps me keep the dynamic political scene in order. I’ll begin posting a number of maps as I continue my research. Wait until you see the one on Trump. Oy vey!)

Just click on the mind map below to be directed to the original map for easier viewing. Or just enlarge on your screen. I will continue to update the map with links to additional information.

world leaders

 

My Thoughts Exactly, Dr. Bear — The Good Doctor’s Open Letter to Pat Robertson

July 15, 2017

I’m happy to post this here, Dr. Bear, for what it’s worth. I left the Christian faith some years ago out of frustration, but hold many of its tenets to this day. What I see in the modern church deeply concerns me as it has moved even further from the teachings of the God/Man that is at the foundation of its very existence. What you speak here in your open letter to Pat Robertson is eloquent and could not have more clearly represented my own thoughts. This letter should be read by every person who calls him or herself a Christian.

 I do hope the Christian church and those that bear the title Christian will turn back to the teachings of Christ as their moral compass. I hope that they lay aside the prejudice and hate wrapped in Sunday school white; the worship of the almighty dollar and the power it brings. May they lay aside the blind obeisance doled out to a Church leadership that has clearly forgotten Christ’s teachings, and an administration that gleefully sponsors bigotry and lines their own pockets by turning theirs back on the weakest in our society and stripping our ailing middle class of what wealth and dignity to which it clings.

The shame of man

 My early years as a Christian involved an old house, for which we paid $80 a month out of our corporate high-school and college incomes. Long hours of restoring said old house led to the joy of seeing every room of it filled with people of all ages who came from miles around for one reason alone — to hear the word of God and to worship. Rarely was a plate passed for donations. Often lives were changed. I think this was what Jesus had intended for his church. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the glitzy facades, the three-piece suits and the propensity to dabble in politics, it seems she has lost her way.

 For the Christian community, that hides behind the moniker the “Christian Right”, to stand behind this man currently holding the office of President of our great country, vociferously defend his obscene behaviors, cheer as he encourages bigotry and hatred, and bemoan how they were mistreated under a black president continues to break my heart.

 Thank you, Dr. Bear, for speaking out. One can only contemplate the thoughts of God.

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