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But, but, but this is our safe space!

January 27, 2017

I’m not a big fan of Twitter, or Facebook or even Quora. It’s not because they are social media sites, though I find it’s far too easy to spend time there that could and should be spent doing something more productive. No, I’m not a big fan because of the nature of what passes for discourse. You don’t have to agree with me and I don’t have to agree with you, but it’s childish for either of us to engage in the cyber version of sticking our fingers in our ears while yelling “la, la, la, la, la, I can’t hear you!” An example is always good.

  • The question was “If Trump continues this obvious path to a tyranny, will the gun owners save us as they have always promised?” Call me jaded, but it occurred to me that this might not be the most honest of questions. So, in an effort to not be sucked in, I pointed out I didn’t vote for him and asked for specifics. To wit, I wanted to know the “path to tyranny” to which the question referred and what it was from which the questioner needed to be saved. The answer? “If you can’t see the parallels between what he has done to date and what every other wannabe dictator has done, there’s little point in telling you. Enjoy your tyranny and be sure to get a gun to support it.”

Look, some people are simply childish, I know. When faced with anything they perceive as a challenge to their beliefs or assertions, they simply don’t know how to respond. Still, it tends to surprise me when it happens. I get what one of my sons calls “confused dog face.” This led me to thinking about social media in general and ultimately to the Left’s meltdown over Donald Trump’s use of Twitter.

While I think the current, and former, President’s use of Twitter is kind of silly (I’m old. Sue me), there’s no evidence the Left’s reaction to Trump’s use of it is based on that. After all, those folks were more than okay with Barack Obama’s use of that platform. Nor do I buy the argument that it is solely based on their disagreement with Trump’s statements and likely policies, though that is certainly a factor. There is, I believe, something far more basic at work.

Many, perhaps even most, social media sites either tend toward having a user population with a liberal/progressive bias or are overwhelmingly so. Thus, over the past few years, as the number of pro Second Amendment people on Quora has increased and as they have become more focused and vocal, many of those in favor of ever-increasing gun control have apparently become quite alarmed. They have asked when Quora came to be dominated by conservatives or gun rights activists (point of fact: the site actually still leans overwhelmingly to the left). Their voices sometimes become quite shrill as they ask when their forum was taken over by the unwashed conservatives and libertarians. It’s not that they are outnumbered, it’s simply that the pro Second Amendment folks take the discussions very seriously and, as a whole, refuse to let baseless assertions go unchallenged. At least as regards gun control it has ceased to be the exclusive stomping ground of the Left.

In the case of the Twitterverse and its collective loss of mind over Trump’s use, we see something similar. Progressives thought they owned Twitter. Not only did they seemingly constitute the majority of users, Twitter itself had a clear bias for liberal or progressive thought and arguments. Enter Donald Trump.

Regardless of whether you like President Trump or not, regardless of your view of his statements and likely policies and regardless of the quality of what he tweets, one thing seems clear. He has taken to Twitter with a vengeance and is using it effectively. Arguably, he is at this point using it more effectively than those who oppose him. He has taken over the playground, demonstrating it’s not their exclusive domain and the Left can’t stand that. It’s no longer a safe space from which to hurl barbs. He, and his tweets, are a constant reminder to the Left that they have not won the culture war; that it is, in fact, far from over.

Let’s be fair. No one likes to lose. It’s hard to lose when you see it coming. It can be depressing, but at least you have time to prepare for it. It’s orders of magnitude harder when you had a sure victory, only to have it disappear, quite literally in this case, overnight. Denial? Check. Anger? Oh, yeah, I’d say that’s where we are.

I don’t know if this behavior is going to change. Given what I’ve seen on other sites as people debate gun control,  I don’t think it will. Some people simply can’t tolerate being challenged, especially on what they had come to think of as their space.

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