A few of us had a rather nice conversation on Facebook, of all places, the other evening. One could follow the discussion and read what each said and know which side each was on. We kept talking. The participants were respectful, though in agreement not so much.
Many of us are well acquainted with the “anonymous rant” some social media conversations take – someone, sometimes with an obviously assumed name, makes some oft-heard unsupported (and oft times unsupportable) statement about one presidential candidate or the other, a few people gang up with the first and for most observers it becomes a shouting match. When the shouting starts, the listening stops.
Anyone who regularly follows my thoughts probably is aware which side I’d likely be on in any conversation. I am mostly liberal, though it is not a church I mandatorily attend.
But what really gets me is all the breath we have been wasting. Somebody says something Trump does not approve, he mulls it over for a few hours, and, at 3 a.m. when most people are abed (3 a.m. on the East Coast already is midnight on the West, after all) and begins to Tweet.
Twitter is old technology. Few people still use it seriously. Check the stock markets; its value is falling precipitously as users abandon it in droves.
But Trump uses it, and the news media apparently is returning to it, and for the next two or three days, Trump owns the news cycles.
He objected to the cast of “Hamilton” addressing Vice-President-elect Mike Pence. That was good for a couple days. Meryl Streep called him out for ridiculing a handicapped reporter. How dare she. Another couple hours of tweets, another couple days of quoting on TV and Facebook. Somebody lets it be known that somebody had collected dirt on the almost-president that could be used for blackmail. We do not know what dirt, or who collected it, but we are certainly talking about it.
And Mr. Trump owns the news cycle, which would be OK, except most of us cannot name the person poised for confirmation to head, and start shutting down, the EPA.
I’m OK, in principle at least, with the head of Exxon becoming Secretary of State. If he gets rich buying and selling fossil fuel and keeps Vladimir Putin from feeling a need to take over eastern Europe, I’m good with that.
But millions of people are having an increasingly difficult time getting clean fresh water to drink, some of them right here in the U.S. of A., and I am not good with fossil fuel barons squeezing the last drop of methane and CO2 into our atmosphere in race to see whether they can extract all the gas, coal and coal before the rest of us die of thirst. Note: In spite of the recent seemingly rainy days in Pennsylvania, 16 southeastern counties remain in Drought Watch status, and three in Drought Warning.
Anyone who thinks the world is a dangerous place now should contemplate what it will be like when hordes of people who don’t look or speak like us (whatever “us” looks and speaks like) come over our borders looking for the water they think we have.
Another subject we do not hear much about, between the tweets about dishonest media and disrespectful actors, is the generals and admirals trying to prepare for the chaos of multitudes in search of water.
I hope to be in more of those conversations such as we had the other evening. There is so much more to talk about that will not wait for the next election cycle.