Behind the Tweets

Stories and thoughts beyond 280 characters

Sometimes it seems my brain is wired to produce thoughts in exactly 280 characters. That’s what compulsive, daily tweeting will get you. But there’s often a whole lot of other thinking that never gets included in those blasts, typically served up in a string of declarative sentences.

This occasional feature will give a behind-the-scenes look at some of the thoughts and questions that motivated the tweet. Let me know if you find it interesting.

The deadly, insurrectionist attack on our Capitol and democratic system of government took place less than two months ago. There’s still so much we don’t know about what happened, including all the sources of funding, the extent and coordination of the planning, what the White House occupant promised these violent extremists, and so much more. But even as we struggle to make sense of this, the country and the media hasn’t fully decided what to call this heinous crime. That’s why FBI director Christopher Wray calling this domestic terrorism is so important.

In the early days after Trump was elected, I often commented on his maddening outbursts, retweeting what he said. I came to realize that, even if I was condemning his words, I was also amplifying them. So I stopped that practice, paraphrasing what he said rather than inadvertently spreading the lying and the degrading attacks. Even now, especially after his eviction, I ask myself whether what he does is sufficiently newsworthy that it justifies watching, listening and sharing my observations. As for Sunday’s repetitive blabber—arguably newsworthy for his criminal need to continue perpetuating the Big Lie, his support of states pursuing voter suppression laws and his cultists’ fervor to stick with him—I gave up on the tired display before it ended.

Sometimes I feel like I tweet what everyone knows already, but I still think the reality needs to be stated factually. My hope: the contrast between the actual facts and the failure to face them might someday trickle into the minds of his followers to rethink their choice. Until we see the mass psychosis fading, I admit this is a combination of unrealistic hopefulness and the need to get off my chest what seems clearly deranged.

When the Biden Administration made public the CIA’s findings that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for the murder of the Washington Post journalist and Saudi native, this simply confirmed what many of us believed soon after we learned of his brutal execution by bone saw on October 2, 2018 in Istanbul. This horror was made more intolerable then by Trump’s utter disrespect for human life by focusing on the economic priorities. “Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of [American] product,” he said, adding: “Take their money.” I’m still angry. I’ll never get over this.

After the last four years of desecration and violation of the rule of law, democracy and human decency, the Biden Administration’s early missteps seem tepid in comparison. But the Khashoggi murder deserves a stronger response, even if it undermines the Saudi-US relationship. It’s interesting how many people complained about my criticizing Joe Biden.

In brief: Never underestimate the hypocrisy of the Republicans, especially when it comes to serving their financial interests over all other values.

It’s been a long, heartbreaking year. We have lost way too many of our fellow Americans. But I am grateful that we have an empathic President now who understands and believes in governance and is focused on saving lives. It gives me hope and confidence we will get through this—and it’s why I’m determined to keep noting the difference between our current reality and what we would be facing if Trump had four more years to wreak havoc.