Tag Archives: social media

Trump legacy leaves scars

No matter what happens to Donald J. Trump and his political future, the individual’s legacy is going to leave lasting scars and wounds across the landscape.

The scars remain in the millions of destroyed friendships his presence on the political scene has inflicted.

I know of what I speak. I have lost some friends over the past five years because of disagreements over Trump’s “contributions” to American life. I blame Trump for that.

It sickens me terribly to admit these relationships have been torn asunder because of disagreements over policy. Except that Trump brings out the worst in many of us. I count myself as a casualty.

Even during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, I maintained friendships through serious disagreements about President Nixon’s role in that hideous crisis. Of course, there was no such thing as “social media” in those days. We relied on TV and radio and printed media in the form of newspapers and magazines. These days, the communication is instantaneous, and it allows those of us to say things without giving our remarks a first– let alone a second — thought before speaking out.

Trump has mastered the manipulation of social media to the extent that he knows the impact he has on people’s relationships.

What troubles me the most is that some of these severed relationships — not many, mind you, but a few of them — involve people with whom I have been friends. Others, though, have involved individuals with whom I have casual contact, or who I have known only through social media. If they decide they dislike my world view and my loathing of Trump, they’re free to go their own way. I have done the same thing.

Many relationships have remained intact, largely because we don’t discuss politics when we’re in each other’s presence.

It’s the actual friendships lost that I mourn.

For that I will not forgive the source of that loss.

Damn you, Donald Trump!


Social media produces kindness

Many of you know my thoughts on social media. It at times gives me grief, but then again it can result in positive thoughts and actions among those who consume its content.

I heard a story today on a morning TV news show about a group of Tarrant County, Texas, athletes who are playing benefit baseball games to assist people in need. How did they get the word out to round up athletes to take part? Social media.

My wife noted this morning how social media outlets have produced these acts of kindness and compassion. Back in the Dark Ages when we were that age, she reminded me, we didn’t have that kind of instant communication available. Many of us did do wonderful things for people in those days, but we often had to look hard for opportunities, as they weren’t presented to us regularly on smart phones and computer tablets … which didn’t exist!

We would volunteer our time though our houses of worship or through schools.

These days, we hear about youngsters gathering up their resources at the latest alert they get via social media and distribute some of their treasure to those who need it.

This is an example of social media bringing out the best among our young people. Yes, I know there are those who act out badly as a result of bullying and other social media contacts.

I just want to offer a good word to those young people who — when alerted via social media about suffering that occurs around them — put their high energy to work for the good of others.

Y’all make us proud.


A flash from recent past worth repeating

The picture you see here takes me back. It was taken in 1961. It shows two presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy and the man he succeeded, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Kennedy won the 1960 election by a razor-thin margin over Richard Nixon, who served as vice president in the Eisenhower administration.

What precisely are these men discussing as they stroll through the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.? Beats me.

But the picture came with some text that someone posted on Facebook. It reads in part:

This is not a political post. I am posting as a service to Facebook users too young to recall such times. This is a picture of President Kennedy, a Democrat, and former President Eisenhower, a Republican … It hasn’t always been, “I won and you lost.” We used to understand that we are all better together than we are when grouped in opposing camps. Competition is fine, as long as you understand who you are competing against. It’s not productive to burn something down, just so you can stand on the smoldering ashes.

This photo seems rather quaint, but it’s also instructive to those who have no memory of how we used to function at the highest level of our government. Men succeeded each other at the pinnacle of power and the individual who ceded that power to his successor made himself available to provide counsel and advice.

We haven’t seen this occur in recent times. The most recent presidential election, tragically, has resulted in perpetuating hatred among Americans of differing points of view.

The cause of that ill will is clear to me: It comes from the defeated candidate for president in 2020 refusing to concede that he lost. His refusal has fed the anger that still burns among those who follow him down some path to oblivion.

I am no Pollyanna. I know there is a way to restore the collegiality that formerly existed between those of differing political parties. It can start simply with the defeated former president doing what is right. He could stand before a crowd of journalists and call put an end to The Big Lie, the one he repeats by telling us about phony allegations of “widespread voter fraud.”

It won’t happen. I just thought it helpful to show you how it used to be … and how it could be once again.


Silly me … so much for offering a different view

Gosh, I guess I was more optimistic about my membership in a social media group than I should ever have been.

I joined a conservative group on Facebook several months ago. I joined to read what the other side is saying about issues of the day. My eyes have been opened, not because I am surprised, but by the various directions certain arguments are able to take from those seeking to make a point.

That’s all fine.

Then I chimed in this morning with a comment about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. A member of this group called Flynn an “honorable man.” Bear in mind that the retired Army lieutenant general set a dubious record by serving just 24 days before he was kicked out for lying to the FBI. I merely questioned the individual’s assertion that Flynn is honorable.

Then came the push back.

To be clear, it wasn’t vicious or malicious. It was, um, just pointed and it told me in clear terms that the folks who belong to this group are in no mood to hear from someone with my particular bias; they are interested only in hearing the bias expressed by those with whom they agree.

I suppose I need to recognize that liberal-leaning social media groups aren’t inclined to welcome thoughts from those on the right. There. I just did recognize that lefties’ bias is as intractable as those who oppose them.

The only criticism I heard that compels to respond directly came from someone who accused me of adhering to the “fake news” media outlets. I will say only that Donald J. Trump and his cabal of cultists are the masters of promoting “fake news.” Example? The Big Lie about the 2020 election being stolen and rigged. That is as “fake” as it gets!

Hey, I won’t take any of it personally. I’ll just be sharing my world view on this blog, which is open to anyone who wants to read it … even those who disagree with it.

If so, let me know what you think. I won’t bite back … I promise!


Watching media struggle

The longer I watch daily newspapers struggle with the changing media landscape, the more I am filled with relief that I am viewing this from a seat on the sidelines.

To be sure, I continue to have my hand in newspapers. I am a freelance reporter for a weekly newspaper in Collin County, Texas. That’s as far as my direct newspaper involvement goes. I like it that way.

However, I am filled with a growing sense of gratitude — yes, gratitude — that I was spared the agony that’s occurring within the craft I pursued with great joy for more than three decades.

I have told you already on this blog about the pain of being told in August 2012 that I would no longer be doing what I had done for the Amarillo, Texas, newspaper for nearly 18 years. I have gotten over that pain and, to be truthful, over my anger at the individual who gave me the bad news. I now am filled with relief and the aforementioned gratitude that he spared me the heartache that has enveloped the newspaper since my departure.

The Globe-News changed ownership. The publisher who in effect gave me my walking papers “stepped down” shortly after the new owners purchased the paper. My thought when I heard he had left was, well, “karma’s a bitch, man.”

The paper’s owners have gutted it. The Globe-News has moved to a suite of offices in a downtown Amarillo bank building. I hear from my friends in the Panhandle that it doesn’t “cover” the community these days, that the paper is full of press releases.

I am on the sidelines these days. My retirement journey is going along swimmingly. I’ll keep writing for the weekly newspaper near my home for as long as they want me; I also will continue writing feature stories for the public radio station, too, for as long as they want me.

Life is good, man.

What’s happening in Amarillo is being felt in communities all across the land. I am delighted to be away from the madness and the misery.


Twitter acts correctly in banning fear-mongering liar

Marjorie Taylor Greene can yap and yammer until she runs out of breath.

Twitter acted correctly when it banned her personal access to the social medium permanently. The company’s reason? Greene, a Republican congresswoman serving her first term from Georgia, is peddling lies and dangerous misinformation about the COVID-19 virus that is still killing Americans.

Yes, it is going to prompt a debate about whether Twitter is violating Greene’s First Amendment right to free speech. It isn’t. You see, it has long been established that the constitutional guarantee does not allow anyone to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater, which is the equivalent of what Greene has been doing by pushing out the lies regarding the COVID virus and the vaccines developed to rid us of the virus’s effects.

Remember that Greene was elected in 2020 to the U.S. House of Representatives and promptly equated mask and vaccine mandates to what Jews endured during the Holocaust. House Republican leaders had the good sense — finally! — to strip her of committee assignments.

She continues to bloviate, though. Twitter, a private company, said it has heard enough from the QAnon queen of the House.

I agree with what the social media firm has done.


Goodbye, Devin Nunes

REUTERS/Erin Scott

This will be brief, but it’s worth saying anyhow.

Devin Nunes is quitting Congress to run a social media company set up by Donald Trump. To which I say … whoopee!

Nunes is a California Republican who helped lead the telling of The Big Lie, the one about the “rampant widespread voter fraud” that resulted in the “theft” of the 2020 election that chose Joe Biden to become president.

Now he is gone from public life. He is going to run a social media company. His experience in that endeavor? None. Zero. Which makes him a perfect fit for a Trump-founded company.

Goodbye and good fu**ing riddance, Devin Nunes.


‘Let’s go, Brandon’ explained

I guess I need to get out more.

This morning I awoke and while catching up on some overnight developments, I found the “Let’s go, Brandon” slogan plastered on several items. I looked up the origin of this phrase I’ve been seeing. I found this on Yahoo news:

Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida ended an Oct. 21 House floor speech with a fist pump and cryptically let out the phrase that’s disguised to be upbeat. A day later, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tweeted the phrase. More recently, Southwest Airlines opened an internal investigation when a pilot used it over the loudspeaker.

The phrase originated at an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Brandon Brown, a 28-year-old driver, had won his first Xfinity Series and was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter. The crowd behind him was chanting something at first difficult to make out. The reporter suggested they were chanting “Let’s go, Brandon” to cheer the driver. But it was clear they were saying, “(Expletive) Joe Biden.”

What does ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ mean? Everything you need to know about the Joe Biden insult (yahoo.com)

So now it has become a sort of right-wing rallying cry. Social media have carried it around the world, maybe even into outer space.

Again, as with the term “woke” — which still kinda flies over my noggin — I need to understand some of these trendy sayings that grow legs and traipse their way into contemporary public discourse.

I’m not sure how to use the “Let’s go, Brandon” phrase. Is it an epithet? Do I say it when I want to denigrate a liberal/progressive policy? Do I hurl it at President Biden?

I’ll just stick with what I know.


Upsetting news on many levels

The news that a building where I once worked was damaged by fire upset me in more ways than I could have calculated.

Fire has damaged the Amarillo Globe-News building on the outskirts of downtown Amarillo, Texas. It is now vacant, a rotting hulk of a structure that contains a legendary inscription penned by a legendary journalist.

Gene Howe, the former publisher of the newspaper, once wrote: A newspaper may be forgiven for lack of wisdom but never for lack of courage.

The inscription is still there. The building’s inhabitants have vacated the place, having moved to an office suite in a 31-story bank tower around the corner and down the street.

That the building no longer serves as a beacon for good — if not great — journalism in the community is bad enough.

These days I am feeling more like a show-and-tell relic. A former colleague and a still-dear friend and I exchange messages earlier today. I informed her that my granddaughter might one day want me to stand before her classmates so she could tell them what her grandpa used to do for a living.

That likely won’t ever happen. First of all, I don’t even know if they have show and tell these days. Second of all, she might not yet fully comprehend the importance we used to attach to the craft we pursued, often with great joy and equal amounts of diligence and integrity.

Newspapers are becoming a relic of the past, as are those of us who used to fill those pages with words that sought to lend leadership and provide guidance to the communities we served.

The fire at the Globe-News building only reminds me of what used to be in that place. It saddens me at a level I am at this very moment still having trouble understanding.


‘Truth Social’? Seriously?

If there is a more egregiously misnamed outfit than the one Donald J. Trump seeks to create, then someone will have to find it for me. I am at a total loss.

The 45th POTUS is going to launch a social media network he is calling “Truth Social.” Truth Social? Is this guy kidding?

The former Liar in Chief couldn’t tell the truth, or recognize the truth, if it slapped him in the face.

Donald Trump’s Truth Social is headed for ’embarrassing’ failures, Daily Beast report says (msn.com)

He lied some on the order of 30,000 times during his term as POTUS, according to a survey done by the Washington Post. He lied when he never needed to lie. His lies were incessant and gratuitous.

Now he wants to create a new social media network, given that Twitter and Facebook have banned him for, um, lying.

I won’t bother to dial into whatever lies POTUS 45 wants to spin.