Regan: Action In An Age Of Trumpery
Fighting back against the vulgar, unacceptable man.
Since the inauguration of what seems to be becoming a daily tantrum in a chamber pot, the previous administration and Congress appear more sophisticated and productive by a mere tweet. Currently, Washington D.C. is a circus of feckless sycophants working with an ill-coiffed buffoon. A greater degree of equanimity would sharpen the responses that are working to render this embarrassing moment in US history only four years in duration.
Social media, in partnership with the 24-hour news cycle, appears to have superseded television as our nation’s preferred means of entertainment and information. Unveiling trouble has never been easier; awareness is always a scroll away. The news networks, and various politicians are at fault for favoring entertainment over content. We are all guilty for allowing the tidbits of news we experience and while we now on social media to constitute the majority of our news consumption. It has become quite common to hear someone refer to Facebook as the place they saw an article and quite uncommon to hear a newspaper cited as the source. The output of news must stop placing such a primacy on view counts, and those of us reading the news must attempt to indicate our preference for content over entertainment. If we do not, our outrage will only feed the unhealthy cycle that begins anew each time President Donald Trump opines online.
The first amendment grants everyone the right to expressio but does not grant value to that which is expressed. It is valuable to express one’s opinion, but not by much if that opinion lacks reason, and especially if one refuses to change when faced with reason. Passionate reactions — online, televised,or in conversation should not gather major traction if they rely mainly upon intensity and insanity rather than information. Of course, certain passionate reactions, such as cries for help from the disenfranchised, are intrinsically valuable. Such reactions are more effective when passion is combined with reason. It is that combination that is currently taking a stand, or rather taking a knee, to protest an America ostensibly for every American.
Attention is valuable for what can be accomplished afterwards and meaningless if it begets nothing but itself. The “narcissist-in-chief’s” alarming and ungrammatical tweets are not worthy of the attention they receive; the courageous display of conviction and good citizenship blossoming across the National Football League are worthy of all the attention they receive. In fact, taking a knee to demand America stand for every color of skin equally is rippling into other venues. Comedian Katt Williams took a knee on the red carpet at the BET Awards; a World War II submariner taking a knee in his backyard; ESPN host Jemele Hill called the president “a white supremacist” then remained consistent in her beliefs by criticizing the owner of the Dallas Cowboys’ statement that players who kneeled during the national anthem would not be allowed to play.
Hill’s two-week suspension from ESPN is exactly how every American with strongly held beliefs should comport themselves when the expression of those beliefs is challenged. When she referred to the president as “a white supremacist,” Hill was likely doing so because a man who found neo-Nazis and those protesting their ideology equally reprehensible in Charlottesville. Hill is right to have little faith in the humanity of a man who is incapable of denouncing neo-Nazis. Violence was perpetrated on both sides, but it is Trump’s failure to publically recognize the immorality of one side, and the morality of the other, which is so troubling. ESPN warned Hill for her comments were “inappropriate” becayse they “paint[ed] ESPN in an unfair light,” and she apologized, but continued to stand by her views. More citizens must act to continue resisting the inanity of the Trump administration.
For instance, the coal industry is declining worldwide, and Trump claims that he will reinvigorate it, a declaration as illogical and ridiculous as his ineffectual series of tweets about the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. One news outlet reported that “his first response came five days after the storm hit.” His first response was a tweet, not aid. The average citizen, who does not have the clout of Jemele Hill or an NFL player, can do their part by making an effort to ignore such tweets and support good reporting by informing themselves outside of social media. Citizens with more to lose, and more power, may follow Jemele Hill’s example: Calmly assert your beliefs, and be reasonable when challenged.