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The Wrong Tweet Went Viral
Discussing a small viral moment over the weekend.
Anybody who knows me well knows that I don’t shy away from calling the balls and strikes as I see them. When I see something that’s wrong in society, I speak up. When I hear somebody say something or see someone write something that’s wrong, I speak up. And that’s exactly what happened over the weekend.
I have long respected Senator Mike Lee for his positions on and understanding of constitutional issues. Perhaps unlike any other current Senator, he recognizes the necessity both to re-establish effective federalism in America and to re-assert the role of Congress in relationship to the other branches of the federal government. We may have serious disagreements on the rise of populism in the Trump era and on many foreign policy questions, but on constitutional issues I tend to agree with Senator Lee on a great many things.
But over the weekend, Senator Lee gave voice to one of many conspiracy theories that revolve around the January 6th insurrection, questioning, “How many of these guys are feds?” (referencing the mob assailing barricades, attacking police officers, and breaking into the US Capitol shown in a video shared by former Representative Liz Cheney).
Frustrated with this irresponsible rhetoric, I posted this to Twitter/X Saturday morning:
As you can see, my comment had a mini-viral moment, liked and retweeted over 3,000 times. But I’m a little more insulated from “viral excitement” than I used to be. I’ve long learned that such moments don’t always mean you’re getting the point across you think you are. And usually, when I have tweets like this get so much attention, there are other far more important messages I’ve tried to share that get little to no attention at all, such as this one from that very same morning:
And this is the crucial reality in considering the different levels of attention and excitement given these two different messages. The Mike Lee tweet was a negative tweet, held up as a Republican attacking a Republican and demonstrative of how a political party has lost its way and must be defeated. The other ignored tweet was a call for participation in the Republican Party, not its abandonment, a positive message calling for civic engagement rather than retreatism.
I stand by what I said in the Mike Lee tweet, because it needed to be said. But the fact that that’s the tweet that goes viral while my call to participate in the process rather than just lob rhetorical bombs from the sidelines gets largely ignored is a sad demonstration of why things keep getting worse rather than getting better.
The Daily Saucer is our place for freelance contributors and editorial staff to offer short takes on the news cycle, quick observations on the issues, and brief thoughts on broader topics. The views offered in this space reflect only the personal views of the authors.
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