I spent a year on Twitter arguing with people who support President Trump. I’m especially addicted during the cold weather when it’s no fun to be outside. I sprawl on my couch with my iPhone in my hand going back and forth.
Several years ago, I joined Twitter to promote my new book. But since Trump was elected I’m tweeting as a member of the Resistance, seeking reassurance I’m not alone in my distress. It is comforting that many people around the country see through this man; plus, Twitter connects me to articles I may have missed. I’m reading compulsively, trying to comprehend what is going on in our nation.
How do I work Twitter? I follow hashtags, check specific journalists daily, and scroll though my home feed. (Posts from everyone I’m following show up there.) I also like going down the many rabbit holes of a conversation responding to an original post. I recently hit more than 5,000 followers, a milestone that pleases me.
Besides seeking solace and solidarity, I’m focused on trying to understand what people see in Trump and why they voted for him. (They resent illegal immigrants who they think are taking over. They like his coarse unfiltered speech. They don’t think he’s racist!)
I have basically concluded that arguing is futile, even though I have heard people say things like, “I think I could talk to Kate except for the fact that she hates President Trump.”
I try to be reasonable and polite and avoid ad hominem. Yet, if I had a dollar for every time I was called a “Libtard,” I would be investing in the stock market. I don’t even own a pussy hat.
The big difference between me and them is that I tend to attack President Trump and his cabinet and his policies. They attack liberals, feminists, Hollywood, the media and now the Mueller investigation, which they’re convinced is a “witch hunt.”
I’m an easy target because I belong to several categories they stereotype:
I live in “librul” New York.
I’m a lesbian-feminist and I’m one of those “commie college teachers.” Oddly, many Trump supporters claim to accept L.G.B.T. Americans, (how tolerant of them), yet they’re O.K. with a baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay or lesbian couple.
Since I taught Critical Thinking for years, I know how to argue and how to identify a fallacy. But the biggest obstacle to having a real argument is the lack of agreement about facts. If something has been reported in several newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, (far from a liberal paper), Trump supporters will still deny its truth, saying that the mainstream media is fake. Yet they support groups like Project Veritas, claiming they are real journalists (as opposed to provocateurs).
I also find Trump supporters to be condescending, saying things like: Do you know what “merit immigration” means? (As if I don’t know the definition of the word “merit.”) One trumpeted that he was smarter than me since he went to college. I replied that I teach at a college. Boom!
Over the past year, the MAGA crowd has become more entrenched in their hatred for the media, a charge led by the president, whose disrespect for the First Amendment is chilling. It seems so obvious what Trump is doing: He doesn’t like what’s being written about him, so he calls the news “fake.” How can people be so dense not to see through him? Maybe it is lack of education: Things presented as arguments are often fallacies — and bad grammar routinely pops into their posts. If I point this out, I am mocked or called elitist.
They call themselves Christians in their profiles, yet have no problem with supporting a president who cheated on his wives, including an affair with a porn star right after his youngest son was born. They believe in Pizza Gate, yet supported Roy Moore. A Bible school student (who preferred Cruz to Trump) insisted I might not be a Christian, even though I attended Catholic schools and currently belong to a church. I still can’t believe there are gay people who actually defend Trump as our civil rights are being stripped away.
All this makes me agree with what Trump said a while back, that he could shoot someone on Fifth Ave. and his supporters would not care. Despite a few decent volleys over the past year, things usually end up with one of us blocking the other. I have concluded it is appropriate to use the label “Cult 45.” Trump supporters are blinded by their hatred of liberals.
This year of insanity has made me more of a political activist. I’m not just a Twitter warrior: I attend demonstrations, sign petitions, write articles, donate money. I am ready for the Blue Wave in the midterm elections. I’m not dwelling on the big loss.
I took breaks from the Internet last spring when the weather got nice and during the summer when I was at the beach. I may do the same this year. But during the cold winter months, I’m inside my warm apartment arguing with the MAGA crowd and getting insight into their closed minds. It feels like my patriotic duty to fight back with facts — and snarky comments.
What have I learned from a year on Twitter as a member of the Resistance? There are definitely two different countries all under the flag of the United States of America. Former Mayor Bloomberg said it best when he called Trump a con man. I can’t understand how diehard Trump supporters don’t see this.
In the meantime, I’m tweeting away and counting the months until the 2018 election.