President Trump, Twitter, and Freedom of Speech

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In the midst of the storming of the Capitol yesterday, Twitter pulled the plug on President Trump. Initially restricting anyone from replying, liking, or sharing his tweet (and later pulling it all together), Twitter had enough. Apparently there is a magical end to the freedom of the Internet, and President Trump reached it.

President Trump, who is no school boy, knew what he was doing. I would call his response to the attacks calculated.

“We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said. “It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now.”

One does not pour gasoline on a fire unless you want to see things explode.

But I digress, what will be talked about in the months to come, will be freedom of speech.

Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

Freedom of speech[2] is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction.

The moment Twitter did not like what President Trump had to say, they pulled the plug. Up until this point, they had let him exist. Call the election stolen, sure, stay on our platform. The moment though you do not do as we say (in this case, denounce the protestors), you can show yourself the door.

Now, Twitter is a private company, they can do as they please on their platform. But what do Twitter’s actions say about freedom of speech?

  • Should politicians be held to a different standard on social media?
  • Have social media companies become too big? Big enough to silence the President of the United States?
  • When does freedom of speech become a “risk of violence” OR WORSE a result for permanent suspension?

Sound off in the comments below.

President Kennedy Visits Ireland

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Over lunch, I happened to watch a PBS documentary on President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland, in 1963. Crowds gathered everywhere to see the President who had led America through the Cuban Missile Crisis some 9 months earlier. Beyond the crowds, the very faces of the people themselves are what captivated me. One would think that President Kennedy’s visit was the second coming of Christ. Joy-filled faces, reaching out to touch or to simply catch a glimpse of the American President filled the screen. For some reason, this awestruck scene reminded me of wave that swept now President Obama into the White House.

I think that we, as Americans, get excited about ideas. Be it flying among the clouds or carrying a Swiss Army Knife-like cell phone, we are always pushing the boundaries forward, testing what is and is not possible. I think that that is what carried President Obama into office. The very idea that an African American could become President of the United States was too big of a thought to pass up. So a majority of Americans voted him into office.

After nearly 4 years of leading the United States, President Obama’s time is running out. Though he is running for a second term, he now has a track record to back up his lofty speeches. The word “hope” no longer has the optimistic tone it once did. We have seen Obama polarize our country in ways he swore would never happen; we have seen how his words lead to little action.

President Obama is certainly no John F. Kennedy. However, JFK was not all he was cracked up to be either. I can’t wait to see what the November elections bring.