What started it, I think, was a posting I made about GOP VP nominee Mike Pence who was asked on Sunday's Meet the Press if he would denounce David Duke, the former KKK Grand Wizard, who is running for the Senate in Louisiana. My pen pals (who seem to think so highly of the concept of "deplorable" that many have taken an adaptation of it as their Twitter name, like "Deplorable - HM2.") were bothered by this, insistent that Trump had indeed denounced him, many times, and would send video links.
One of the videos that kept getting re-sent did indeed have Trump clearly denouncing David Duke -- unfortunately, it was in 2000, 16 years ago. Long before he was running for anything. I pointed out that we're talking about now, once Trump has become a candidate and his position has changed and he's looking for support. I also got a few videos of him "rebuking" Duke and his support -- but that's a totally different thing, as I pointed out, to denouncing a person and what they stand for and why you do so. (We all know what actually denouncing someone truly sounds like. Along the lines of, "I abhor everything that David Duke promotes. He pushes racism, hatred, and division and that is against everything my campaign is about, and what America is about, which states that All Men Are Created Equal. He is the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, and there is nothing about him or his followers or his cause that I want in my universe.") Rebuking someone and their votes is as meaningful to denunciation as regret is to apologizing. It says I don't need your votes, or your tactics aren't effective, or any number of other meaningless things to denunciation, not that they ware wrong about all they stand for you. You "rebuke" them as you might scold a child -- you don't denounce them because you don't want to offend and lose all the support that comes with their followers.
Even Trump's few rebukes have been pathetic. Among other things, they took a very long time to show up, having to be pushed and pushed. And once they finally did appear, they are the most empty things to watch. Trump looks as uncomfortable and awkward to watch. "I rebuke him, okay?" he says at last to Chuck Todd on one video. And to his discredit, Todd (who was admirably pushing hard for a denunciation) accepts this hollow expression and moves on.
Bizarre, too, in all the attempts by my dear correspondents to try and suggest that these meaningless videos show Donald Trump supposedly "denouncing" the former KKK Grand Wizard is that some of the videos even include footage of Trump saying that he doesn't know who David Duke is. That he doesn't know the very man who in 2000 he said on camera was a hurtful part of the Republican Party. (So much for having the "World's Greatest Memory.") All showing the lengths Trump has gone to avoid denouncing David Duke.
All this also allowed me to note my appreciation of them happily proving Hillary Clinton's assertion about the level of deplorables who serve as the base of Trump's support. But then, hey, they don't call it "base" for nothing.
It also reinforced my belief that Twitter does language a disservice when it clearly intentionally altered the name of its postings to "Tweets," rather than what it should more properly be -- Twits.
None of which, of course, even addresses the point which started it all -- Mike Pence refusing to call David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan "deplorable." If anything shows how much the Trump campaign doesn't want to offend and push away the core of his support, there you have it. There you have the great moral leadership of today's Republican Party.
And so, the hate and bile came spewing in. I must tell you, it's tough making a point in return in 140-characters or less. On the positive side, it keeps the slurs short...
That said, what was nice was to get some support, too, for standing up to them. Several very thoughtful Tweets about taking the lead on this. What I wrote back was that it was like the old joke about the man who had been tarred-and-feather and carried out of town on a rail, and said, "If it wasn't for the honor of the thing, I'd just as soon passed."
At a certain point, though, you do have to stand up to hatred. And I tried to do it as politely as possible, without sinking to that level. It wasn't because I thought that would convince them of anything, but that it would shine brighter to those moderate, undecided people reading along. That, and being polite back stood a good chance of making their heads explode.
Also, to be honest, what also made it palatable was the knowledge that Twitter has a “Block” feature which I’ve begun using – it’s wonderful. You not only stop hearing from the abuser in question, but ALL previous communication is wiped out and removed from your timeline. It's very cleansing. Powerfully so. Almost beatific. Moreover, before blocking someone, I always precede it by writing a variation of, “Sorry, I don’t debate with racists. You will be blocked in two minutes. You have 120 seconds to rant. Type fast.”) I do that for two reasons: the first is that I very clearly want to let them know that they are being being blocked, rather than that I had no response to their last smear. And the other reason because I think it probably bugs the bejeepers out of them with the “Type fast” line… (In fact, I have some evidence that it does. When I tell someone I'm about to block them, I stop reading anything they write. But someone wrote to tell me that they kept reading at that point because it was so funny how "loony" this one person's Tweet became.)
All this is able to keep the angst to a minimum -- except for knowing that something this sad and awful is out there. But I took steps later to lessen it even more. One of the challenges of facing down all the bludgeons that come your way is what to respond, and fit it into the Twitter Limit. So, for those times when I just simply can't be bothered, and I want to make life so much easier, I prepared in advance a handful of the better replies I've sent in the past, and saved them in a document to have them now all at the ready to pick and choose from if need be, and adapt when appropriate. My favorite begins, "I'm sorry, but you've fallen into the 'Life is Too Short' hole."
Just cut-and-paste, wait 120 seconds, stir, lower to simmer, and use as needed