June 15, 2017
I read yesterday that Donald Trump blocked Stephen King on Twitter. J.K. Rowling immediately stepped up and said she’d be happy to send S.K. Trump’s tweets so he could remain in the loop. This is all mildly amusing, if you don’t think too hard about it. If you do stop to think about it, however, you realize that the Leader of the Free World, of a country that prides itself on freedom of speech, is deliberately and purposefully blocking his own communication to people he fears will disagree with him. Stephen King is only one of many dissidents who have been blocked from reading Trump’s tweets. You might say that it’s only social media, that it’s Trump’s right to block individuals–I mean, I certainly have that capability on my own Twitter account–but I am not a public figure tasked with representing those I might choose to block. Since Trump has made Twitter his primary means of communication with the American public–these reactionary, staccato, 140 character temper-tantrums designed to incite ire and deflect blame and responsibility–it should be alarming that he feels he is entitled to narrow his audience to those who won’t call him out and challenge the veracity of his missives. He both works for us and is supposed to represent all of his constituents, not just those who nod and smile at his antics. If we don’t recognize that his entitled view of narrowing the scope of available communication on Twitter as a microcosm of the broader intent to choke out opposing viewpoints in other areas of government, we are burying our heads in the sand.