Here’s a tweet by Vice President Harris that ignited another crazy partisan tweet firestorm on Saturday, two days before Memorial Day. These partisan outrage tweet firestorms have become just part of the social media ecosystem that flare up quickly and then leap to ignite “national conversations” on news media, (especially cable news networks). Most of these partisan Twitter battles are ridiculous, totally disingenuous and just shallow political theater.
I am not a fan of Harris, find most of her comments vapid and her giggling at odd moments when speaking annoys the heck out of me, but I did not take this tweet to be some sign of disrespect for our fallen war heroes. It was the most innocuous platitude imaginable and something just about everyone has said at the beginning of a long holiday weekend, but many from right-wing blue-checkmark Twitter (especially Trump-supporters) went berserk tweeting angry diatribes about her tweet, accusing her of disrespecting fallen soldiers, dishonoring our country and even asserting this tweet made her unfit to serve. And somehow over four years of Trump’s disrespectful, petty, spiteful and plain wacky tweeting was forgotten and this Kamala tweet became the worst public display of disrespect imaginable.
The whole predictable Twitter firestorm left me feeling, not only weary of the endless, petty spin war, but also deeply saddened that blue-checkmark, politically-connected partisans have so much influence over American news and American politics. On both sides of the political divide in America, this small Twitter crowd wields enormous influence over our political landscape and within minutes can ignite national outrage, spread malicious lies, and even pressure elected officials into making rash decisions.
Yesterday morning, the Kamala Twitter kerfuffle was still permeating before I headed to the veterans cemetery, where my husband is buried. I’ve been visiting this cemetery almost every weekend since March and usually there are one or two other visitors there. I expected more this weekend and there were a few more visitors, like three men on motorcycles who came to pay a visit to a military buddy. There were a few family groups. There was a man with his son, who looked to be around 7 or 8 years old, walking through the row next to where my husband is buried. His son was straightening flags that were leaning sideways from the wind and I heard him ask his dad what “Purple Heart” means and small moments like that give me hope for America.
On a couple other visits I’ve seen a younger lady sitting on a grave and it hurts my heart to see her grieving. Grief’s a very personal thing and as with just about every part of life, assuredly there’s a slew of self-help books to “teach you” how to cope with grief, there are grief support groups, and I’ve even come across some YouTube channels for grieving widows, but I’m very slowly feeling my way through this.
What makes my heart catch on trips to this veterans cemetery are two words on markers: Iraq and Afghanistan, because then I look at the birth date. There have been so many brave men and women who sacrificed so much to keep America free and here we are, a country where the political and media elites spend hours upon hours trying to drive and control public opinion via a corrupt, cynical spin information war that’s designed to fuel partisan divides every minute of every day, all while lecturing and preening about “proper respect” and “honor.”
Words come cheap, especially in a spin war, but how we choose to live our lives and treat others is what really matters. It’s way past time for Americans, especially those with the power “to influence” public opinion and our politics, to extend just a fraction of goodwill and exert a few moments of restraint, before leaping into these phony self-righteous patriotic outrage media sideshows.
The best way to honor the sacrifices of those who died defending our freedom isn’t about saying the “right words” on Memorial Day; it’s about working every day to be a good citizen.