We’re going deep this morning.
We’ve got something on our mind.
You may be thinking it too.
The head of The New York Times opinion section, Bari Weiss, tossed in the towel this week. She admitted defeat. She said it would take more courage than she’s got to continue taking the lashing she’s gotten over the last three years.
“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times,” she said on her way out the door. “But Twitter has become its ultimate editor.”
Now, we don’t know the facts of this case. We won’t pretend we’ve heard from all sides.
For all we know, the “bullying” she reports may not be because of her political or lifestyle views. It could be because she microwaves flounder every day at lunch or because she leaves the door open when she goes to the bathroom.
That’s the thing about all of this.
The truth rarely gets out.
For many, that’s fine.
In fact, we’ve been flat-out astounded by the new conscience of this nation.
Weiss nailed it… If Twitter doesn’t like something… if an idea gains speed on Facebook… or if things go to hell on Instagram… that’s it. Forget the facts. The case is decided, and the gallows shall be built.
It’s the single most destructive force of our time.
Beans, Beans… the “Political” Fruit
A few years ago, we said politics would soon take over everything. They’d come to our sports and our pizza, we said, so now they’d be everywhere.
It wasn’t a bold prediction. Any dope could have made it.
But it’s certainly come true.
The weather… our health… and even our food now lean left or right.
This week, the Twitter crowd went after Goya beans. Called to Washington to be part of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, the company’s CEO publicly praised the president of our nation.
It was as if he stepped on the neck of an orphaned puppy, curled his finger and said, “Bring me another.”
One Twitterite’s words of hate led to more. Soon enough, the rags of record weren’t reporting the facts of the case, but Twitter’s reaction to it.
Now a bean company is at the center of a political riff and nobody knows why.
We just pray they don’t come after our popcorn next.
Thinking Through It
It makes us scratch our head and think. Is this really the conscience of our nation?
Is this a small but loud subset? Or is it the majority?
Our first thought was no. We’re better than that.
We see the good at our churches… at our food banks… at our community events.
We see it in the stock market… where great people at great companies get great rewards.
And, dare we say it, we see it at our cemeteries… where the folks laying a hand on the casket give no care to how their friend voted in the ’88 election.
But Hemingway once said a line that stuck with us.
“The first draft of anything is s#%&,” he said.
We agree. The first draft of our thoughts is rarely complete.
And so we went through them again… cutting here, adding there, searching for the buried lead.
With a bit of polish, we came to the idea that, indeed, the hate, ignorance and lousy thoughts that pervert this nation’s core greatness truly are its conscience.
They’re real. They have to be.
Those words on Twitter, the trending putridness on Facebook… Those really are the thoughts of the nation.
But this is where things get a bit deeper, where the second, third and fourth drafts find their weight.
The lazy writer would turn to a cliché.
“But actions speak louder than words,” he’d type.
It’s not our thoughts that matter; it’s our actions.
It’s true. Those words have grown tired for a reason. They’re very useful.
But, like so many things that keep us fretting, they don’t tell the whole story.
They merely tell us what to do… not how to do it.
Avoid the Culture Crash Ahead
Historically, we’ve had some pretty big barriers between our minds and our mouths.
But modern America seems to have pushed those ideas to the side.
Instead, if it feels good, we do it… even if the feeling is fleeting and lasts only as long as it takes to tap “Enter” on a keyboard.
We (speaking collectively, of course) feel good tearing down a bean salesman. We feel good “canceling” somebody for a slip of the tongue or for one misguided belief out of many. We feel good setting fires in the name of our cause.
But the feelings don’t last.
We’ll forget the name of the bean salesman by the end of the weekend.
The king and the noose aren’t there to stop us. And that’s good.
But unless we want to go back to those days, we must then lean back on the self-reliance we’re so proud of.
We must filter ourselves.
We must not let our collective conscience (that sin-filled beast) be our collective actions. And we must acknowledge right from wrong.
If we don’t… history tells us somebody else will.
Ideas should be treated like treasures… not like weapons.
And unlike the mob on social media… we want to hear your thoughts on this thorny issue. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.