TWITTER WARS

Every time I go on Twitter and click the “connect” icon to see who is saying what to me, my stomach clenches and my neck tightens. I don’t like Twitter. It has become an open door for people who hate me to say terrible things to me, sometimes threatening things. It wasn’t always like that — there was a starting point for this and I’ll get to that in a moment. First let me say that getting off Twitter is not, in my opinion, an option. There are people who hate the phone, but they still have one. You have to have a phone. And you pretty much have to have a Twitter account these days, especially if you are trying to promote your work, or get word out about causes and issues you care about. I’m now a self-published author (through Amazon) and it would be foolish for me to pull the plug on Twitter. So I stay on it, I use it, I hope it will help me in my work…and I swallow the dread that comes up every time I go on the site.

Twitter used to be a friendly place for me. I posted book news, journalistic news when I had an article published; I posted news about the causes I’m passionate about, which pretty much always involve animals. And I got re-tweets, comments of support, interesting questions. I didn’t spend a lot of time on Twitter, but I appreciated it. That all changed in late September of 2013. After getting the same type of letter from my health insurance company that many others had gotten, telling me my plan was being cancelled and I would be rolled over to a more expensive one, I thought, Why is the president not speaking to us about this? This isn’t what he said would happen. I’ve written numerous articles about my disappointment in the Obama administration — on environmental grounds, on the president’s remove from the American people, his tardiness in addressing us when major events happen. So I expressed my disappointment again, this time in a tweet. I said Shouldn’t the president  explain to me and others why we’re losing our health insurance policies? This wasn’t supposed to happen.

Not a terribly inflammatory tweet, right? Wrong. Someone, who I will not name because I won’t give him more publicity, who was not following me but somehow discovered this re-tweeted it to his 48,000 Tea Party followers, reminding them that I exist and they’re supposed to hate me. Thus began the war. I was told I should have been aborted (this from people who oppose abortion rights.) I was told I should commit suicide. I was called the c-word. I was called stupid, moronic, for not listening to my father (who, by the way, would be horrified by all of them.)

So, to “another mother for guns” and “proud Ak 47 owner” and all the others who are still sending me ugly tweets, this is what I have to say to you: I did listen to my father. A man you never met, a man you didn’t grow up with and don’t have a clue about on any kind of profound and truthful level. I listened to him when I was 10 years old and the woman at the ice cream stand was rude to him and he responded with kindness. As we walked back to the car he told me, “You never know what is going on in someone else’s life. Maybe she just got terrible news. Maybe she doesn’t feel well. You still need to be nice even when people are rude to you.”

A link to this post is going to go on Twitter, as always. I assume I will still get ugly comments. And I will strive to rise up to my father’s lesson and assume that my haters are just going through really bad times in their lives. He was better at forgiveness than I am, but I’m working on it. Mostly because I never, ever want to sink into the darkness and the malice that have come across the internet into my home.

 

 

4 Responses to TWITTER WARS

  1. Marie says:

    I’m not going to comment on the hypocrisy and hatred coming from Twitter. Instead, I will say that I admire you greatly. I know this battle (and years of others) hurt you, you’re a caring and compassionate person. The important thing is that you keep going. You get blindsided, maybe knocked down…but dammit, you get right back up. Kudos to you! I can’t help but thnk that your Dad would be tremendously proud of you.

  2. JD Bowen says:

    You are completely correct. Sometimes it’s a sea of rage. As someone who stands for what the Tea Party stands for, I can tell you they don’t hate you, (less a few nuts, like in every group) they a blame you, you and all other liberals that they think put us all in this position. I think some of the rage comes from how the Tea Party has been treated and called racists and every other name in the book by orgs like MSNBC. So yes, they are hurting and they have had a bad time lately, but it’s no excuse for rudeness and I would like to apologize for the ones who showed you disrespect. I am truly sorry, because the majority if us are good, Christian neighborly people who would help you before they would ever hurt you. I know it’s no easier to swallow, but maybe understanding will help a bit. You father was a great man and you I’m sure are a great woman please just don’t label us all for a few who are out of line. Thanks!

  3. Marc Hoover says:

    Patti,
    In the past I’ve compared you to a modern-day Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She didn’t gave a damn what people said about her but that was long before social media when you have no idea whether you’re dealing with (going back to your example of your father at the ice cream stand) someone who has had a bad day, is bored, is replying anonymously and feels somehow “emboldened” communicating that way with the daughter of a former president OR is someone who could be a potential threat.
    I remember being intrigued by your health insurance tweet at the time and later became aware of some of the “outcome.” Why you should be expected to speak for your father or mother or brothers or cousins is beyond me. Why people who vote for “Presidential Candidate X” should be expected to support every thing he or she does after (if) they’re elected is another concept I have difficulty grasping. In another post on your site I believe that I’ve mentioned in another post on your site that in 2012 I voted against the presidential candidate I was delighted to vote for in 2008.
    President Eisenhower’s son John, who died last month, supported John Kerry in 2004 and I know at least one of his daughters (if not Mr. Eisenhower himself) supported Obama in 2008. Theodore Roosevelt’s children weren’t always terribly supportive of his brother’s daughter Eleanor and her husband Franklin. Not everyone agrees with everyone in their family all the time, presidential or otherwise. Are we to assume that people who chastise you for “not listening to your father” always listened to each and every thing THEIR fathers said, and acted accordingly (and that’s assuming they have a basis for saying that in the first place)?
    I don’t know what the problem with a response along the lines of I disagree with you vehemently and here’s why … comments like those you’ve mentioned (abortion, suicide) can only (in my opinion) come from people who are, to some degree, sick.

    Best wishes

  4. How sad… Have they not read to learn of their own destinies they are creating along with atonement and lack of feeling for our fellowmen? For in many of scriptures and most cultural moral fundamentals – kindness and love is suggested to bring a happy life. What a sign of the times for we are long overdo in a world with surmounting Debt’s for which the Maker will have us pay. And so to add to your fathers message; say an extra prayer for them for they know not what they do… Peace Be With You ~

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