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Taken out of context, my "shaming" tweet looks like a horrible overreaction. And I agree! Shaming someone for a mild tweet about a historical analogy is just weird.

Look at the context and it makes more sense. Unfortunately, TFA left that context out. The context was:

a) Bob's attempt to deflect criticism of a child-separation policy, which is going to cause lasting harm to thousands of children, mostly by repeating right-wing pundits that were outright defending the policy.

b) Five hours of tweets before mine, most of which were people trying to engage in good faith with Bob and being ignored.

c) Bob's history of engaging in bad faith mockery of people who criticized his attitude towards women.

All that led to a situation where a) I wanted to tell Bob I agreed with people saying he was in the wrong; b) I felt every point I wanted to make had already been made by other people replying to Bob, who he had largely ignored; and c) I didn't want to engage in further discussion with Bob.

Finally: I'm not far-left, politically speaking. I'm registered independent and fairly centrist in terms of the historical American political spectrum. (That puts me on the right-wing/conservative side by European standards.) I believe in market-based solutions, personal freedom, and minimal regulation sufficient to counterbalance the wealthy and powerful.

I am also someone who sees racists, holocaust deniers, and overt Nazis coming out of the woodwork. In my home town of Portland, a very left-wing city, the Proud Boys (a white supremacist group) are inciting violence and beating people up [1]. Holocaust deniers and self-proclaimed Nazis are running for GOP office [2]. Lifelong Republican voices are abandoning the party [3].

I don't know what the best response to this is. I'm just somebody who's never gotten involved in politics before. To me, it seems like a situation where social norms [4] are breaking down--where, previously, racist views were something you hesitated to share in mixed company, now more and more people think it's okay.

In my mind, our country needs to reset social norms. Making it socially uncomfortable to deflect criticism of a cruel and unjust policy is one small step.

[1] https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/04/rauner-cruz-nazi-a...

[2] http://www.wweek.com/news/2018/06/30/portland-police-declare...

[3] https://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/george-will-leaves-go...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_norm

PS: I'm leaving for a vacation today, so I may not respond to replies.




James, this is totally a fair criticism. Sorry that I left out this information initially.

I've edited the article to reflect more of the context you've highlighted here.

It was cool to learn a little more about you and I respect your commitment to fighting against white supremacy, etc.

Hope we can still disagree respectfully. If there's anything else you feel was unfair, please let me know.


I think the only part of the situation I disagreed with was that you said you were there to shame him, rather than his actions or ideas (those to me are shameful and deserve to be called out). I'd probably also disagree with the approach of being willing to combat his ideas without a desire to engage in further discussion (what is the point of making a statement, whether a tweet, downvote, etc., with no desire to possibly influence their future choices? Chances are, it's meant to silence opposition, but not help improve things.)

But I don't think we should take it easy on the fact that Bob finds the real moral atrocity is political rhetoric in this situation. That's intellectually immature of him to not be able to see beyond what he finds to be hyperbolic rhetoric of one side and instead focus on the actual issue.

There could be more effective ways to engage him and his audience that doesn't instantly turn off their brains to opposing opinions, but I think shameful ideas should be called what they are.




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