Tweeting Against Trump – The Perils, The Reasons & The Future
I began tweeting about Trump the day after he got elected. It was November 9th, 2016, I had recently had my first child and his future was my primary concern. I couldn’t imagine that a man who said and did the things that Trump did, could possibly win over the American people. I was right, but also very wrong. Although Trump lost the popular vote by approximately 3 million votes, he won the electoral college and officially became the president-elect on November 9th.
Before Trump, I may have sided with Democrats on most social issues, but I would actually have described myself as an independent. And although I voted for Hillary Clinton, I didn’t feel that she was the best candidate for the Democrats at the time. What I’m trying to say here is that I was anything but a far left political activist, and instead usually found myself in the middle on many issues.
As the days passed following Trump’s election victory, my brother Ed and I began tweeting more and more, mostly pertaining to our frustrations toward the system and our disgust in that a self-admitted “pu–y-grabber” was now going to be the leader of the free world.
We both quickly began garnering a following as our tweets went viral and so did the anti-Trump resistance movement. My goal of tweeting wasn’t to somehow miraculously turn back time and prevent Trump from getting inaugurated, but rather to forge a footprint that my children could look back on in 10, 20 or 30 years and see that I did not stand for this man, much less stand for him leading this great nation. History never looks back fondly on exclusion, bigotry, hate or selfishness. That drive to forge my footprint quickly turned into a desire to simply counter the lies that the president propagated to the American people almost daily.
The Threats & Lies
My brother Ed and I began replying to Mr. Trump’s tweets with comments of our own. As more and more Americans began retweeting us, I began to realize just how divided this nation had become. Instead of pushing back on my political statements and opinions, which I thought many with countering views would do, I instead found myself under attack. It was almost as if I was a foreign invader, trying to take the nation over, rather than an American looking to participate in an open dialogue with those who had countering opinions. I always made sure that my tweets were respectful, I rarely used foul language and I never blocked or personally attacked anyone for having a view counter to my own. I quickly found out that what one sows is not always what they reap.
By the end of 2017 I had close 300,000 followers, and Ed had over 500,000. Things seemed to be spiraling a bit out of our control. Daily I was either receiving threatening tweets, emails or threats via other social media platforms. One such threat warned that someone would be perched atop of a home or tree in my neighborhood with a sniper rifle ready to pick me off as I left my “home one fine morning”.
Threats turned into lies and lies turned into complete fabricated stories. Not only did people begin calling me a criminal and a George Soros operative, but the stories got longer and more convoluted as my following grew.
Russian bots actually began using our names to try and not only discredit us, but to sow division among those on the left as well. An account going by the name Jack Krassenstein was presented to Congress as part of a list of Russian operatives looking to influence American politics. Needless to say, there is no Jack Krassenstein. Things got so bad that I felt the need to dispel the myths with facts, by creating a fact check of my life and the rumors.
As 2018 began, I started to notice that as my tweets became more viral, the lies would only increase. What started out as claims that I ran ponzi schemes and “ripped off old ladies” (this is not at all true – Our business was investigated because we sold ads to a fraudulent organization 2 years ago, of which no charges were ever filed), quickly began turning towards sex. The stories were so disgusting that I have chosen not to go into detail here, but I can assure you that only someone with a sick mind could even think of such heinous ways to try and discredit someone whose opinion differs from theirs.
If someone attacks me, I either ignore their attack or if it is a threat/attack on my family I block them and report them to the authorities. I will never personally attack another individual on Twitter based on their political ideologies. I believe that the best way to unite this country is to participate in an open dialogue, free of personal attacks.
When I tweet, I always fact check, but after making 43,000 tweets I’m sure to get a few details incorrect every now and then. It is incredibly important to me to own my mistakes. If I screw something up I will admit it, correct it, and move on. If I tweet something that is taken out of context and offends someone, I will correct it, apologize and move on.
Why I Continue to Tweet:
It hasn’t been easy at all, but the benefit of my tweets, I believe, far outweigh the risks. The danger to our society may not come from Trump’s actions, many of which are blocked by our judiciary and soon will be blocked by a Democratic House, but rather by him skewing of the truth. We can not allow 40% of this nation to live in a world of alternate facts. Reality is reality no matter how you view it, but when the President tells over 5,000 lies in under 650 days and attacks some of our most sacred institutions, we need to be there to make sure his lies are countered with the facts.
What This All Will Accomplish:
I’ve said it earlier and I’ll say it again. Countering falsehoods with facts and getting those facts seen by a large portion of people reading the president’s tweets can never be a bad thing. If you see a blatant lie by the president, counter that lie with the truth and post links to references which back up that truth. We need to put a roadblock in the way of Trump’s propagation of lies, and the best roadblock to a lie is always the truth.
As the Mueller probe continues and more indictments are spawned from it, Trump will only further propagate alternate facts. Those in the media, those on social media and everyday Americans like you and I can be the ones to assure that these alternate facts stop at the White House door.