‘Don’t trust Trump’s tweets about nuclear weapons. Watch his actions, instead.’
Someone said this on Medium recently. But I post it not so much for the point at hand, no matter how well-taken, but the broader wisdom. Don’t trust Trump’s tweets at all. In my quest for effective mass resistance actions we can begin to take, I know that we should largely focus on social action to support the less fortunate who will suffer disproportionately from the devastation he and his minions will wreak, but I am not above striking out to diminish and undercut his egotistical preening more directly. I would propose that all reasonable people, and news agencies in particular, completely unfollow him on Twitter right now. (Me, I never followed him in the first place.)
His feed exists for several reasons, none of them worthy of our cooperation or participation. I know it seems counterintuitive, since he is the POTUS, but he needs to be ignored as much as possible for our sanity. Ignoring his tweets deprives him of the egotistical joy of the gaze he so craves and by which he is sustained. Unfollowing him en masse would undercut his self-serving legitimization. This is a man who exists in the delusional certainty that we cannot but be impressed by and admiring of him. Imagine the impotence of endlessly bloviating into the void with no impact. Consider the part his Twitter presence — he calls it “the real Donald Trump” — may be playing in stopping him from feeling unreal, and stop colluding in this manipulation. Trying to feel as if he exists is why this pitiful contemptible man sought the Presidency at all.
Of course, we tried something similar by denying him the popular vote in the election, but this might be a step in recovering from that failure. Since the election, some incredible proportion of his supporters apparently believe that he won the vote, facts, numbers and statistics to the contrary. Will they similarly assert that ‘everyone’ follows the Donald on Twitter, in the face of plummeting numbers to the contrary? I don’t know; I doubt many of them are on Twitter at all.
You already know there is no reasoning with the man or his followers. He, and they, do not live in consensus reality. So give up on the misbegotten notion that discourse on social media can be a rationalizing, civilizing, democratizing influence in this case. You can’t talk across this gulf, so don’t let him operate on the insulting and dangerous assumption that he is doing so.
For that matter, do what you can to be sure that the ratings of his reality TV shows nosedive, in case that should matter. And if there is any way that a consumer boycott of Trump-related businesses could have an impact on the P & L figures, we must go for that as well.
Perhaps most important, as the Medium post suggests, his Twitter feed exists solely to obfuscate, diverting attention from his actions, the only standard by which he should be judged. The great and wonderful Oz, when unmasked, told us to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” The Donald, similarly, thinks his public pronouncements will effectively conceal the machinations behind the curtain. Don’t allow that. Everyone who follows him should unfollow him now.
[By the way, should anyone even go to his press conferences?]