Imagine my surprise this morning when I looked at my computer screen and saw this:
On one hand, it seems like there is some trolling going on here. The structure of the tweet is very similar to what Donald Trump tweeted yesterday about stripping citizens of their citizenship for burning a flag.
And yet, the attitude of the person who created this tweet is scary, isn’t it? It’s fairly terrifying that someone with this attitude towards speech could get near the levers of power in this country. Not only is she talking about punishing speech that is protected under the Constitution, but the method of “punishment” she describes seems blatantly unconstitutional, especially when targeted towards a disfavored category of expression.
Trolling or not, the tweet reveals a mindset of someone who should not be president.
Whispered: Psssst. Come over here.
By now, all the Trumpers who never read anything past the first three paragraphs are gone, most likely to rant about Hillary’s tweet on Facebook. Meanwhile, I can let the rest of you in on the joke: there is some trolling going on here, but the perp isn’t Hillary Clinton . . . it’s me. You don’t have to “imagine my surprise” when I saw this tweet, because I felt no actual surprise. I first saw the tweet this morning after composing it on a site that allows you to generate fake tweets.
Yesterday I published a post that called Donald Trump a “dangerous demagogue” for posting this tweet:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
The reaction of many commenters was to shrug it off. Most of them dislike the speech in question anyway, and some are convinced that the Court should never have protected it to begin with — or, at the very least, that the minority had a good argument for wanting to ban it. And the punishment proposed by Trump convinced many that he was just “popping off” or trolling people. And even if he was serious, he could never get away with what he proposed. So therefore, the reaction was not “Mr. President-elect, please do not tweet blatantly unconstitutional proposals.” The reaction instead was: shut up, Patterico, with your whining about Trump!
This post, then, is a thought experiment designed to have people imagine their reaction if the candidate they love to hate made a similar tweet about speech.
After all, leftists dislike hate speech, especially racist hate speech. Many are convinced that the Court should never have protected it — or, at the very least, that the minority had a good argument for wanting to ban it. And “Hillary’s” proposal for 100% confiscation of wealth certainly could not be taken seriously.
So: if the tweet at the beginning of this post were real, it wouldn’t bother you. Right, guys?
By the way, I recognize that the sort of argument that I am making here convinces precisely nobody. There is not a single person who defends Trump for his tweet, gets upset about the fake Hillary tweet above, and then engages in some soul-searching about whether their inconsistent reaction results from hypocritical partisanship. Not one! In fact, most Trump defenders who made it this far in the post are now skipping the end to run and write their comments about how the Hillary tweet is totally different, proves absolutely nothing, and by the way Patterico is a big jerk and stupidhead.
So relax, Trump defenders. I’m not trying to change your mind. I’m just having a little fun tweaking you.
And anyway . . . are you sure the tweet isn’t real?