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Facebook, Trump and the erosion of personal responsibility

The steady growth of the popularity of Facebook over the past ten years is testimony to the interest human beings have in “knowing” what’s going on in the world. Users of Facebook are able to “stay in touch” with friends and family in far-flung corners of the world. Grandmothers and grandfathers are able to see pictures of the grandkids in real time when they are too far away to visit in person. Organizations are able to stay in touch with their members and even churches use Facebook to provide an easy way for congregations to interact. What is the price?

As has been well-documented in the media, Facebook is perhaps the only public utility that has no regulation from Congress. Television, radio, even print media are limited in what they can publish by censorship rules and as a last resort, lawsuits from victims of libel or slander. Such cases have been successfully litigated by individuals and organizations, creating a legal precedent for such action when public media goes too far. Not so with Facebook. On any given day hate speech and outright false information is regularly published in the name of “free speech.” By the way, the Supreme Court ruled years ago that “free speech” has its limits when it compromises public or personal safety.

The lack of accountability or personal responsibility by the owner of Facebook is reminiscent of the way Donald J. Trump has chosen to occupy the office of President. Starting with his racial and culturally insensitive political campaign in 2016 when he “descended” the escalator to announce that he was “going to fix everything” through the myriad of mistakes, lies and outright incompetent management; Mr. Trump has demonstrated how he managed to go bankrupt multiple times. He doesn’t know how to accept responsibility and self-correct for his mistakes.

The election of 2016 was hopefully an aberration where many Americans, dissatisfied with the way government was or was not working decided to go with the guy who promised to “change it all.” Remember the “drain the swamp” tagline. Seems the swamp is a lot more “swampy” now with Trump in office. Even his most ardent supporters are beginning to see the light when they choose to stay home from his rally in Tulsa, Okla., recently. Even the ones who did attend appeared to be less interested in the tired lines and race-baiting comments that have been the consistent theme of Trump’s campaign speeches.

Americans are tired. Tired of the broken promises.

Tired of the inaction on critical health issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. Tired of the constant efforts to divide black and white, male and female, north and south, rich and poor.

Americans are smarter than a president who doesn’t seem to care that over 75% of Americans know first-hand that the coronavirus is real. Americans are tired of watching the circus that the Trump White House has been for the past three and one-half years. The polls tell a story of a president on the run from his presidency. No one will be more relieved when Joe Biden wins in November than Donald J. Trump. He clearly wants out.

Teresa R. Porter

Marietta

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