Before I get some of you really mad (Charles was frequently mad, but only occasionally “really mad” — a nerve-jangling concept with which I had not theretofore been familiar, may he rest in peace), let me share this, from the Guardian: “How Russia used social media to divide Americans.”
“Russian trolls and bots focused on controversial topics in an effort to stoke political division on an enormous scale – and it hasn’t stopped.”
We’re under attack, boys and girls —
. . . What has now been made clear is that Russian trolls and automated bots not only promoted explicitly pro-Donald Trump messaging, but also used social media to sow social divisions . . .
And, even more pertinently, it is clear that these interventions are continuing as Russian agents stoke division around such recent topics as white supremacist marches and NFL players taking a knee to protest police violence. . . .
. . . On Facebook alone, Russia-linked imposters had hundreds of millions of interactions with potential voters who believed they were interacting with fellow Americans, according to an estimate by Jonathan Albright of Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, who broke the story wide open with the publication of a trove of searchable data earlier this month. . . .
— and maybe if we can come to accept that, we can find common ground against a common enemy.
You know: the way the whole world might come together if we were suddenly attacked by space monsters.
Only here, we just need our fellow country-folk on the left and right to realize how much more unites than divides us . . . and that we’re being played by Vladimir Putin. (And that his biggest defender is Donald Trump.)
So read all about it. I hope it makes you mad.
But what will make some of you really mad is my plugging Hillary’s book, What Happened.
> Some of you hate her — whether for “policy” reasons (pro-choice, etc.); Trumped up reasons (amplified by Russian trolls); idealistic reasons (she’s a pragmatist in service of idealism*) . . . or simply because she “rubs you the wrong way.” (We’re human. We like who we like. We vote for the candidate we’d rather have a beer with. We wouldn’t choose a surgeon that way, but to some, the choice of a president seems less important.)
> Others of you adore her — or abide her — but are so shattered by what happened, you just want her to go away. It’s simply too painful to think about, or to hear her voice.
Yet I urge you to, anyway — whether with your eyeballs or her actual voice** — because she’s a brilliant woman who’s spent 50 years trying to help solve the problems we all face . . . with her writing informed by experience as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and a candidate who won more votes for president than anyone else, ever, save Barack Obama.
I promise you: Hillary has some interesting things to say. And, yes, we’d have been vastly better off if Putin had allowed her to serve.
*To such people, “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” whereas to others — Ralph Nader springs to mind on the left, the uncompromising Tea Party on the right — it is pragmatism and compromise that are the enemy, from which the ideal must be defended.
**17 hours, but 13.5 if you listen at 1.25x-speed as I do.