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thru the fire
In his Saturday article on The Federalist, David Marcus wrote that Jack Dorsey (founder and owner of Twitter) and his company are evil. He considers Dorsey “an enemy of the American people.” This attack is in response to Twitter’s permanent ban of President Trump, recent acts of censorship regarding The New York Post’s story on the Hunter Biden laptop and any dissent concerning Covid-19. He went on to claim that Dorsey has “blood dripping from his hands across the globe and here at home as he counts his billions.” (1)
This kind of lashing out is not helpful and labeling any person “an enemy of the people” is dangerous. Lenin used the phrase in 1917: “all leaders of the Constitutional Democratic Party, a party filled with enemies of the people, are hereby to be considered outlaws, and are to be arrested immediately and brought before the revolutionary court.” (2) Many of those “enemies of the people” as described by Lenin were executed or never again saw the light of day. Joseph Stalin later adopted the term during The Great Purge, a horrific political movement dedicated to eliminating dissenting members of the Communist Party and anyone else he considered a threat.
As Christians, we should seek a more forgiving and effective approach. It is reported that early in his first term, President Reagan told his staff not to use the term “enemy” when referring to those who disagreed with his administration. They should be considered “the opposition,” not “the enemy.”
Why the differentiation? Reagan understood that when you label a person an enemy, you demonize them, leaving no room for compromise, discussion, or way forward. He also understood that, like an opposing team on a football field, you could defeat the opposition without villainizing or demoralizing them. Most fisticuffs on the fields of competition begin when someone disrespects their opponent; anger-driven violence ensues. Defeating an opponent through fair competition is commendable. But showing-off and demeaning an opponent is disrespectful, much like the Democrats who want to impeach the President with so little time left in his term.
That is wrong and dehumanizing. The term “enemy” should be reserved for armed military conflicts. War! Having a difference of opinion is not war. There is a peaceful way forward with those who hold opposing ideas. Genuine efforts to see issues from all sides and healthy debate are respectful ways to come to a resolution.
Thanks, in part, to congress Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, and a handful of other tech titans wield a lot of power, have amassed great wealth, and are not accountable to anyone; as such, they are nearly untouchable. Attacking them as David Marcus did is ineffective. So, what CAN we do? How can Christians and conservatives push back against tech companies and their blatant censorship of the people?
First: We pray. We seek wisdom, knowing in advance that God will grant our sincere request.
Then we go to work with wisdom and humility.
We speak up! Ask questions of those who support censorship: companies and individuals who support Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others through advertising. Rather than boycotting those companies (which usually just hurts small businesses and employees), ask companies why they support platforms that oppose free speech and our rights as citizens of the United States with their advertising dollars. Take those questions directly to the top of corporations. Write to the CEOs and the board members. Inundate them with emails, phone calls, and social media messages, and they will be forced to respond. Why should we do this?
In November, a hundred American business leaders signed a letter urging the President to concede the 2020 election. At the same time, mistrust of a free and fair election was at an all-time high. Since then, some of these business leaders have suggested that the former Trump administration should not be eligible for hire. Keep in mind, those who served the President served the country. As individuals, the business leaders have every right to sign the letter opposing the President. As leaders of their companies who claim they reflect political diversity, my response is, “stay in your lane!” I did not vote for you; I did not elect you. The President had every right to contest the election under the law, and either we are a nation of laws, or we’re not. The underlying message from businesses is, “we want to get back to business as usual; the sooner, the better for our profits.” And that is the crucial idea you need to take away.
Corporations are profit-driven. They do not like unwanted publicity, controversy, or bad public relations. Controversy hurts their stock prices. Because CEOs are accountable to their board of directors, when the board hears from YOU, and they keep hearing from you in a persistent drumbeat, questioning their stance on free speech and democracy in a reasoned, non-threatening manner, they will want the controversy to end. Pronto!
What happens after that will be a domino effect. Boards will require CEOs to make changes. Their support of controversial platforms will end. Those unelected CEOs will learn a valuable lesson, return to running their corporations, and stay out of politics. Over time sliding profits and the shifting sands of politics will diminish even Jack Dorsey’s influence.
By that time, we will have other social media platforms to exercise our free speech, communicate with other like-minded people, and spread the Gospel.
(2) Werth, Nicolas; Bartošek, Karel; Panné, Jean-Louis; Margolin, Jean-Louis; Paczkowski, Andrzej; and Courtois, Stéphane (1999) The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-07608-7
Fred Zielonko, is the Executive Director of the Family Vision Media, a non-profit dedicated to equipping families to respond to today’s news, culture and politics from a Christian worldview.