To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Guest Opinion published July 18, 2018, Siskiyou Daily News

Tweets happen.  We are bombarded with them.  Every day.  Every hour.   Every minute.  Every second.  You and I can launch one anytime we want.  Tweets are limited to 280 characters (It used to be 140).  Try to imagine the following, if they were tweeted:

June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill:

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall figh…”  oops

280 characters used up.  What happened to “we shall never surrender,” or “this was our darkest hour.”  Poof.  Disappeared into the Ethernet.

Or how about this?  November 19, 1863:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. W…”

Lost forever: “…these dead shall not have died in vain … this nation, under god, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

More:  July 4, 1776:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving thei… “

Sorry.  All 280 words are used up.  No room for the following:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

One more example, August 28, 1963:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…

“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day …”

No room for the rest of the sentence:  “…when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’”

Tweets are essentially sound-bites.  And it seems that these days sound-bites are pretty much all that most Americans receive in the way of information.  People don’t have the time or patience to pay attention to or listen to well-developed and beautifully-delivered ideas and concepts that could affect the survival of the world.

Sound-bite:  I really think Tweets suck.  I feel strongly about this.  And I’m going to exercise my First Amendment right and Tweet it out to the rest of the world.

Bob Kaster

Yreka, CA

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