The response that Republicans actually deserved
Many of you probably saw snippets of the Republican hearings on the conduct of the Twitter corporation’s allegedly “illegal” ban on hate speech. The intent of that idiotic waste of taxpayer money was to excoriate the old Twitter executives that ran the company prior to the the Elon Musk takeover. It included performatively vicious attacks on former Twitter executives for “daring to suppress the free speech” of various Republican committee members.
Lauren Boebert was one such Republican committee member who was filled with ersatz indignation. She had a giant poster board visual aid of one of her tweets on display. She clamorously importuned the former Twitter execs to tell her why her tweet had been banned. The tweet read: “Hillary must be pissed that it took the DNC until 2020 to successfully rig an election.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene was also similarly spuriously livid. She wanted to know where the Twitter executives got the gall to dare to ban her support of ivermectin as a “legitimate” alternative to the Covid vaccine.
For Boebert, Twitter execs carefully explained why her tweet had been banned. They deferentially reminded her that she’d been warned several times about spreading the Big Lie. For MJT they likewise reminded her that she’d been repeatedly told that spreading false information about Covid-19 was disallowed by Twitter’s terms of service, and that she left them no choice but to ban her tweet after repeated warnings.
In both cases, the Twitter executives’ thoughtful and reasoned responses were well-received by the viewing public and cast those two sanctimonious idiots — and the whole absurd proceeding — in a very bad light.
Nevertheless, I think Twitter got it wrong. Here’s what I think they should have done. Here’s what I would have said had I been a former Twitter executive hauled before Congress for this ridiculous charade, this kangaroo court.
“First of all, ‘Congresswoman,’” I would have begun, “who the hell are you to drag me in here and dare to tell me how to run my business? I run my business the way I see fit, and as long as I’m doing it within the law it’s none of your damned affair.
“As far as I’m concerned, and as far as you deserve to know, we banned you because we felt like it. We banned you because it was Tuesday. That’s why. If you don’t like it you can jolly well take your business somewhere else. But I don’t make my boardroom decisions based on what will make you happy, and I certainly don’t have to tell you why I make those decisions. How dare you even ask?
What’s more, I don’t give a bleeding crap about you or what makes you happy. The law says I don’t have to, and there isn’t an effing thing you can do about it.
“And let me tell you something else, ‘Congresswoman,’ I hate to be the one to school you about your job or instruct you on how the Constitution of the United States ACTUALLY works, but my banning you was NOT a violation of your Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.
The First Amendment actually says — if you could ever be bothered to read the sacred document that you swore an oath to pretend to protect and defend — that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’
“That’s it. So if you love free speech, don’t make any laws prohibiting it. But stay the hell out of my company, my business and my life. I don’t see you getting upset about Fox News or OAN or Newsmax, or Truth Social for that matter, or any other entities who blithely ban speech that goes against their rules.
“It seems to me, ‘Congresswoman,’ that you actually hate free speech. You want free speech all to yourself, of course, but you don’t want anyone else to have it. You don’t want anyone who has an opinion different from yours to express that opinion. Well I’ve got some news for you. I’m going to continue to express myself as I please, I’m going to continue to run my business within the law as I please, and if you don’t like it you can go straight to hell.”
At that point I would have gotten up and stormed the hell out of there, slamming the door behind me. That’s what the Twitter execs should have done. That’s what I would have said. And I wouldn’t have let them stop me, because I can shout louder than MJT or Boebert when I’m mad.
Because unlike theirs, my anger isn’t counterfeit, it’s real, and I am sick and tired of these idiots setting the narrative and treating their phoney, made up rules like they’re part of the Constitution or part of what America is really about. To hell with them, to hell with their make-believe victimhood and to hell with their phoney outrage. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.