Tom Daley
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Elon Musk's Twitter Will Amplify Hate Just in Time for Midterms

Former Pres. Donald Trump and Elon Musk

I’m very rarely on Twitter. I have an account, post my columns there, and then get out fast. I never liked it. I’ve always thought it was a big waste of time, and all I ever heard about Twitter was negative.

I, like most writers, reacted on occasion to the whack-a-doodle tweets by former President Donald Trump. When Trump was kicked off, I thought it was a decent move by the company. There must be some sort of rules and guidelines to follow on any social platform. Otherwise, it’s a wasteland of vile bile. We all know that Trump’s tweets were nothing but lies and illiteracy, they spread like wildfire, and some of his fecal discharge from Twitter was downright dangerous.

After he left, it was almost like a storm had passed. Suddenly, there was this big void of quiet, which was a welcome relief to most of us. For a moment, I was proud of Twitter. Then along came billionaire Elon Musk, who is bringing back those storm clouds and all that lightning and thunder. He said Tuesday that if his $44 billion buyout of Twitter goes through, he’ll bring back Trump. 

According to The New York Times, Musk called the decision to ban Mr. Trump “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.” He said individual posts to Twitter could be hidden and that individuals could still be temporarily suspended “if they say something that is illegal or otherwise just, you know, destructive to the world.” But he said that “permanent bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter.”

Does anyone see the irony in Musk referring to Trump’s ban as “morally wrong and flat-out stupid?” Trump was removed because his tweets were morally wrong and flat-out stupid.  And this is a perfect example of an old axiom that couldn’t be truer in this situation: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

The far right will rejoice to the heavens once its fearless leader returns to his former nest and tweets deafeningly with vulgarity. The voter base, and those like GOP U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Republican U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, and all the rest will climb aboard the Trump disgust train and join him in ripping apart transgender children, trans parents, gays, lesbians, two moms, two dads, gay marriage, LGBTQ+ discussions in school, and queer library books. They will also ramp up the cruelty on their favorite target, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.

And the hate machine on the right is licking its chops at a new target, the ascension of Karine Jean-Pierre as White House press secretary. Watch how hard and fast they come down on her. She’s Black, she’s a lesbian, and she’s a mom. And wait for it — she’s in a relationship with a CNN reporter. To add insult to injury, she has called Fox News “racist.” Jean-Pierre has more strikes against her than anyone else I can think of, and I am genuinely worried about what’s to come for her.

Well, for all of us, really. The irony here is that if the Musk deal goes through, it will dovetail nicely with the Republican right’s vindictive campaign strategy of demonizing our community. It was already happening, with the plethora of anti-trans and "don't say gay" legislation bubbling up. Yet for many, the fact that Trump was kicked off was a warning sign, so inevitably some toned down their tweets lest they be bumped off like Trump.

Now? Trump’s welcome back means it’s back to no-holds-barred tweeting. The one glove that was on will come off, and bare-knuckle brutality against the gays will ramp up fiercely. I was in conversation earlier today about evil blasts from the past like former GOP Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina and Rep. William Dannemeyer of California, to name a few. These homophobes despised our community and screamed detestation at us at the top of their lungs.

But these seem like simpler and quieter times.

From then to now, things only gotten louder and more verbose. Trump’s return and Musk possibly removing the guardrails will unleash hundreds of thousands of Helmses and Dannemeyers on the unplugged social platform. The advent of social media, particularly a platform that isn’t regulated, only means that abhorrence will win out over decency because revulsion is so much louder, so much more salacious, and by far more barbaric.

However, before we jump the gun about the morally offensive Trump returning to Twitter, there’s a chance he might say no, though I doubt it. Trump has started his own social media company, Truth Social, that according to a recent CNN article isn’t doing so well financially and otherwise. It’s a Twitter clone, and while Trump tweeted over 56,000 times on Twitter, he has only posted once on Truth Social. “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon." And that was back in February.

If a tree falls in the forest with no ears to hear, does it make a sound?

Trump has lots invested in Truth Social, so as the star attraction, if he falls for Twitter, will Truth Social make a sound? Or will Truth Social make any money, which is Trump’s raison d'être? Thus, Trump has a choice to make. Beef up his Twitter knockoff and try to cash in, or succumb to the need for attention and cash out?

Let's remember one thing: Trump has a history of walking away from deals and debts that he feels are losers, and then he lines up lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit to delay any and all of what he owes.

My guess is that his vanity will win out, and he’ll return to Twitter as a conquering hero, and you can be damn sure that the first few tweets from Trump will test Musk’s wish for unfiltered free speech.

Trump has been quiet for so long that he will go off like a Fourth of July grand finale. Trump tweets will cascade — that’s too nice — crap over the entire social platform. He’ll suck up all the air, offend anyone and everyone, and the only folks left on Twitter will be his acolytes.

Except for the Mitch McConnell wing of the Republican Party, which is mortified by Musk's move to reinstate Trump, because it puts their hopes for a midterm landslide at risk. Republicans are going to be forced to answer to every single one of Trump's wild written whims, just like in the old days, and as a result, they fear a catastrophe ahead. That's why they want him silent.

But he won't be quiet, since he knows that he is a media draw and that journalists and editors will sensationalize his tweets to gain audience share and eyeballs. Trump will be tweeting for the media's pleasure and to rile up his malicious MAGA base.

And all those bigoted people will egg each other on to throw rotten eggs at us. I’m getting off Twitter before I have any egg on my face before it all comes crashing down, and you should too.

If we’re not there to see or hear their vileness, will they make any sound?

John Casey is editor at large for The Advocate.

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