Context, perspective, and yes, even a little “shade.”
Every Friday, I take a look back at the week that was, mostly as seen through my Twitter feed:
As May slides into June, the end of the academic year is here —and with it, graduations. Last Friday I wanted to send some more graduation cheer by re-sharing a tweet that led to hundreds of you sharing graduation stories. I felt it would be a happy way to kick off the weekend and highlight hope for the future. If you haven’t already, give the graduate in your life a shout-out here.
I had hoped for a a peaceful Saturday but was interrupted by news that made me do a double-take. It seems that “Kremlin Cruz” had stuck again. It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time the junior senator from Texas has promoted and endorsed Russian propaganda in order to advance his own agenda.
Just jumping on this website again today to see if anyone who swore an oath to the U. S. Constitution is back at it pushing Kremlin propaganda.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 22, 2021
This worrying trend reminds me of advice often offered to schoolchildren: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’d like to offer an adaptation: If you can’t make your point without echoing foreign propaganda or misinformation… then maybe keep your mouth shut and your twitter thumb in your pocket.
Jokes (or shade…) aside, on a more serious note, news of Russian influence continued through the weekend. On Sunday, a Ryanair flight traveling from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania was diverted under the ruse of a bomb threat and forced to land in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Why? To detain Belarusian activist and dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich, who was one of the passengers onboard. The forced landing ordered by President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus, is seen by the international community as a “state hijacking” and there are legitimate fears that Protasevich’s life is in grave danger. If you ask President Vladimir Putin of Russia, however, it was a “brilliant special operation.” This provides a reminder that the values of freedom of the press and political dissent need to be defended.
This is an outrage. The international community needs to take a major stand in opposition to this thuggery that is aided and abetted by Putin. https://t.co/c393AGARPF— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 24, 2021
Another value that needs to be defended is the truth. The poison of the Big Lie continues to spread through our body politic. The latest threat? Republican politicians who sought to discredit the legitimacy of the 2020 election results are now running to become election officials in many key swing states. We cannot allow these politicians to lie, and then in that same breath use that lie to stifle democracy.
A grave and growing threat. This cannot be treated as politics as usual. https://t.co/dNgJA630DG— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 24, 2021
Voter suppression is both a historical and present-day problem in the United States. So it’s too bad that many Republican politicians lack a clear grasp of the past and the present. Take Florida governor Ron DeSantis or Trump. Apparently fulfilling their job responsibilities and having an understanding of history is one task too many.
For all of you who came to Twitter to give Ron DeSantis a hard time for referring to Ayatollah Khomeini in the present tense, remember Donald Trump did the same for Frederick Douglass.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 25, 2021
Tuesday brought a somber and solemn occasion: the one year anniversary of the death of George Floyd. There are not enough words to express the depth of emotion after a loss of life. All we can do is try to honor Floyd’s life and dismantle the systemic injustices that contributed to his death.
One year...— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 25, 2021
Let us not forget about the man for the movement.
George Floyd mattered. His life mattered. His family matters. His community matters.
May we work to make the world a better and more just place... honoring those who are no longer here with us.
My thoughts are with the Floyd family. And when I saw this photograph, I was moved by all it captured and the echoes across history.
What a photograph. https://t.co/EB6JlKQpbT— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 26, 2021
A feeling of thoughtful reflection carried over to the middle of the week. On Wednesday, I found myself taking stock of the state of the country. It is true we are divided, and have been in the past, but lately the stakes of that division grow ever larger. There is no shortage of topics on which we can respectfully disagree but reality should not be one of them. Two plus two equals four. Water does not run uphill. Joe Biden won the 2020 election. Facts shouldn’t need debate.
The reality is we have a sharp partisan divide in this country. And that divide is largely over reality.— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 26, 2021
But if you want something to talk about, or if you’re in need of something to read, look no further than Ellen Barry. Her piece in the New York Times on Thursday is worth the time. A sad and beautiful story about a farmer, his community, change, loss, and a love of the land. There is a lot to like on a communication platform like Twitter, but longer-form journalism like this is without parallel in my book.
Well that’s a walk through some of the week as I saw it. Have a great weekend.