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If you were interested in reading the US President’s statements on a shooting involving US Congressmen yesterday, chances are you went to Twitter first.
Of course, you likely got just what you’d expected: a half-hearted tweet by Donald Trump that promised only ‘thoughts and prayers’ followed by a barrage of partisan views chucking useless words at a brick wall.
This activity — of checking, of regretting, of burying your phone beside an old oak tree — has become near routine.
It’s like a recurring nightmare or a stint in a hell — except this time, Satan has upped the ante. Because yesterday was also Donald Trump’s birthday.
This meant that, when heading over to @realDonaldTrump to see how the President of the United States handled this politically charged shooting, citizens of the world were met with celebratory balloons floating whimsically over his words.
It was like decorating your house for a party only to get the call from your mom that democracy has been in a really bad car accident. You hang up, saying you’ll get to the hospital as soon as you can, but you’re left paralyzed, staring at the cake-flavoured vodka in contempt.
US President Donald Trump celebrated his birthday yesterday, but it was marred by an incident of gun violence in Virginia
But that analogy only works if we immediately head out to make sure democracy is okay before coming home and packing everything away.
Twitter would be too kind to pack away its cheer for us. So every time we refreshed the page for an update from one of the most powerful men in the world, we were hit by another surreal onslaught of revelry.
There are going to be many thinkpieces about what happened yesterday. People are going to critique gun control laws, Democrats, Republicans, the President himself. Some will have valid points, and others not so much.
But keep the memory of these balloons in the back of your mind. Because how we’re having to parse serious information isn’t normal anymore. None of it is normal.
I’m going to be using this image to step back when social media politics gets overwhelming, and I welcome any and all to do the same with me.