Imagine if you owned a building. Let’s say it’s the largest and best building and everyone wanted to gather there to meet with friends and organize groups. Let’s say it’s such a fantastic building that no other buildings can rival it.
Now imagine that in one of the rooms of the building a group regularly got together to exchange the most hateful ideas. Then one day you turn on the news. That same group is on the television attacking the legislative branch of the United States. It is destroying government property and committing acts of terror. The group chanted to execute the Vice President of the United States.
Five people died. It could have been worse. Greater crimes had been planned but fortunately were averted.
You make the decision to ban that group from ever meeting in your building again. You’re horrified that it was in this building the planning unfolded to unleash pure chaos and even murder. Your building was a central location to nurture the ideas that then became actualized.
Because your building is the biggest and it’s used by so many should you be disallowed from banning said group? Of course not.
Let’s imagine a media outlet spent days criticizing you for not allowing the group to meet at your building. That this decision somehow violated their right to meet. Let’s say this media outlet focused not on the murder and criminality resulting from the meetings but the “wrongness” of kicking out the group to discuss their vitriol and plan further violence.
The buildings are, you guessed it, Facebook and Twitter. The media outlet is Fox.
The events that unfolded at the capital were long in the making. They were based on ideas shared and expressed on the platforms Facebook and Twitter. They have every right to no longer offer their virtual space as a meeting ground.
As for Fox “news,” it is disgusting that their focus is on the power of these platforms as opposed to the violence and loss of life and attack on the very foundation of democracy. They refuse to examine the causal factors of January 6th (for example, Trump’s idiotic rhetoric of fighting to get your country back). It’s perhaps because they’d be guilty of being part of that causal factor, of openly spreading disinformation about the election, and allowing their audience to believe the election was stolen. Or, of allowing their audience to believe that a Biden/Harris administration is the death of freedom and the gateway to socialism.
I’m so completely sickened by the images of January 6th. I’m scared that I share a country with people who invest in white supremacy and have found a hobby in terror. The education in this country is meant to imbibe us with good citizens, not foster horrific notions that ultimately manifest in violence. Media literacy is desperately needed. Basic logic skills are desperately needed. Then let’s move on to literature and culture and open up the avenue of empathy and appreciation for the different viewpoints of Americans.
But first, we cannot forget that “free speech” is not absolute by a government and it is not bestowed by a company. A business cannot take away free speech.
Be mindful of the ideas you see exchanged and interrupt racism and misinformation when you can. That, I believe, is the justice one can offer in the aftermath of January 6th.