Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey used to refer to his Twitter platform as a “public square” or “digital public square.”
The public square in America likely originated in British colonial village squares of New England, a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States.
Pamphlets and newspapers that advocated independence and end of British colonial rule were the platform for communication in the public squares.
Social media has created a global village interconnecting individuals, groups, societies and nations in an electronic network of information and media technologies.
Unlike any other country in the world, the digital/public square in America is governed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which provides in sweeping, unambiguous and crystal-clear language: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
The Founders meant business: No law can be made to restrict speech or the press. Period!
Congress over the last two centuries has attempted to regulate speech and the press by enacting laws but it has largely failed because of the high and nearly insurmountable constitutional tests the US Supreme Court has established for permissible government regulation.
The right to criticize government is an American birthright that has lasted 231 years and is still going strong.
In my view, the First Amendment is what makes America First among nations, not its guns, tanks, warplanes and nuclear bombs.
The First Amendment is alive and well because there are armies of constitutional lawyers throughout the land who stand sentry around it 24/7/365.
We have much to thank the Framers of the US Constitution for the gift of the First Amendment despite their original sin in not abolishing slavery and enfranchising women at the creation of the Republic.
No person tutored in the majestic principles and ideas of the US Constitution can deny the fact that it is document of unparalleled genius.
I used to believe that America is justified in imposing its values of freedom and traditions of civil liberties on the world because I had such deep faith in the sanctity of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I no longer hold such beliefs because I have concluded that would be tantamount to “constitutional imperialism.”
We can inspire but have no right to impose our empire.
The digital public square has been the great equalizer in American society.
The little people and the little guy can stand up to big government and express their grievances secure in the protective armor of the First Amendment.
In the digital public square, the little people and little guys can exercise their First Amendment rights and hold the mighty and powerful to account for their actions and demand transparency.
That is what I do with my “Twitter Droppings.”
The tag line “twitter droppings” is a word play on the title of George Carlin’s book, “Brain Droppings,” which contains Carlin’s “notions, doubts, opinions, questions, thoughts, beliefs, assertions, assumptions, and jokes.”
Carlin in my view was the singularly most important, influential and incisively witted stand-up comedian of all time in America.
While I have no comedic aspirations, I enjoy using the social media public square to preach my truth to power and keep them honest.
My tweeter droppings cover the gamut.
Some say my tweets are caustic, jarring, audacious, irreverent and unforgiving.
Other say they are personal, prosecutorial and relentless.
There those who say my tweets buzz saw my foes and fortify my friends.
There are those who appreciate my attempts at satire, humor, puns and double entendres.
The fact of the matter is that I regard the digital/public square as a battle ground of ideas as well as a marketplace of ideas.
It is a battleground for winning hearts and minds.
It is a marketplace of ideas because the “truth” will emerge from the competition and clash of ideas in robust public discourse and debate.
These are endless battles fought in bite size words and images fit for a global audience with the attention span of a gnat.
Retired Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (who was kind enough to give a lecture to one of my constitutional law classes) in a 2002 free speech case wrote:
The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.
Let us use the digital/public square to think logically, rationally, critically and factually.
Let us use the digital/public square as a furnace of truth and crucible for democratic ideas and ideals.
Let us use the digital/public square to promote and defend freedom, equality and justice among individuals and nations.
Let’s THINK before we TWEET!
Enjoy… if you can.
To all who suggested I gather my tweets and make them available in one place on a regular basis, many thanks!
Twitter Droppings 7 23 to 7 29 2022