Twitter, the revolutionary web tool that I frequently use to let friends and colleagues know precisely where I will be getting soused on any given night, has apparently been discovered by our Members of Congress. And the world will
never always be the same, because it's only provided another medium by which your elected representatives may make LOUD NOISES at one another, leading to the events of today, the Federal Government's first full-blown Twitter fight.
This all began, apparently, back on May 26, when Representative John Culberson (R-TX) posted, "I just learned how to Twitter!!" And he's been at it ever since, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Ellen Miller, who said Culberson was a "member of Congress who understands what's happening on the Web today." Sure, he does!
Not long after, Culberson was joined by colleague Tim Ryan (D-OH), who announced today, "I am getting ready to Twitter from the House floor." But was Ryan's heart in it? After all, he did not, as Culberson did, include the requisite pair of exclamation marks to signal his enthusiasm!!
As it turns out, his heart was in it, and before long, the two men were busy, tweeting each other a new one. You can follow the exchange here, if you like, and thrill to them yelling about ANWR, bragging about their exploits, issuing snarky commentary, all while a nation of Twits looks on and gawks, or adds their own noise. I especially love the portion of this exchange where Culberson types - over and over again - "I understand my Dem colleague Tim Ryan says here he opposes ANWR drilling because it will only reduce gas prices by 2 cents - it will be." He's run up against Twitter's 140-character limitation, but he's not going to let that stop him!
Now, we're somewhere at T-minus-very-soon before someone breathlessly writes something to the effect that this is awesome and democratic and a positive trend because it increases access and transparency and gives the average citizen an intimate look into the world of lawmaking. I say: Balderdash! This terrifying new development combines the absolute worst things about American politics - the sniping, the talking past of issues, the lack of substance, the activity masquerading as achievement - with the worst things about the internet - the time wasting, the elevation of the peanut gallery, the oversharing, the activity masquerading as achievement.
Basically, what this Twitter exchange proves is that if you give your public servants the medium and the opportunity, this is all they would do, all day long. And for what? At least that infinite number of monkeys banging away at their infinite number of typewriters aspire to write Hamlet.
I guess this is just my way of saying that the world was a much better place before any of us were born, and these people would - like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr - simply go outside and shoot each other in the face, the end.
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