Twitter, Our New Justice System

I’m a little concerned about our justice system. Or should I call it justice by Twitter? The Constitution no longer seems to be the law of the land. We’re becoming a society that gets news through sound bites, or even worse,  posts on social media. And when we demand action, it’s no longer in a court of law. We ban. We boycott. And we convict.

 

On social media.

 

The media, depending on which outlet, follows along.

 

I believe in the rights we are granted in this country, in the United States of America. I believe a person is innocent until proven guilty, even when in my heart of hearts I believe that someone is guilty.

 

The beauty of our justice system is that it’s not up to me. It’s not up to you. It’s not up to an angry mob on social media. It is up to a jury of their peers. Even when that’s bullshit.

 

Bill Cosby was locked up. Finally. But he was convicted after a trial. I always knew he was guilty, but, thankfully, it wasn’t my belief that is sending him to prison. As much as I wish I had that power, I am equally glad that I don’t.

 

I’m thankful I don’t because I’m grateful to live in a country where we have rights, where we are protected, even if it doesn’t always work the way that it should.

 

Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexually assaulting several women. Yes. I want to believe all women who come forward. I want the archaic way we treat victims of sexual assault to change.

 

Still, I cling to innocent until proven guilty. Maybe it protects the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, the Bill Cosbys, and maybe even the Brett Kavanaughs.

 

But it doesn’t just protect them. It protects all of us. From that angry mob on Twitter that can take the smallest thing and make it trend.

 

By the way, trending is not probable cause. Going viral is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt just as social media is not a court of law. Hopefully it will never be, although it seems as if we’re heading that way.

 

As someone with a story, I want to see victims feel safe in coming forward. I want victims to be believed, to not have to wait 30 something years to come forward.

 

I love social media. I love the voice it has provided for those who once had none. I love the way it connects people, especially people who once believed they were alone.

 

Still, I’m afraid. I’m afraid because I have sons and brothers. I have male friends, male students, a lot of males that I love. And I’m seeing a lot of posts, especially on Twitter, that blame all men for the actions of some. It seems to be a new narrative. If you’re male, you’re a pig.

 

I don’t believe that to be true.

 

We are creating another divide. That seems to be what we do. We’ve gotten very good at the whole us vs them thing, and depending on who us and who them is, it can be scary. Scary because social media can wreck you.

 

Social media is not our justice system. No matter how much we want to believe victims, how much we want change, we cannot let an angry mob on social media become our justice system.

 

We are better than that. I hope.
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