Ramona's Bird Cage: News from the Twitterverse - This Week I Needed Twitter

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Ramona's Bird Cage: News from the Twitterverse - This Week I Needed Twitter
By Ramona Grigg • Issue #11 • View online
Hello again and thanks for reading. If you like what you see here, please subscribe to receive future newsletters. As you may have noticed, I don’t keep a newsletter schedule–I post whenever something moves me.
My way of telling you I won’t be a pest.

That day we all panicked.
That day we all panicked.
One day last week (or was it this week?) Twitter decided to take a nap. It was nodding off for a while, then shaking awake as if nothing had happened, but then it went fast asleep. I don’t know if it did for everyone, but it did for me. I thought I could hear snoring.
I felt lonely. Bereft. Foolish. I mean, it was just Twitter! It’s not as if there isn’t something else out there to occupy my time. For sure…
But it came back. All was well.
It could be that in any other week it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but last week was the ultimate for a lot of us at Twitter. It was the week of the Derek Chauvin trial, and, while every network had the good sense to broadcast the trial live (thank you, networks), none of them provided on-the-spot commentary like Twitter did. Around the clock.
The trial began on Monday, March 29 and was expected to last about a month. The jury verdict came in on Tuesday, April 20.
The prosecution spent much of their time presenting the obvious: Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by crushing his windpipe with his knee for nine excruciating minutes and 28 seconds. We know this down to the last second because a brave teenager named Darnella Frazier, 17 at the time, kept her cell phone camera rolling. As a result, we’ve been able to witness every second of it. The prosecution, it turned out, was simply killing time by bringing on the experts who could only corroborate what they had seen along with the rest of us.
The defense, on the other hand, had nothing and nothing is what they went with. They pretended Chauvin was following protocol. The prosecution brought in police department experts who said he definitely wasn’t. They showed evidence that George Floyd had certain substances in his system, that he had heart problems, that he was struggling when he didn’t need to. And all of that so-called ‘evidence’ was pounded into dust when the prosecution came back, time and time again, with the only incontrovertible fact worth uttering: that Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck long after Floyd had stopped struggling and was incapacitated to the point where he was longer be a threat to anybody.
On Tuesday, April 20, after less than 24 hours, the jury came back with a guilty verdict on all three counts–second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. GUILTY. GUILTY. GUILTY. And Twitter could breathe again.
NPR
Scenes of joy and relief erupted across the country after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder in the death of George Floyd. "Finally, some little piece of justice," B.J. Wilder of Minneapolis said.
https://t.co/ZUealT3mcL
But something else happened before the verdict came in. While the prosecution and the defense where presenting their final arguments, Rep. Maxine Waters (‘Auntie Maxine’ to those of us who love her) spoke at a protest rally at Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, near the very spot where George Floyd breathed his last. This fromCNN Politics:
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice,” she added.
Asked what protesters should do if there is no guilty verdict, Waters said protests should continue.
“We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” she said.
Asked about the curfew put in place, Waters said, “I don’t think anything about curfew. Curfew means I want you all to stop talking. I want you to stop meeting. I want you to stop gathering. I don’t agree with that.”
Well, the anti-Aunties went nuts. It was if she had called for an insurrection–or worse.
So yesterday Rep. Waters felt the need to write an Op-Ed that would explain why she said what she said. (And why the nay-sayers should just shut up about it.)
I’m ashamed to say when the news came out on Monday about what she said at the rally, I responded like this:
Ramona Grigg
@joanwalsh @GreysABC As much as I love Auntie Maxine and will almost always stand by her, it was a mistake to say what she did about the Chauvin trial.
I'm glad the judge didn't see it as cause for mistrial but there were a few scary moments there.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is what happens when I respond without thinking it through. This was before the verdict, when I was still a nervous wreck, when I didn’t trust the judge as far as I could throw him, but it’s no excuse. I wrote this later, in response to Noah Rothman’s piece about her:
Ramona Grigg
What a silly piece of nonsense. Really, @MSNBC, THIS is the story you're going to push today on social media?
If you can't understand Maxine Waters' pain and passion right now, you should probably just stay out of it. https://t.co/8tztC6zROl
And there it is: “Maxine Waters’ pain and passion”.
The thing I love most about Maxine Waters is her raw, honest passion. Why on earth would I EVER want to muzzle her? She’s been a representative serving the state of California since 1991. She and I are just over a year apart in age. I’m older by 11 months, and I marvel at her commitment, at her energy. She is THERE for her people and for everyone else’s. She FEELS it. She gets emotional. And the truth is, for all her passion, she has lost far more battles than she ever won. Still, she persists.
The gross, prolonged death of George Floyd set us all on edge. The trial came almost a year after his murder and mere months after an insurrection attempt on our Capitol building, where Maxine Waters and so many others were put in the kind of danger we could never have imagined before Donald Trump and the rise of his MAGA cult.
Since George Floyd’s death there have been many more instances of black and brown men and women under attack and too often dying at the hands of the police. We watch them and weep. Maxine watches them and agonizes over the truth that she, with all her will, with all her power, can do nothing to stop them.
The news came last week of the death of Daunte Wright, a 22 year old Black man who died after being shot in the chest, point-blank, WHILE SITTING IN HIS CAR. His murderer, a white policewoman, claimed she grabbed the wrong weapon; she meant to grab her taser instead of her GLOCK. But why would she be tasing a man sitting in his car? What threat was he beyond being Black?
Daunte had a small child. He was loved. His family is drowning in sorrow and rage, And Auntie Maxine is right there with them.
Her rallying cry at the Brooklyn Center protest echoes her frustration. Of COURSE she’s furious. Of COURSE she’s looking for answers. And OF COURSE she’s going to recruit an army of equally angry, equally frustrated citizens to force the government to take action–the actions they should have been using for decades to end this long-time, festering police problem.
Nowhere does she call for violence. Nobody heard that in her words except those who fear her. Yes, fear her. Auntie Maxine is a force. She does not beg. She does not cajole. She demands. And those of us who follow her Twitter are ever grateful she’s on our side. She’s not going anywhere and neither are we. The fight goes on.
___________________
Before I go I want to say goodbye to Walter Mondale, the man-who-should-have-been-president. He lived to be 93 years old, a statesman to the end. When asked, in 2014, “What is the good fight you would want to be remembered for?” he responded:
“I’ve tried to be an apostle for social justice and decency. I’ve tried to be one of those leaders in our nation’s history that’s tried to tilt the scales towards fairness and openness. That’s what my life’s been about. I want people to feel wanted. I want them to feel that they are needed, and I want them to feel that in America, to be treated fairly.”
RIP, Fritz Mondale. May we finally recognize and acknowledge the nation’s good guys and give them the respect they deserve.
Jack Smith - Associated Press file
Jack Smith - Associated Press file
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Until next time then. You know where to find me.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ramona Grigg

Writer of things, mainly essays. Contributor at Medium, Crooks & Liars, Huffington Post, Substack, others. I spend an unusual amount of time on Twitter, so thought I'd share some of what I find. Leaning Liberal/Democratic. Hater of most memes and GIFs. Love Twitter, warts and all. (Click on 'Issues' tab below to enter.)

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