Oct 2012 29

by Rachel Allshiny

Like most people, I use my Twitter account in a variety of ways. I interact with my friends, share interesting parts of my day, report on protest actions I attend, and check for on-the-ground news from other parts of the country and world. I also follow a variety of politicians and aspiring politicians, despite my disenchantment with most who currently hold or seek to hold public office. It’s always useful to know what propaganda they are spreading.

When I received a direct message from Joe Biden last week, however, it didn’t feel like the personalized interaction I suspect his campaign had intended. It felt like an invasion of privacy. What was so compelling that he felt he had to reach out to me in the backwoods of Twitter, where I chat with my closest friends? Had he finally noticed that I’d been deleting his emails for the past year (and then some), to the point that now they automatically land in my spam folder? Had the President himself noticed this and asked his buddy to talk to me on his behalf? Y’know, to soften me up a little. Or maybe the Vice President just wanted to remind me that no form of “private” communication is truly private when it comes to the insidious reach of the government.

Whatever the reason, I was creeped out. Then I opened the message and read:

Oh! He just wanted me to use my loyal Twitter following to help get him re-elected. Well, when you put it that way…err…no…I REFUSE!

The following is my response, sent via Twitter to @JoeBiden and @Obama2012.

Dear @JoeBiden,

Thank you for your kind offer and for noting my influence on Twitter. I built that influence by encouraging critical thought and discourse in politics and all else. Therefore, I will be happy to retweet any @Obama2012 tweets on the following subjects.

1. The unconstitutional nature of indefinite detention of citizens under NDAA.

2. The number of civilian casualties caused by US drone attacks.

3. The immediate closure of our detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.

4. The need for ACTUAL energy independence, i.e. clean and renewable energy sources.

5. The importance of unions, including teachers’ unions, in securing workers’ rights.

6. The proper use of punctuation, even on Twitter (see previous item).

7. Working to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision re: Citizens United.

8. Addressing gender equality in terms beyond sexual, reproductive, or wages.

(More on 8: how insulting is it that even in discussions of equal rights we make women into sexual/reproduction objects.)

9. Making marriage available to all who seek it, regardless of the genders of those involved.

10. Single-payer healthcare.

11. Prosecuting war criminals for their crimes instead of whistleblowers for exposing them.

That’s a partial list, @JoeBiden. Please DM me again if @Obama2012 starts talking about any of those and I’ll be sure to follow/RT.


  1. […] Homeless A Likely Election Loser, No Matter Who Wins Occupy Wall Street Crowdsources Sandy Relief Don’t Make Me Block You, @JoeBiden Occupy LA First Anniversary Photo Essay The Story Of My #S17 Arrest by Occupy Photojournalist Julia […]