Obama, the Pope, and Kesha: Responses to what’s trending on Twitter

By Joshua Tijerina

I have never been very good at following Twitter trends. While these subjects or hashtags are supposed to be the most popular conversations, the trending topics never seem to interest me. Last week was a little different. Three topics in Twitter’s top ten have real social importance, and I gained a little perspective investigating each trend.

President Obama really has a heart for children . . . once they are born

The top trend was #ObamaAndKids. Now, I thought that, perhaps, this was a deeper subject than just pictures and comments of President Obama with kids, but I was wrong. It is just pictures and comments of President Obama with kids. Nevertheless, I won’t say it wasn’t impactful. Not sure how the trend came about, but it certainly gives a different perspective of the President. It shows that President Obama really has a heart for children, but it’s fair to say this is true only for children once they are born — Obama is a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood and abortion. As such, the President seems to want to take pictures holding babies, but doesn’t care to ensure their right to be born.

My favorite image from #ObamaAndKids was an African-American boy who asked Obama if he and the President had the same hair, and the President allowed the boy to feel his hair. I couldn’t help but put myself in that little boy’s shoes and think how inspiring it would be to meet the president and be able to identify with him on such a personal level.

Some people might think that’s foolish. It’s not.

Every time I see another Hispanic succeed there is a sense of pride. For instance, I didn’t pull for the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, but Ron Rivera being the head coach in a Super Bowl was kind of a big deal for me. Moreover, having two Hispanics in the running for the Republican presidential nomination is huge.

The Pope scolds Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian”

Pope Francis was a trending topic based on his interaction with Donald Trump and his comments regarding immigration. There is probably some level of disagreement within Halcyon as to how immigration should be handled, but one thing we do not disagree on is the importance of human dignity — from conception to natural death. Whatever the solution is for illegal immigration, consistent with Pope Francis’ statements, it must be compassionate and recognize the dignity of all persons involved.

The Bible is very clear on the subject of how immigrants must be treated, and it is rooted deep within the Golden Rule. Time and again, God commands that we offer love and care for immigrants, as we are immigrants ourselves.

Court’s ruling in Kesha case sets society back about 100 years

#FreeKesha was, by far, the most disturbing topic trending on Twitter. I admit that legal matters are not always what the media reports, so I am offering my opinion based on what is being reported. Kesha asked the court to let her break her contract so that she would not have to work with her producer, Dr. Luke, who she alleged sexually assaulted her. The court ruled that Kesha must stay with Sony — the other party of Kesha’s contract. Sexual violence is no joke, and this decision seems archaic, representing the “old corporate world” model of unwanted sexual advances and abuse hidden within the hierarchy of the organization; a time when sexuality was expected to help women “climb the corporate ladder” and sex jokes were commonplace in the work environment. That model was wrong then, wrong now, and wrong for the future.

Halcyon recently published an article discussing the connections between pornography and sexual violence. In it, I assert our generation was “supposed to be the generation that brought about gender equality,” and it saddens me that in less than one week I have to write about the expansion of pornography and court orders that trap women in harmful situations. (I didn’t even write about the Peyton Manning controversy and the University of Tennessee’s cover-up in the alleged sexual harassment situation.)

Our world needs to be better about gender equality, and not that mishap version of feminism that has trapped women for last few decades in what Halcyon calls “the ultimate misogyny,” but a feminist movement built for the future:

“I think we have a third option for feminists. A camp of New Feminists who fight for women to be recognized for the beauty, importance, and power of their natural and unique roles in society.” — A Feminist Movement for the Future.

What’s trending on Twitter doesn’t always offer this level of cultural conversation. A quick check yesterday morning revealed that these three very important issues are no longer dominating the conversation, and have been replaced by #NationalMargaritaDay and #TheBachelor. So, while we sit down with our margaritas to watch The Bachelor, let’s try to remember that once the final rose has been handed out, the tears shed, and our glass empty there are really important issues that deserve our attention.