Defining the Needs of the Moment

An article about something I learned in lecture that has changed my perspective on recent political events.


College lectures are normally designed for an easy way to get knowledge out fast to a group of over two hundred 18 to 22 year olds. However, I never thought it would be something I would hear in lecture that would change how I perceive the world and our ever changing government.


We currently have been experiencing the longest government shutdown in history, raising tensions on both sides while lowering pay for many federal workers. The more recent events that occurred have even further sent us into a tail spin as we have gone to blaming each other’s political beliefs in many of the events. Specifically, I am referring to the “MAGA-Hatted Teens Harass[ing] Native Americans at the Indigenous Peoples March in D.C.” as stated by GQ in an article from January 19, 2019.


From what I have perceived from this event, teens from Covington Catholic in Kentucky “harassed” several Native Americans in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I will not go any further into detail, as my opinion of this event does not matter. It is what came out of it that has inspired me to write this article.


I saw many interactions occur over Twitter, the “most credible source for receiving news.” What I saw shocked me, which was that many people were going to blame Covington Catholic, the teens involved, and the teens’ political views. But one interaction in particular shocked me the most.


@ItsAaronYaKnow tweeted: “A School shooting at Covington would be acceptable.”

 For context, it has been less than a year since the shooting in Parkland, FL.


@RyanAFournier, a Political Commentator, Analyst and Chairman of @TrumpStudents (according to his Twitter bio), went on to retweet with comment stating: “This is the left… disgusting and despicable. #CovingtonCatholic”

“Left” refers to a different political standpoint in government in comparison to “right”.

I scrolled through the comments of his tweets to see if anyone mentioned the unethicalness of intentionally blaming left sided views for such a comment. Then I found a response from @d_manwest stating: “It’s despicable, but this is not ‘the left.’ With respect, there are folks on the left & the right who make despicable comments or do despicable things. Let’s call out despicable acts by individuals when they come from people with differing or the same views as our own.”

Overall, I found that this interaction was handled very well but at the same time it made me think of what I had heard in my Survey of Art History Lecture. The professor, in our first days of the course, stated how most art was “a response to the needs of the moment.” I thought the same when thinking of the events happening amongst our current government chaos. When it comes to politics and especially “despicable” actions in politics, most people respond rashly and without thinking (much like @ItsAaronYaKnow’s original tweet). We are responding to the needs of the moment and to what we see fit in this time of government chaos. 


However, I think it is important to remember not to let our own beliefs get in the way of what is ethical. As I recently found out through my Communications course, under the “ethical criteria for persuasion” outlined by R. L. Johannesen, it states that we should “not use irrelevant appeals to divert attention or scrutiny from the issue at hand.” In this Twitter interaction, the issue is not whether the beliefs are “left” or “right”, it is whether what the original tweet is saying is ethical.


Regarding the context of the past year and all of what we are still going through, I would say it is most certainly not ethical. However, we shouldn’t let our beliefs get in the way of directly stating that.


As humans, reacting in the moment is what comes natural to us. However, even though we think of the needs of the moment, we must also think of the repercussions of our actions later on.


Much love and peace