Millions of birds congregate on the telephone wires at the Belle Meade Shopping Center. We see them in the evening when we go to Las Maracas for dinner. They line up across three double spans of wire, birds so thick you can hardly see the wire. It’s an amazing sight.
I’ve tried to do a rough count, but it’s impossible. New groups fly in, and they disrupt the birds who sit and tweet. The noise is impressive, and a bit frightening. Why are they there? What are they saying to one another?
Some who are comfortably ensconced get up and leave their perches. Others refuse to be bumped off the wire. Scuffles break out. They scream at one another. You can stand in the parking area and listen to their angry tirades.
I was amazed at the Twitter chatter the morning after Joe Wilson’s infamous outburst during Obama’s speech. Then I read a Kathleen Parker editorial. Now, as never before, “the masses are technologically enabled, amplified by a twillion tweets,” she says.
That’s it. Everyone has a megaphone nowadays. Like those birds up on the wires, we can tweet and fly off and zoom back and demand a perch where none exists, and knock others off the wire to get what we want.
Parker goes on to say that intelligent debate is impossible when protests become babble, when hundreds, or thousands, are shouting, jostling, determined to be heard.
Joe Wilson, are you listening? Do you understand? Or are you too busy shouting?