Greta Thunberg. Anders Hellberg file

The toxic Twitter sewer reaches a new low

Occasionally I like to take a stroll through the toxic sewer we call Twitter, and every time, I walk away with a little less hope for mankind overall.

That was certainly the case this week as I watched adults on Twitter tearing apart a very brave young lady named Greta Thunberg.

Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old from Sweden who has become famous as a climate activist. Last Friday’s walkouts for climate change in Kimberley and Cranbrook, and across the world, began with Thunberg. This week she addressed the UN Climate Summit with an impassioned speech. “How dare you?” she asked world leaders, accusing them of doing less than the bare minimum to address climate change, and of instead, always chasing the dollar.

The backlash from the subset who refuse to believe climate change is real has been swift.

No less than the President of the United States has mocked her on Twitter. I shouldn’t say no less. Mocking people for conditions they have no control over is kind of Trump’s thing. In the ultimate irony, First Lady Melania Trump’s campaign is #BeBest, fighting against bullying. Excuse me while I chase my eyeballs, which are rolling across the office floor.

Fox News guest Michael Knowles called Greta “a mentally ill Swedish child”.

Another hack named Dinesh D’Souza tweeted that the 16-year-old’s lack of make up and distinctive hairstyle was akin to ‘an old Goebbels technique’ used in the 1930s. He tweeted: ‘Children—notably Nordic white girls with braids and red cheeks—were often used in Nazi propaganda. An old Goebbels technique!

Right wing pundit Laura Ingraham likened Greta to the Children of the Corn.

You see, it’s funny because Greta has Aspergers, a form of autism which… forget it. No, it’s not funny.

Climate change deniers are also accusing those who do believe climate change is an immediate concern, of “using” the young woman, of putting words in her mouth, as if she were not capable of having her own thoughts and opinions. They are only saying this, the tweets say, out of ‘concern’ for poor little Greta.

Spare me. Is that the best you’ve got?

This young woman is what many of us hope our daughters would become — strong and unafraid to speak out about an issue she believes in. She is to be admired and applauded.

But because some don’t agree with her, they decide to cut her down to their very low level.

Is this what we want to teach our children? That they should be afraid to speak up because the lowest of the low will try to shame them? That they shouldn’t have thoughts of their own?

Don’t have a cause. Just be quiet. Don’t make waves. Don’t fight against the entrenched. Just accept.

Wouldn’t the world be in a fine state if we all followed that philosophy? ….Oh, wait.

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