This Machine Killed Fascists

Rusty D. Pickens
7 min readDec 2, 2022

…but it’s time sign the DNR order for Twitter.

“They say America First but they mean America Next”

Woody Guthrie on the fascist America First threat to U.S. Democracy in the 1940s

I joined Twitter in 2008 during the run-up to the General Election. Our team on the Obama campaign was in the midst of setting records for grassroots fundraising via the web during those days — it all seems quaint now.

In the fallout surrounding Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the time has come to step away and let it die the death it’s headed for now under his watch after foolishly ignoring the lessons of this moment in human history.

So much of our time during the Obama administration was spent leaning-in to “digital” (we started out calling it New Media) with the simple aim of expanding the dialog for Americans and those interested in American values. We sought to create space and meet people where they were online. We crafted tools, platforms, and systems all designed to put the average U.S. citizen more in touch with the administration and bring awareness to the work we were doing on their behalf every day.

After eight busy years of expanding and painstakingly setting a bigger online table, we didn’t realize that we’d inadvertently set places for guests who were more interested in murdering half the dinner party instead of participating in civil discourse. Instead of bringing us together as we rather naively assumed it would, these digital tools also connect people wit old prejudices and beliefs that are best left disconnected from society altogether. This has been a hard truth to sit with in the intervening years.

From the moment @realDonaldTrump descended his gilded escalator, Twitter app in hand, we were doomed. Our information ecosystem and the average digital hygiene of everyday Americans was ill-equipped for a narcissistic liar who was willing to sell out every value Americans hold dear — including conspiracy with foreign nation-state actors to influence our election — in order to win the White House with help from our enemies and try to keep the White House through force.

Rusty D. Pickens

#Geek using my powers of technology for better government. Founder of @580Strategies - Former @ObamaWhiteHouse and @StateDept