The Magic of Twitter

Do saints walk among us?

There are a few people I studiously follow on Twitter. They are quite a disparate group.

Eric Feigl-Ding - epidemiologist and health economist.

Matt Zeller - cofounder of No One Left Behind, former Army captain.

Jose Andres - acclaimed Spanish chef, restaurateur, founder of World Central Kitchen.

Keith Olbermann - baseball savant, grumpy TV broadcaster and even grumpier political commentator (one might say curmudgeonly).

Marc E. Elias - attorney extraordinaire, founder of Democracy Docket.

Cori Bush - Freshman legislator from Missouri and no-holds-barred activist.

These are folks who come from very different backgrounds, wildly different experiences, and, yet, all strive each day to make the word a better, safer and more just place.

Eric Feigl-Ding has been my North Star throughout the Covid timeline. His frequent updates with explanation of the evolving scientific understanding of the virus have in equal parts scared the shit out of me, while at the same time counterintuitively calming me. He has made me feel that things will get better. The postings are dense for those without a scientific background like me. Yet well worth it.

Matt Zeller is an Afghanistan combat veteran, a former officer in the CIA. Also the only person in this group I know personally. He cofounded No One Left Behind. It provides emergency financial support as well as employment opportunities, even vehicles, to former Afghani and Iraqi interpreters who have resettled in the United States. Matt’s life was saved by his interpreter. Since leaving that country, he has advocated and struggled to make sure our obligations to these brave individuals are met.

Jose Andres is an acclaimed Spanish chef and restaurateur, co-founder of World Central Kitchen. WCK is the organization providing meals in the wake of disasters both natural and man-made. Their work centers on emergency food relief, but also works on food resilience programs. Using the power of food to empower communities and strengthen economies, they began their relief efforts following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Since then, they’ve come to the aid of people in Puerto Rico, Spain, Houston, even to the migrants who were camped under that bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

Keith Olbermann is a sports journalist and baseball savant. But more than that, he is a citizen of the world. Perhaps he is better known as an acerbic political commentator from his time on MSNBC and Current TV. Three Edward R. Murrow Awards belong to him; he’s created several blogs and web series doing groundbreaking journalism in their day. He uses his enormous social media platform less these days on political issues (don’t fear, there usually is one good bon mot a day), and more on the rescue of shelter dogs who are facing death “for no defensible reason”. Regularly helping to defray the cost of adoptions and medical procedures, he also regularly posts pictures of missing dogs and cats in New York neighborhoods.

Marc E. Elias is an election law attorney specializing in voter rights and redistricting, a man after my departed fathers’ heart. The founder of Democracy Docket, he coordinates the website focused on aforementioned voters’ rights as well as a broad swath of election litigation across the country. After the 2020 presidential election, Marc supervised the response to the dozens of lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign to overturn Biden’s win. Out of 65 cases, he won 64 of them. The only one he lost was that election monitors were allowed to move to 6 feet rather than 12. Currently, there are now dozens of Republican voter suppression laws to which he is responding.

Cori Bush is a registered nurse and Black Lives Matter activist who serves as the congresswoman in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District. Gaining the seat was not easy as she defeated a 10-term incumbent. She is the first African-American woman to ever serve in the House from Missouri. Bush has a long history of activism, representing those who are disenfranchised. stemming from her early experiences of homelessness and disparate substandard medical care due to her race.

Congresswoman Bush protested for 400 days after the death of Michael Brown Jr. In Ferguson. She is the survivor of sexual assault and is an outspoken advocate for women who experience assault. With the end of the Covid eviction moratorium, she slept several nights outside on the steps of the Capitol in protest.

None of these folks are saints. However, each of them works every day to better our world , to increase equality and justice for people and animals. We could do worse than to follow their example.

I urge you to do so.