Saturday, January 28, 2017

Not Feeling the Love

We've had a bit of a tempest in a teapot this week here in Howard County with the creation of a Facebook page called Howard County Hate Watch. While I absolutely agree that our county has seen an upswing in truly reprehensible hate speech, I find the behavior on this page to be concerning. It's essentially presenting screenshots of other people's posts and condemning them. Something just doesn't feel right about it. As someone responded, this looks more like Howard County Witch Hunt.

The people that I know who support CB-9 and the concept of sanctuary legislation don't operate like this. What I mean by that is:

  • that they don't hide their identities
  • they don't refuse to answer questions
  • they don't delete comments of people who disagree with them 
So who is behind this?

Prominent Republicans have been on a hunt to pin this on a Democrat. Democrats think it may be a Republican hoax. I have heard several names bandied about but I don't think any of them are accurate. Here's why:

One of the people attached to this page is someone who spent a lot of time trying to derail conversations about the school system in the lead up to the Board of Education election. And this person used their online presence to stir up animosity between Democrats and Republicans. I'd love to tell you who that person is, but it was eventually determined that it was a fake account. So whoever is behind Howard County Hate Watch is connected to the Board of Education race in some way, and has a track record of wanting to create discord between Democrats and Republicans.

As a friend of mine said, "It's a distraction." And it is. Someone with their own agenda is trying to reap some kind of political capital using a very real and important issue: sanctuary legislation and how members of our community are responding. This isn't really about CB-9 or hate speech. It's about personal ambition and an attempt to influence public opinion.

I suggested on the aforementioned page that we needed a Love Watch more than a Hate Watch. I'm pretty sure my comment was deleted. At any rate, if you want something about CB-9 that's actually worth watching, try this. It's a new Facebook page called Yes on CB-9. In the description:

The Howard County Council is debating passing legislation to make Howard a sanctuary county. Please consider supporting this bill. Posters to this page are expected to observe the #OneHoward pledge.

I find it curious that County Executive Kittleman didn't issue a statement about hate speech on this issue until prominent Republicans were being targeted. When Blogger Scott Ewart asked him to condemn the nastiness on the No Sanctuary Facebook page, there was no response. None.  Quite the contrast with County Council member Calvin Ball who immediately stepped up to condemn the Hate Watch page, even though it seemed likely that members of his own party might be behind it. 

Caring about members of our community is bigger than partisan allegiance. It was reassuring to see some leadership on this issue. 

Want to talk?  Speak up here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.