Wednesday, August 1, 2018


CNN’s Jim Acosta posted a brief video clip of crowd reaction to media coverage at a recent Trump rally.

Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.

Closer to home a member of the Republican Central Committee has been wreaking havoc on the Howard County Facebook page, encouraging a confrontational social media “takedown” of a group member whose opinions differ with his own. The attitudes between the group Mr. Accosta shows us and that of the locals who consider it their mission to troll the Howard County Facebook page seem frighteningly similar.

But there’s a difference to me. And that difference is proximity. The fact that we have folks who are willing to go on the attack right here in Howard County is horrifying. It means that, wherever we are in our community, we may be sharing community space with people who are filled with hate, who want to destroy instead of build up. 

Angry and narrow-minded people have always existed but social media and the current presidential administration seem to have weaponized them to such a degree that the normal boundaries for accepted social behavior have disintegrated. When that happens, bullies seize control. 

Whether a working journalist or a long-suffering admin of a social media group, a person taking a stand for the rights of everyone to be heard without fear or persecution becomes a target for these bullies. They’re angry that their perceived truth is not accepted as the only truth, and they laugh at accepted social boundaries because they see them merely as tools used by the “losers” who disagree with them.

Respect for and kindness to our fellow creatures is for everyone. This is not some artificial construct designed for the purposes of social control. It is a way of living that allows people of many differing views to live and work together. It is a thread that runs through our Democracy, whether on a large scale or small.  

When we lose it our Democracy is threatened. Journalists work in fear and neighbors turn on neighbors. 

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