Monday, December 28, 2020

Bad Behavior


Let’s talk today about how we treat people we disagree with and don’t particularly like. Not an immediate relative, or the man across the street, but someone active in the community or local politics. To what standard of behavior do we hold ourselves in expressing our opinions? 

It has become apparent that Columbia/HoCo does not hold a shared vision of what is acceptable behavior after a crowd of disgruntled parents turned out at the home of a Board of Education member in a show of targeted harassment which, before this, I would have thought was clearly beyond the pale. That we don’t share opinions is to be expected. That we don’t have shared boundaries is putting us in some pretty dangerous territory right now.

Claiming on the one hand to understand civil behavior while justifying the violation of same because one was some how driven to it “by the other side” is fundamentally dishonest.

So let’s have some fun with that, shall we?

Last week I condemned the online bullying of Student Member of the Board Zach Koung. Those who sought to discredit him on social media were engaging in a multi-pronged effort to paint him as a political radical who was therefore unqualified to represent students in the school system. This narrative was so enticing to his detractors that they scoured the Internet looking not only for “incriminating” screenshots of Koung’s views, but also those of his SMOB campaign manager and that manager’s mother. (Bolded for incredulity.) All were presented as “evidence”.

Well, alrighty then. 

This got me thinking. This could be a delightful party game.

Let’s take another duly elected Board member, say, Christina Delmont-Small*. If for some reason one wished to take issue with any of her decisions, how would this approach work? (Remember, I didn’t create this method. I’m shining a light on it.)

Hmm...well of course the Board Member would need to have an outspoken campaign manager whose online statements could be easily “screenshotted” and compiled, showing him in the worst possible light. And he, in turn, would need to have a relatively well-known mother enough in the public eye whose addition to the narrative could be exploited. 

I spent some time over the weekend compiling this. It’s hilarious!

Now just stop for one minute. In what world is it even remotely okay to do this? The reason you are reading a synopsis right now rather than viewing a carefully crafted tirade against a BOE member’s campaign manager and his mother is because I actually have the sense that God gave a grasshopper and would never do such a thing.

Who would do this? It is not okay.

It’s not to be rejected merely because similar treatment might come around in one’s direction. That’s not the point. It should be completely and thoroughly repudiated because it is the wrong thing to do. It’s damaging to the community. It justifies harm. Everyone it touches will be poisoned in some way.

How will we treat people we disagree with and don’t particularly like, Columbia/HoCo? To what standard of behavior will we hold ourselves? 

*chosen for purposes of argument only. 

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