Tuesday, July 27, 2021



Yesterday’s post seemed to hit a nerve as numerous readers jumped in to share their feelings and experiences about architectural requirements in Columbia. I’m still wading through everyone’s comments.  There’s no denying that people have some strong feelings about this. I’m left pondering an exchange where one reader maintained that HOAs are unAmerican, while another responded that they are uniquely American.

As a palate cleanser, I strongly recommend this book by Daniel Pinkwater: The Big Orange Splot.

What got on my last nerve yesterday was an all-out social media attack on two local women who have been nominated to serve on County committees. It was ugly. It was a prime example of all those ills people mention when they rail about the perils of social media. 

My first instinct was to run into the burning building to do some good, followed by an intense desire to watch historical programs on television and plunge myself into my new library books. How exactly can you save anyone when the burning building is Facebook and real people’s reputations are going up in flames?

In my experience on social media there are two sorts of responders. One thinks, “Oh! This concerns me, I’d better learn more about this.” The other has no such inner voice of reflection. It’s the latter than we saw on display yesterday.

This was not a reasoned discussion of concerns. This was torches and pitchforks. The Salem witch trials came to mind. And why is it, by the way, that such completely over-the-line attacks happen primarily against women? There is always a reason to demonize women, it seems.

Here’s the deal: you have every right to express your opinion to members of the County Council before a vote. I absolutely encourage you to become educated about the issues at hand and get involved in the process. But this is what I saw yesterday. And there’s nothing brave or well-informed or honorable about it. 

I have some ideas about where people got the idea that political engagement looks like burning it all down. I won’t go into that now, although I’ve written about it in the past. What’s more important is that when this style of community interaction becomes the norm, no one is safe. No progress can be made. 

It’s all about rallying your troops and decimating your enemies. How do you come back from that? What do you do when they come for you?

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