I used to be a fan of talk radio. I would listen constantly to what was going on as I wanted to stay on top of the news and be informed. Then I came to the realization that all they were doing was making fun of people so I no longer listen. What now passes for news is nothing more than entertainment, and in my opinion bad entertainment.
Recently a local blogger has made a big splash with comments that were made on his blog regarding the size of one of the politicians in our town. I am not going to link to the story or the many stories on the Boston TV stations that followed because I do not want to bring any more attention to childish behavior then necessary. I guess it started out innocent enough, and if you are at all familiar with this particular blog then you are familiar with the vitriol, but it took a nasty turn.
(FWIW I have come under fire from this particular blogger in the past)
When one is a public figure, and yes local politicians are public figures, then you are open to a certain level of criticism for your policies and things that you say and position you take, but, in my belief, your family and your personal life should be just that personal unless it has a direct influence on your public performance. I believe that public officials at all levels are role models for the citizens they represent, so your public and private behavior can be brought into play but if it has nothing to do with your ability to perform your job representing the people then back off.
Part of this stems from allowing anonymous comments on the blog. When I started this blog I decided that I would not allow anonymous comments for the main reason that if you are not willing to sign your name to it then perhaps you should not say it. Hiding behind anonymous or a false name is the coward’s way out. Sure, we have a long tradition of this sort of thing, Benjamin Franklin wrote many of his essays under a false name as did many of the patriots, but they were in fear of their life!
I do realize that making fun of people is an age old political tactic. Read some of the things written about John Adams before, during, and after his presidency for some examples. But, again in my opinion, these types of childish behavior distracts from the real issues and trust me, Southbridge has many issues, but deep down this is a good community with many caring people. I do not always agree with decisions being made or by the way our elected officials act but, I appreciate the fact that they have done, what others will not do, and that is step out to serve their community.
Because of this blog attention has been taken away from the real issues in town and public officials have had to waste time on this. Keep in mind they are all volunteers, none of the local elected officials in Southbridge get paid for their service to the town.
At issue if our inability to have a discussion, about anything, without it getting public. Why can’t we simply have a discussion about issue without the race, religion, weight, gender or whatever being used in the argument. Once you stoop to personal attacks you have lost the argument.
We have real issues in our community and in our country and it is time for serious people to step up and for those of you who only want to make fun of those who have stepped out and serve their community to take a seat your, 15 minutes is over!
On Monday, January 20th, we will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King and I will close with a quote that I came across the other day, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Martin Luther King, Jr.”