Editor’s note: I posted this on Facebook, where it has received 10 “likes” or “loves.” Dozens of others are reposting it too.
Hilary Hodge does a good job with her weekly column in the local newspaper. Whether people or agree or disagree, she is respectful and offers some important insights. It’s despicable that she should have to endure this. But political bullies and personal attacks have been all too common around here for a long time (AKA, “redneck behavior”), because we allow it. And like it or not, the truth is that it comes more from the right than the left. We all have stories (the fat jokes, etc.). It is often trolls who hide behind a fake ID and are not accountable. Our demographics are “purple”; so the progressives should have a voice too without hateful personal attacks. I’m excited to have young, energetic people around with our aging demographics, and Ms. Hodge is an example of that. She volunteers for nonprofits and sings in the MIM choir. But it’s understandable how being forced to endure this can scare them off. We are all Californians; this is not the State of Jefferson. Let’s speak out in 2017.
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I am begging my community: If you care about progressive voices—in local newspapers, on websites, anywhere–start commenting with YOUR progressive voices. Be loud. Be frequent. Drown out the hate. Check the aggression. Every time you read something you like, fill the comments section with love and herald the person who wrote it. The trolls may be few but they are loud and they are mean. Do not ignore this.Do not turn away. Combat this. Start reviewing the comments via our newspapers, websites etc and click through. (In my case, go to the The Union’s webpage, find articles like mine and click on the “join the conversation” button and say real things.) Please please please say something-anything! Every single thing said in response to my column is derogatory and mean. Usually, there is no voice sticking up for me and for writers who share my views. Progressive writers put themselves on the front lines of bullying to say something meaningful and real in this fucked up world. Please please please don’t expect us to stand alone. Never let bullying go unchecked. Never let a strong voice go without support. Now more than ever, be vocal and be fierce. Every time. Every single moment. Do not miss an opportunity to be the voice of reason and to lift someone up. Now, more than ever, SAY SOMETHING!