You Mad or Nah?

On June 16, 2015 I received a string of texts from Margie McGraw, wife of Alderman Jay McGraw, that started out as follows:
"Any one writing anonymous should be disregarded as a coward. Someone who has no real interest in the conversation. "
For quite some time, I wondered why people posted anonymously and considered banning them until I realized some people didn't want to be attacked or needed to remain anonymous because of their jobs. In my opinion, to call them cowards is unwarranted, in most cases. To me, cowardice is egging a person's car in the middle of the night, keying a person's car after a board meeting or using executive session to discuss a citizen and his blog. The night my car was egged, I was probably nestled between my 800 thread count sheets and duvet cover with my head propped up on a stack of pillows while a coward was outside my home, protected by darkness, throwing eggs instead of confronting me for whatever offense they imagined. The night my car was keyed, I was sitting in the board room while a coward was just in the same room decided to use the cover of darkness to walk by and key a car that did nothing to them. My defination of a coward is a group of senior adults that use a city meeting to discuss a citizen behind closed doors when they were face to face with the person. I know many people think bloggers are cowards, hiding behind keyboards but that description does not apply to me. I blog, give my opinion and face the very people I blog about every month. They know exactly what I have to say because it's not discussed behind closed doors.

Over the years, I've learned that people will post comments I don't with but that's the basis of free speech. I consider the ability to blog and share my opiniond via a public forum a privilege. Along with that privilege there's a huge dose of reality. As a blogger, I accept the fact that some people may not agree with me. That's a given but it's my hope that those that don't agree with me would show me their perspective. As I said in a previous blog post, there were blogs about me, saying very nasty and hurtful things anonymously but guess what, I dealt with it. I've found that the only statements/comments that offend people are those that contain an element of truth.

People like to dismiss anonymous commentors as cowards or refer to them as trolls. How petty! Something can be gleaned from almost every comment. Have we become such an attention seeking, selfie liking, oh I got 100 hits on my latest tweet society that we can't accept anyone that dare criticize us without signing their full name? Are there individuals that will post nasty personal comments under the protection of anonymity? Of course. When a person post something they can't say to your face has me questioning their morality not their courage or lack thereof. Guess what? Not everyone with something to contribute wants his or her name associated publicly with that contribution — and retrievable online forever with a simple Google search. Disallowing anonymous comments would limit debate on social, cultural, political and all other societal issues. I’ve always disliked the term marketplace of ideas, because the public square (which is how we can think of the Internet in the digital era) is really more like a battlefield of ideas. We argue. We yell. We call each other names. May the best ideal win!


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